December 16, 2013

Christmas At The Very End Of The Road 2013

What a blast!  :) 
 
Every year the owners of the Mazama General Store have a community event called 'Christmas At The Very End Of The Road.'  It's a fun gathering of local vendors, food and wine samples and a variety of free treats from the bakery.  It's our way of giving back to the community for their support throughout the year. 
 
It is also tradition that the bakers put together a gingerbread house!  There is a raffle that raises money for The Cove, a local food bank in the area that can provide food, heat and other various necessities to needy families in the Methow Valley.  Pretty cool, eh? 
 
Here is the scoop behind the scenes...  :)
 
Bea did some gorgeous Peppermint Brownies!  A brownie base with chocolate ganache, crushed peppermint and white chocolate.  They looked so pretty!  :)
 
 
 
A back up tray of some of our offerings...
 

 
We sampled our delicious Blackberry Pie with a streusel topping...

 
And Apple Pie with a lattice crust...

 
We made a slew of gluten free cookies!
Coconut Almond Macaroons
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pecan Krinkles
Cherry Chocolate Almond

 
And then we also made samples of some of the cookies we sell on a daily basis:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Chip
Molasses

 
We did Mini Cheesecake Bites.  Bea was a trooper putting all of that fruit on top!

 
I think these are my favorite because they're so colorful and playful! 
Red and White Pinwheels
Sugar Cookies with almond icing.

 
I grew up decorating sugar cookies with my two older sisters so this was a lot of fun for me!  Felt like a bit of home...  :)

 
Tooootally think this should be the pattern on Spiderman's suit during the holidays!!!  ;)

 
The front of house staff did an amazing job bagging everything up on the fly!
 
 
 
And then it began!  Lots of folks lined up to purchase eggnog and lattes.
 
 
And other folks made their way to the counter for free treats and shopping!
 
 
Look at these devilishly good looking folks!
 
 
As for the gingerbread house... This year we opted for a good scoop of humor mixed with political commentary and a dash of Christmas cheer!  Rather than do a tried and true gingerbread house we opted to do a gingerbread hut! 
 
 
The Hut is an incredibly controversial subject in Mazama.  This small structure was built on a ridge line that locals say doesn't fit in with the visual requirements of building.  There is a huge campaign to get the owner to move the hut and an obscene amount of money has been spent on the legalities.  You can read about it here.  I actually did a cookie order over the summer for a 'Move The Hut' event.  Remember these guys?
 
 
This year, we thought it would be funny to tell the whole story through gingerbread!  We decided to create a hut with protesters and happy people duking it out with a sign overhead that reads 'Peace On Earth.'  Ha!  Polly, one of our bread bakers, came up with the brilliant idea.  I thought it was PERFECT!

 
 
First we needed people!  I made a template and cut out all of my protesters with a knife.
 

 
They were super cute if I do say so myself!

 
 
Mary, our other baker, was awesome enough to cut the gingerbread pieces for us.  Bea helped me with creating the sugared windows.  I stacked the hut on top of cake & frosted it with royal icing.  A salt canister and sponge for support while it dried! 
 
 
And let me tell you... this was hard!  I've never done a gingerbread house-- er, hut-- before.  The pieces have to fit perfectly, the royal icing has to be whipped to the perfect consistency and then you have to figure out how to hold it in place until it dries.  It's madness!  :)

 
I love, love, LOVE the way my angry mob turned out. 
Even angry, they're still pretty cute.  ;)

 
 And here are the happy people.
They are outnumbered by far!

 
If I've got all of my facts straight, two other hot button topics that have fired up locals in the past involve wolves and, in a roundabout way, spotted owls. We thought it would drive the point home to have them hold our banner.  (These cookies were also hand cut, hand painted and very difficult!!!)
 
 
In the Methow Valley, it is always under debate whether or not regulations on wolves should be more lenient toward hunting them which could very well cause their extinction in the area.  They create a lot of chaos for farmers and ranchers. 
 
As for our spotted owl friends... Back in the 1980's locals fought a huge ski resort being built in Mazama.  Locals were so adamant about the conservation of the land, they hired environmentalists to come out to inspect the surroundings to see if Spotted Owls were in the area.  Whether or not there are spotted owls in the Methow-- who knows.  But the years it would take for environmentalists to know once & for all put a huge time and money dent in the dreams of the ski resort investors.  Enough so that they left Mazama and opened Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia.
 
Supporters of the ski resort are STILL angry about it.
 
 
 
As for the finished product??? 
Success!
 
 
I was pretty nervous to remove that salt canister and sponge!  Ha!

 
But it was a huge hit!  We even got our picture in the Methow Grist...  Who knew gingerbread could be aerodynamic!?  ;)

 
A true team effort across the board for a great night!  I LOVE this stuff-- sooo fun!!!
And guess what folks?  From the kitchen to the store... they really did move the hut.  ;)
 
 

Peace on earth to all of you!!! 
Life is too short, know what I mean?
 
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!  :)  :)  :)
 
Pitchforks and Peppermint Brownies,
MandiCrocker

3 comments:

Robyn said...

LOVE this post! That hut is amazing!!!

Susan Robbins said...

nice job!

Jonathan Zangara said...

love it Mandi!

JZ