The Jam and Jelly Lady

  (Lebanon, Ohio)
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White Christmas in Ohio

Working long hours in the cannery this time of the year can have a distrastrous effect on the real reason for the season!  So I try hard to make time to participate in as many inspirational gatherings as possible.  So far, my kids and I have taken care of Christmas for four children in our town (anonymously); we went to Advent Carols and Lessons at Cincinnati's Atheneum; we witnessed the candlelight horse-drawn carriage parade in our hometown; we are helping shop/purchase groceries for 15 local families; we're working in a local soup kitchen (and I DO know my way around a kitchen - lol!)...

We've anticipated these traditions for many years, but last night I witnessed a new one.  I was giving a tasting of our jams at the Valley Vineyards "Light Up the Valley" event, and I felt as though I was in the middle of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas!"  100 guests arrived and were greeted by me with a simple plate of brie and various wine-based jams that I custom-can for the vineyard. 

The enormous lodge-like hall was lit with thousands of twinkling lights,  and smelled of fresh cedar. Each couple chose a bottle of wine and then went outside to see the tree lighting!  Inside the lodge, a chorus sang rousing holiday tunes, finishing with White Christmas.  Joe Schuchter, third-generation vintner, toasted his father and grandfather (more champagne!) 

Then the guests dined on German fare:  pickled red cabbage and pork, pork loin, rosemary potatoes, butter bean salad, etc.  Santa did a whopping job on door prizes.  The dessert room held hundreds of tiny homemade cheesecakes (which I topped with jam!), German chocolate cake, candied fruits, "Ice Winetinis" (the cool, teeny grapes for decor were just picked frozen that day in the fields for next season), mulled Honey Mead with cinnamon whipped cream, and, of course, champagne and port.  NEXT year, I may do a tasting, but I'll be sure to bring my husband to be a guest with me, too!  What a slice of holiday heaven this event was!  Gotta find a ball gown, too, like Rosemary Clooney... lol!  Merry Christmas!

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