A little while back I wrote about our upcoming trip to Fronterra in Prince Edward County where we would be spending the weekend Glamping. Have you heard of this? Glamourous Camping. The idea both excited and terrified me – I’m not really cut out for roughing it, and I didn’t know just how ‘back to nature’ we’d be getting.
Five minutes after we’d arrived I told the owner how it’s so rare these days to not only have your expectations met, but completely blown away. This wasn’t roughing it!!! This was exactly as the name implies – totally glam.
A towering canvas tent unzipped to reveal a huge interior decked out with hardwood floors, a living room (!) complete with caramel-coloured leather furniture that would look amazing in my own home, and a glorious king sized bed and dresser.
White fluffy towels were waiting for us on the bed (for the private outdoor shower, of course).
Passing through the tent led out to our private outdoor kitchen where I have to hand it to them, they thought of everything: glass bowls, plates, cutlery, wine glasses, cast iron cookware. Our kitchen sink was actually a gorgeous hammered copper pot installed right into the wooden counter-top. Love.
Behind the kitchen was the bathroom (I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say this was the first outhouse that I wasn’t afraid of. I’ll leave it at that) and the aforementioned private outdoor shower with hot running water, towel hooks, and a mirror. Part of me wishes there wasn’t a mirror – being able to monitor what is happening with your hair when you’re camping shouldn’t be a part of the deal. The shower is totally luxurious, with more water pressure than a lot of hotels I’ve stayed in. I hope you get to experience showering under the trees someday; it’s pretty sweet.
Fronterra finishes its second season on October 15th, 2016 and I’d recommend booking early for 2017 if you are interested – their 10 tents will be filling up fast.
A roaring fire, lots of wine, great food and great friends made for an exceptional weekend. Below I’m sharing my recipe for Fluffy Vanilla Bean Marshmallows – because when you glamp, it’s about taking ordinary things to the next level. These are perfect for toasting or gift-giving – wrap them in parchment and tie with string for a rustic gift that says I care about you enough to get powdered sugar all over my kitchen.
2. Empty the gelatin packets into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup cold water to gelatin (and if using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean seeds, add it now) and whisk gently with a fork until no large lumps remain. Place bowl onto mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
3. Pour 3/4 cup water into a 4Qt saucepan. Pour the sugar, corn syrup, and salt on top. Do not stir.
4. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a full, rapid boil.
5. Do not stir the sugar once it has come to a boil or it may crystallize.
6. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the sauce pan and continue boiling until the sugar mixture reaches 247°F to 250°F.
7. Turn on your mixer to medium speed. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin.
8. Whip on high speed for about 10 minutes - the mixture will turn thick and glossy and the bowl will only be slightly warm to the touch. Add the vanilla bean seeds (if you haven't already added extract) and mix to combine.
9. Using a stiff spatula, scrape the marshmallow mixture into your prepared pan.
10. Wipe a small offset spatula with a paper towel that has been sprayed with cooking oil and use it smooth the top of the marshmallow to make it as even as possible. Cover the pan lightly with a piece of parchment and allow to sit at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours to set.
11. Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, and use a small sifter to liberally sprinkle it overtop of the set marshmallows. Loosen the marshmallows from the sides of the pan, and flip the block out onto your work surface. Sprinkle more powdered sugar mixture overtop.
12. Using a sharp knife that has been sprayed with cooking spray, cut the marshmallows into squares. You can also cut the marshmallows with cookie cutters.
13. Toss each square in the powdered sugar mix so all the sides are evenly coated.
14. Use a brûlée torch (or your nearest campfire!) to toast the marshmallows.
15. Marshmallows will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks. Leftover marshmallow coating can be stored in a sealed container indefinitely.
* 1/2 cup cold water
* Seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean OR 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup water
* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* Pinch salt
* 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup cornstarch
* Cooking spray