Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yes, it's gingerbread, and more

When candy swans are swimming on candy ponds surrounded by wee candy mushrooms, either I'm having one of those dreams again, or it's gingerbread house contest time.

Thank heavens it's just a gingerbread contest, the second one I've judged in three weeks. This time, it was the annual Gingerbread Lane display at the Ballantyne Hotel. Fourteen houses, two professional and 12 amateur, plus others that were created by hotel staff. There was a gingerbread Alamo with a snowmen fight, a gingerbread version of Paris with Eiffel Tower, and a four-story gingerbread castle.

The view above, of that candy swan a'swimming, was from the lawn of the entry "First Snow" by Mary Winecoff. It won first place in the amateur division, with second place going to Nancy Woods and third place to Natasha Fairchild DeMaio and Regina Fairchild. In the professional spots, Cake Lady Jill won first place for her castle and Cake Expressions by Lisa won second for"Christmas in Paris."

The houses are on display until Dec. 26, and you can vote for the people's choice award by making a donation ($1 or up) to the Levine Children's Hospital. The houses are on display in the halls around the Gallery restaurant, and you can just stroll in and look. The hotel is at 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

In the meantime, there are plenty of others events going on, too. Let's catch up:

  • For all you Victorian tea fans, the Woman's Club of Rock Hill is holding them at the historic Armstrong-Mauldin House, 607 Aiken Ave., Rock Hill. Dates: 3 p.m. Dec. 3, 1 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5 p.m. Dec. 6. Includes an English tea of savories and sweets, carolers and servers in Victorian attire. Reservations are required. Call 803-328-8888.
  • The wine from Spain is at Las Ramblas, for a tasting of Eric Solomon Selections. Solomon is the master of bringing us great wine from Spain, so this would be high on my list. It's $20 per person and they'll be pouring samples from nine wines, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 14, at Las Ramblas, 2400 Park Road. Reservations: email
  • The Matthews Community Farmers Market goes into winter mode with the first winter market of the season this Saturday (that would be Dec. 5, from 8 to 10 a.m., and remember that it's every other week after that).

That's all for now. And remember, when you're walking in a winter wonderland, don't step on the peppermint cobblestones.