Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Pudding Club at Mickleton

My husband doesn't just have a sweet tooth, he has just about a mouth full of sweet teeth, so for an early Valentine's gift I took him to the Pudding Club which is tucked away in Mickleton, a village in north Gloucestershire.

First we had to dig the car out:

We went via the house of some friends, which broke the trip up nicely, then drove across to the hotel in the evening. We were given a glass of elderflower cordial when we arrived, and then we were introduced to the seven puddings we would get to sample later:
  • Sussex Pond
  • Figgy Pudding
  • Sticky Toffee & Date
  • Rhubarb Crumble
  • Oriental Ginger
  • Tutti Frutti
  • Jam Roly Poly
I was sat next to a man who hates rhubarb, and he got a huge portion of ginger syrup pudding to make up for not wanting any rhubarb crumble, so I also got a taste of that, and also a taste of some spotted dick which was made specially for a diabetic diner. So we got to try nine different puddings in all!

But first, we got a small main course - the veggie option was leek & pepper risotto, which was absolutely divine. There were loads of vegetables & potatoes on the table, but we were advised to use some restraint which, I think, was very good advice.

The Pudding Club works on a buffet system, where you go up table by table and can pick which pudding you'd like to have each time, reusing the same bowl. I decided I was going to save the oriental ginger until last, because that sounded best and I thought I might struggle to eat a seventh portion if I wasn't excited about it!

I started off with the sussex pond because I wasn't sure if I've ever had that before. It's made with whole lemons, and my first couple of mouthfuls were very lemony, but then the rest was very plain and quite oily. But the lemon taste was nice enough that I might have a go at making it myself one day.

Next I went for the tutti frutti because it had sounded the least exciting when it was described to us, basically a sponge pudding with lots of dried fruit - candied peel, apricots, sultanas, etc... I wasn't expecting to be especially impressed by this but I was, it was a very light sponge and a fantastic mixture of fruits. Unfortunately the photo doesn't really do it justice, you can't see all the yummy fruit through the custard:

Then came the jam roly poly. The chef had made some jam sauce for extra jamminess but I think that was a mistake - I ended up with a couple of mouthfuls of pure jam at the end. It also didn't help that, due to the buffet nature of the evening, it had gone nearly cold.

Next up, following a new strategy of 'go for the one that's fresh out of the kitchen' to minimize cold puds, was the figgy pudding. I had always wondered, given the lyrics to 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas', whether this was another term for Christmas pudding but it's actually a fairly light pudding full of figs. Apparently it was the first night they'd had this one on the Pudding Club menu.

Next was rhubarb crumble. Now, I love crumbles and I love rhubarb, so this could hardly have failed to be a winner - but it still failed to knock the tutti frutti off the top spot on my list. Probably the least rich of the lot, and not too much sugar in the rhubarb.

Then it was time for sticky toffee & date, which apparently is a big hit with Gary Rhodes. I can see why - it was very, very tasty but not too heavy.

Finally, the oriental ginger which I'd been waiting for. This actually had a similar problem to the sussex pond, in that it had a lot of ginger on top, but on a pudding of this size you really need to be able to taste the flavour throughout and you just couldn't. It was also a little bit greasy (a recurring theme of the evening) and my body just rebelled - I couldn't finish it. Thankfully my husband is more robust, and polished it off for me.

I'd hoped to fit another portion of my favourite at the end, but I reached the stage where I couldn't physically swallow another mouthful of pudding, so I had coffee instead.

There was a vote at the end for the top pudding of the night - my favourite was still the tutti frutti, and enough other people agreed with me that I was on the winning pudding team! Not that I'm competitive or anything. I suspect the ginger syrup pud might have won, if it'd been part of the main event.

I'm a bit ill today from excessive sugar consumption! Do other people get 'sugar hangovers' or is it just me?

And it's snowing again..... I think we might get a power cut any minute now.


Heather said...

Oh wow, that's a lot of pudding!! I don't think I could've finished all of that! Sounds like a fun evening though!

Lynda said...

Rachel, thanks so much for sharing this with us, aswell as photo's of each one ! I LOVE the idea of a restaurant where you can eat so many puddings, as I have a very sweet tooth. I have never heard of Sussex Pond pudding before - they all sounded really nice :) although I would've been a bit put off my the greasy/oiliness you described in some of them ...

Chef E said...

Oh my gosh what I would not give to have this experience! spotted dick, have heard of it but always wanted to see if it really existed!

Great Post for the chef in all of us...

Jules said...

Oh my goodness, pudding club is my idea of heaven!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Heather - it was hard work (in a good way!)

Lynda - you've described some fab restaurants in your neck of the woods, I think we need to do a swap!

Chef E - you're a chef... if you want spotted dick you could make some, it's very easy :)

Jules - it's definitely worth a visit, I don't think I'm going to need another pudding for a week!

Diane said...

Oh, my teeth hurt!! It all sounds wonderful, I have to say... but sometimes the photos don't do justice (the rhubarb crumble, for example, reminds me of some sort of internal organ ;). I think I'd be like you, though, and not want anything sweet for some time after all that!

Kazzy said...

You are SO British, and I love it! I think it sounds completely wonderful!

Jeanne said...

The problem with figgy pudding, of course, is that it brings thugs to your door, demanding figgy pudding and refusing to leave until they get some. I can't believe I'm the only one that sees the underlying threat here.

(BTW -- the puddings look yummy -- I'd try them all (except the figgy, for the reasons stated above.))

Anonymous said...

The puddings sound wonderful. That restaurant is dangerous! I think that I'd prefer the Rhubarb or the Ginger. I heard that Spotted Dick was named for King Richard III. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

This looks great. I want to sample 7 puddings. I always rad great these great british novel that talk about puddings, but they aren't very common in the US. I'm always a bit jealous and want to try them for myselv.

Debbie said...

I think this is someplace that would never exist in the US. It sounds so fun!

Cheryl said...

I'd give up an arm and a leg for some pudding right now.
Well no, maybe just the leg. I need to eat.

Domestic Executive said...

As long as you played extra rounds of snowball throwing, footpath clearing or making more angels I think you're safe!

The thought of eating that many puddings fills me with dread. I love puddings but you can have too much of a good thing. I think my vote would have been on the jam rolly poly if it hadn't been cold!

Emmie said...

I now feel very hungry :( you tease my unsatified sweet tooth! Jam roly poly mmm how divine!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Diane - it was one of the strangest set of things to photograph, especially since everything was smothered in custard

Kazzy - I don't think I've spent enough time in the States to understand in what ways I'm 'so British'... is it the custard addiction? So many places you can't get custard!

Jeanne - I didn't take any home, so I'm hoping to avoid the rampaging hordes!

Dedene - unfortunately I have no idea whether that's true, but I like the idea.

K - if you can't get across, you can always make them for yourself. Their website has some recipes.

Debbie - do you think no-one would go, or just that no-one would open a pudding club in the first place?

Cheryl - you can keep your leg, I'm vegetarian! :)

Domestic Executive - I think digging the car out bought us a few extra calories. Plus I'm not eating as much this week!!

Emmie - go get yourself a good jammy pud, then! ;)

Johanna said...

Fantastic valentine's present - one for people with large appetites or a lot of self control

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