What do you mean you visited Neblenvar and didn't get one of Kaydee's pies? It were harvest time, weren't it? And you were in the town for a full tenday, weren't you? Too busy?! Nobody is too busy for the afterberry pie. Nobody. Still, suppose you couldn't've known that until you've et it. You don't know what you've missed, man.
The gnomes of Neblenvar
aren't much for secrets. And even if they were, they would think it a shame to keep really anything about the Chocolate Wench
from the larger population of the world. In fact, if you meet a gnome from anywhere near Neblenvar during harvest season, they might well begin the conversation with a question of whether or not you've yet had the pleasure of an afterberry pie from the kitchen of Kaydee Thistlewhip
A Harvest Tradition
The humble afterberry is a favorite of the gnomes. They serve it baked in breads, a syrup on biscuits and ices, a jam, a savory compote topping for certain meats, and - of course - in pies. I do believe that no pie in the world is as well known as the afterberry pie available for two short weeks at the Chocolate Wench, which establishment I have perhaps lauded too often in my writings.
Early in the harvest season, the children of Neblenvar are sent out each morning to search for henpip bushes with a load of ripened fruit. Older children often seek out clusters of bushes in harder-to-reach places during the summer, the location of which is a secret they keep close so that no one else can beat them to the harvest when the time comes. In households where no one makes any afterberry foods - a rarity - the children's overflowing baskets sell at premium prices. For everyone else, the brief window of preparation opens up fierce competition for the best berry recipes.
Kaydee took herself out of the running many years ago, after winning "too many" of the informal and mostly friendly competitions, and she actively promotes the concoctions of other locals.
After all, I cheat a bit. We alchemists have ways, you know. Have you tried Hantovan's afterberry bread pudding yet? It's orgasmic! No, really. I came a little.
Still, the community gathers at the Wench as soon as the first bushels of berries come in on weary young shoulders, ready for the famous small pies. Kaydee always gives first round of pies to any berry pickers present, and if they spare a cup or two for her when they bring in their harvests, they can get two. Her more cynical neighbors note that this is a very good way to keep from having to purchase many baskets, but most don't begrudge her that. Everyone else just calls it a fair trade.
Kaydee's husband Neddar described the scene of the first pies in the song "Blue Chins," which like the pies has become a harvest tradition. He's been heard to say that one of his favorite things is the sight of dozens of children frantically blowing on the bubbling confections, slipping them from one near-burned hand to the other, until they are just cool enough to bite into, and washing them down with spiced milk.