Restaurant bakes up holiday cheer
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, one neighborhood restaurant in Ossining, New York, offers a festive escape for members of its community to reconnect with family, friends and neighbors.
For the past 10 years, Wobble Cafe has hosted gingerbread house decorating events that draw hundreds of area residents who look forward to spending quality time with their friends and loved ones as they decorate freshly baked, pre-assembled gingerbread houses.
“We have families who come every year, and we love giving them and local community groups a way to enjoy the season as well as a chance to unplug, enjoy each other’s company and use their creativity,” says Beylka Krupp, who owns Wobble Cafe, along with her husband, Rich Foshay. “It’s all about getting people to reconnect with each other and work together on something that involves planning, cooperating, laughing, relaxing and getting messy.”
The longstanding holiday tradition beloved by so many in the community is no small undertaking. Krupp expects that Wobble Cafe will make more than 500 gingerbread houses this year for four nights of public events at the restaurant as well a number of private events.
Krupp, Foshay and their staff bake each component of the houses (using more than 1,000 pounds of Gold Medal flour over the season), assemble each of the houses, do all of the shopping, event set-up and cleanup.
Sign-up for the public events fills up quickly with many return guests each year who seek one of the coveted spots. Krupp says that demand is so high, with people sad about not getting a spot at the December events, that Wobble Cafe has started booking gingerbread decorating parties throughout the year including Valentine’s Day, Halloween and birthdays.
When guests arrive, they find tables with gingerbread houses set up and ready to decorate along with an assembly line of candy, sprinkles and gumdrops to adorn the houses.
On event nights, Wobble serves a limited menu with cheerful staff on hand to assist with decorating and accompany customers in spontaneous singing of Christmas carols.
In addition to the public gingerbread decorating events, the restaurant conducts a number of private events for area businesses and offers discounted events for charities and service groups like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Wobble Cafe encourages groups to donate their finished products and keeps a list of suggested destinations such as the public library, churches, police stations, hospitals and nursing homes in need of some holiday cheer.
Girl Scout co-leaders Barb Foshay and Helen Caridi have participated in the gingerbread house decorating events with their troop for the past five years. The troop is so large now that Wobble Cafe brings the houses and supplies to them at a local school, but both women also make a point to reserve a spot at one of the restaurant’s public events to take their own children.
“It is so great to take part in an old-fashioned holiday tradition and Wobble makes it very easy, so we just have to come in do the fun part,” says Foshay. “It’s all about family, friends and community here. And the gingerbread houses bring us all together.”
It’s a great team-building experience and helps girls understand the spirit of the season and the importance of spreading joy.
“Our Girl Scouts, like many of us in the community, look forward to this fun event each year,” says Caridi. “Wobble Cafe makes everyone stop and enjoy the season.”
Editor’s Note: General Mills learned of Wobble Cafe’s gingerbread house events when Beylka Krupp was part of the 2015 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest and she shared her inspiring story.
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