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Emily’s Garden was the name of a writing retreat I attended last weekend in the historic village of Essex, New York on Lake Champlain. This lovely garden was designed with the poet Emily Dickinson’s garden in mind.

The retreat was held at the home of author and university teacher Kate Moses. I joined Kate, her colleague Elizabeth Cohen and five aspiring writers. They taught us a lot about writing but the food was what made the weekend memorable. Kate made everything from scratch with local ingredients, many flavored with herbs from her garden. We were greeted with a menu for the weekend. This was just the first meal.

Welcome Meet and Greet Cocktails and Appetizers
Cucumber & Elderflower gin and tonics, wine, beer
Cherry pico-de-gallo
Fresh local cheeses with crostini
Elizabeth’s hummus & homemade pita chips
Spiced olives
Prosciutto crisps

Local cheeses with fresh figs

Local cheeses with fresh figs and cherries

Dinner
Panade (Provencale gratin of bread, tomatoes, rainbow chard)
Watermelon salad with nectarines, radishes, mint, fetaLocal greens
Tuna Confit with white beans
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Plum Sorbet
Fresh fruit tart

There was home cured salmon for lunch with chevre and sorrel pesto; homemade Greek yogurt and granola for breakfast; Lemon-Lime Shortbread and zucchini bread for snacks and much more. Besides the plum sorbet, there was silky smooth intensely dark chocolate ice cream and  buttermilk cinnamon ice cream, perfect for someone like me whose favorite food is ice cream.
A real standout was the pound cake, is was so rich and flavorful that the tiniest slice was enough to send everyone into silent awe while eating it.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze