Summer garden party

I wanted to create a post that would showcase something elegant for a summer garden party.

I was thinking of keeping up to Martha Stewart and all her beautiful flower arrangements amidst pastel-coloured cocktails, or perhaps Alice Waters-style with sprigs of just-snipped herbs on every plate.

Things didn’t turn out quite as I planned. A busy week meant my ideas were a bit more random, just like my garden.

The garden at Rabbit Hollow is more of an old-fashioned English garden, with plenty of plants, a jumble of textures and colours that in my case represents plenty of enthusiasm with not nearly enough time to maintain the results.

But the birds, bees and butterflies love it and when I get the chance to stand back and enjoy it, I do too.

One of my favourite elements is what we call the edible fence. Our property line is covered on one side of the yard with all kinds of fruit trees and berry bushes. The most prolific of these are the golden raspberry canes that are now in their 11th year here.

They are wonderful fruits, a bit less tangy than red raspberries and certainly more exotic to look at. The ones we have are ever bearing, so from June through November, we get to nibble on these little delights every morning if we want.

I usually sneak a few after I walk the dog and water the garden in the morning. There is something wonderfully rebellious about stuffing yourself with mouthfuls of raspberries into your mouth even before you’ve put your business clothes on. 

The catch is, the little bit of nibbling is not keeping up with production. As a result, I have started to look for recipes that highlight their delicate flavour, and Raspberry Financiers are just about perfect.

They are a lovely afternoon tea treat, but I have found that they make a decadent Sunday breakfast. You can be lazy and add the berries to pancakes, but this recipe is sure to impress everyone at your table.

I have gotten better at capturing the garden bounty in the eleven years we’ve lived here.

I make raspberry and tarragon vinegars, basil oil, herb salts, quince compote, plum and lavender chutney, mint tea and gooseberry syrup. Using those ingredients makes me smile and enjoy the garden all over again, and when we share them at Rabbit Hollow events I love to see others smile, too.

I’ve decided the point to my rambling gardener’s musings is that any gathering can be elegant if you are intent on enjoying it.

Be serious about having fun. Life is short and it is meant to be enjoyed and shared. Have an extra mouthful of berries and let yourself smile.

If you don’t have a garden, you can join us at our table at Rabbit Hollow. Click here for this summer’s schedule of events.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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