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 Summer PuddingSummer Pudding, a classic English dessert made of cooked, sweetened fresh berries in a bread-lined casserole dish. The fruit is topped with additional slices of bread, covered with a plate and weighted overnight in the refrigerator. The cold dessert is unmolded and served with whipped cream or crème anglaise.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE™.

 

October 2006

Food Fun / Events & Travel

The Pudding Club

A Paean To English Puddings In The Cotswolds

For centuries, Europeans have enjoyed savory and sweet puddings. These are not the creamy milk-and-sugar-based dessert puddings Americans are familiar with (chocolate, rice and tapioca puddings, e.g.), but solid puddings with a binding. Traditional puddings, still common in Great Britain, can be baked, steamed, or boiled and vary widely, from Yorkshire pudding (bound with a batter, similar to a popover) to black pudding (also known as blood sausage, bound with blood), to bread pudding, noodle and potato pudding (all bound with eggs, the latter two also called kugels) or plum pudding (a.k.a. Christmas pudding, bound with suet and flour or some other cereal). Savory puddings are served as a main course, sweet puddings as a dessert.

CotswoldsBut, as food preferences evolve, Britain’s great puddings, even the sweet variety, were being overlooked in favor of Black Forest cake and strawberry cheesecake. In 1985, to preserve this important piece of culinary heritage, Three Ways House Hotel, a historic hotel in the low hills called the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire, 90 miles from London in southwest England, established the Pudding Club. The goal: to preserve the pudding from drifting into obscurity.

Since then, delights such as Jam Roly Poly, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Spotted Dick and Syrup Sponge have been enjoyed at regular monthly meetings that are open to visitors. In fact, as the Pudding Club grew beyond the Cotswolds, seven hotel rooms were decorated in the theme of puddings. Now, you can have your pudding and sleep in it too! Getaway weekends that include a meeting of the Club are known as “Pudding Breaks.”

The Pudding Club

After twenty years, the Pudding Club is well established on the culinary map of Great Britain. Over the years, meetings of the Club have been featured on the BBC’s Food and Drink and Holiday programs, and it has received much other press. Founding members can rest assured that because of their noble efforts the great British pudding has been saved—if not from the brink of extinction, then saved to be enjoyed at least twice a month by an enthusiastic following that visits from around the country and beyond.

Meetings of the Pudding Club are generally held on first and third Friday of each month, although the current schedule shows weekly meetings in some months (no doubt to accommodate all the visitors). What happens at the meeting? Participants taste seven different classic British puddings and vote on the “Pudding of the Night.” It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to save the pudding.

The cost of an evening at the Pudding Club is £26 per person. You don’t need to be a member or a hotel guest to attend a meeting, but you do need reservations.

English puddings

An evening of hard work tasting puddings awaits Pudding Club members. Are those three members or visitors at the rear right?

Take A Pudding Break At Three Ways House Hotel

Built in 1871 from Cotswold stone, Three Ways House has been a hotel since the early Three Ways House Hotel1900s. It is located in Mickleton, the most northerly Cotswold village, and is privately owned and managed by Peter Henderson and Jill and Simon Coombe. It’s not only the location of the Pudding Club, but a conference venue and home to an award-winning restaurant where—yes—puddings are available on the menu every day.

The hotel has 48 rooms and suites, 41 of which are traditional hotel rooms. Seven are the special Pudding Theme Rooms—the perfect place to have sweet dreams.

  • The Chocolate Room invites you to sleep in a box of chocolates, decorated in a “a delicious concoction of dark, milk and white chocolate,” including the bathroom. It is stocked with delights from the local chocolatier Divine Chocolate.
The Chocolate Room Chocolate Bathroom
Go to sleep in a big box of chocolates with bonbon pillows. The matching bathroom—chocolate, chocolate everywhere.
  • Lord Randall’s Bedchamber, named after the delicious Lord Randall’s pudding, a steamed pudding of brown sugar, dried apricots and orange marmalade. It’s in apricot tones with furnishings appropriate for a Victorian gentleman’s bedroom.
  • The Oriental Ginger Room has exotic patterns, cornices and headboards that transport you to eastern places—or keep you right in England with thoughts of delicious ginger pudding.
  • The Spotted Dick and Custard Room is bright and sunny with custard-colored walls, a hand-painted cornice of mixing bowls dances over the king-size bed, and has a bunk bed for children.
  • The Summer Pudding Room has lemony appointments and a garden of colorful berry plants painted on the wall.
  • The Sticky Toffee and Date Room takes you into a Bedouin tent, with sumptuous fabrics and coppery taffeta hangings. There’s a mural with camel, dunes and palm tree—a veritable photo op.
  • The Syrup Sponge Room, for lovers of all things sticky and sweet, has butterscotch silk walls and canopy and a chocolate syrup bedspread.

You can see all of the pudding rooms here. All rooms include a Jacuzzi® bath, Molton Brown toiletries, lush bathrobes and Bose CD players. The hotel is open all year.

In The Neighborhood

Three Ways House is conveniently situated for touring the Cotswolds. There are numerous local attractions, including:

  • Batsford Park Arboretum
  • Broadway Tower and Animal Park
  • Snowshill Manor, former home of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII
  • Stratford-On-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare
  • Numerous other gardens and places of historic interest
  • Click here for more information

Perhaps the best way to walk off all the pudding is by strolling through the glorious Cotswolds. Three Ways House can provide guidance for individual walking tours, and also has scheduled Cotswold Walking Weekends.

Cotswolds
Walking through the Cotswolds.

 

THREE WAYS HOUSE HOTEL
AND THE PUDDING CLUB

 

  • 90 miles from London
  • Travel by train from London’s
    Paddington Station to nearby
    Moreton–in–Marsh

For more information, visit PuddingClub.com

Know of other special food trips?
Click here
to tell us about them.

Pudding Menu
One night’s puddings—Pudding Club members taste them all and then vote for the “Pudding of the Night.”

 



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