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    Last evening, my daughter and I had the opportunity to go to the Candy Cane Making Party that was held at the Buckhead Mountain Grill in Jeffersonville. What an amazing event with memories made for the two of us on our mom/daughter date. We learned from some pros and constructed delicious handmade candy canes to deliver to our friends and family now!

    The event was put on by a partnership with Buckhead Mountain Grill and the newly launched “Just Be Claus” candy cane company. The Just Be Claus group has been making candy canes and perfecting the art for decades, and they have been doing these types of holiday parties for a couple of years. Transplants to Louisville from the Los Angeles, California area, the family now resides in the Oldham County area and is taking their love and cherished methods of candy cane making to Kentuckiana. The company and party hosts are led by Zane Baze and his wife, Sandy Claus. Seriously, their last name is Claus; could it get any cuter for Christmastime?!

    As stated, the entire family gets in on the action, from set up to clean up and everything in between, including handling hot peppermint candy at a mere ~190 degrees when it has “cooled” down enough to mold with your hands. The process to prepare the candy for making into candy canes was quite fascinating! My daughter and I were so enamored with it all, and the Claus’s could not have been nicer people to chat with and tell their stories as well as explain everything about the process and answer any questions that parents and children had. We watched the candy heat to over 200 degrees, and then be poured onto a marble slab that was heavily greased; the marble helps to cool the candy down to the temperatures needed to be able to mold it and have it take its shape. The candy is then moved to a hook like apparatus where it is pulled and twisted, slowly gaining its white color while the pure peppermint oil is added a capful at a time. Truly handmade and a method passed on for a generation or two. Three generations were present at the event for the Claus family and company; it truly is a family affair for them.

    After the candy is molded, it’s taken off the hook and brought to a table to be shaped into a brick. The four color strips were added, one on each side of the brick in alternating colors. The color bakes back into the candy, and as Mr. Baze pulled each small strip for the children and adults to make their candy canes, the color almost magically appeared all around the piece. Each piece was cut and was still warm, but not too hot to handle at that point, and brought to the participants to roll, twist, and shape into their own individual candy cane. There was a contest going on for the best shaped candy cane; 6th Grader Kathryn McCarty won after all the candy canes were judged by the Claus’s. We brought our candy canes home and showed them off to dad and brother, and can’t wait to enjoy some ourselves and give some away to family and teachers over the holidays. The peppermint smell of the candy is delightful and now fills our home with that just the right Christmas touch.

    For more information about the Just Be Claus candy cane party company, contact Buckhead Mountain Grill for the time being. The company is hoping to launch a website and Facebook page soon. They have literally been working out of their garage so far, and have done quite a few private parties in the past two years. They have a party at the YMCA in Oldham County on December 9 that is open to the public, and they are having a party at PHOS church on December 14. They are also flying back to California this month to host two private parties out there, so they are pretty busy this month. They’d love to book a party for anyone who is interested for next year’s holiday season. You can contact Susie Gravette, of Buckhead Mountain Grill, to talk to her about booking. These parties are great for private parties in your home, corporate events, holiday parties for your company or small business, church youth groups, neighborhood associations, church Sunday school classes, and more. The possibilities are quite endless. Parties should be booked by August 1, 2015.

    Contact information: Susie Gravette 502-296-0415, email There is never an admission cost for a candy cane making party like this. Buckhead Mountain Grill always wants to have a benefit aspect, and they partner with Dare to Care Food Bank, so there will always be a request to bring a canned good or a $1 donation.

    Even though you missed the Candy Cane Making Party last night (which they plan to make an annual event in the future), the folks at Buckhead Mountain Grill would love for you to bring canned goods to their restaurant all month long. They are collecting them until December 23 and building a canned good tree, all to benefit Dare to Care Food Bank. Families and others can also enjoy the 12 Ales of Christmas on December 12 and a Brunch with Santa on December 14. Here is more information about these events: [12 Ales of Christmas started 4 years ago celebrating the gift of delicious craft beer and the 12 Days of Christmas! Brunch with Santa started a few years back at the Bellevue, KY location, and has become a holiday favorite for all locations – plus Santa loves visiting with the kids and getting to eat Buckhead’s Buffet! Brunch with Santa will be from 10-2pm and pictures with Santa will be from 10am – Noon.  Make sure to bring a camera or cellphone to take your own keepsake picture. The holiday feast & fixings includes: Fried Chicken, made to order omelets, hash brown casserole, cheese grits, Belgian Waffles and much more! $14.99 for adults, $7.99 for kids 4-10 years of age, and 3 and under eat for free! All kiddos will receive a free candy cane at Brunch with Santa!]

    See the slideshow below for photos from the event and to see the process from start to finish!

    Photos by Erin Nevitt

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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