Skip to content

Restrictive Diets

The Three Ways House hotel in Mickleton hosts the Pudding Club at least weekly throughout the year. It’s held on a Friday each week, except for Good Friday; the hotel feels it would be disrespectful to hold such a gluttonous feast on Good Friday, but clearly doesn’t want to miss out on the Easter tourist traffic – so they hold the dinner on Easter Saturday instead.

As well as the standard  weekly Pudding Club dinners that are open to the general public, they also can be persuaded to hold private dinners for groups. That’s the case for our regular event – for the past twenty years or so, the Civil Service Sports and Social Club has held an annual Pudding Club feast for members and their friends. Each year, about a third of the guests are newbies, whilst the rest are returners, some with many many years of attendance. For some of the women in my group from work, this was the 18th year they’d been!

Because it’s become such an annual treat for many people, it’s not just the puddings themselves that are necessarily the main draw, important though they are. The whole weekend away, meeting up with old friends, catching up on the news, and of course enjoying the Cotswold scenery / long country walks / shopping opportunities (delete as necessary) are a huge part of the attraction. This means that the event continues to attract returners who might otherwise not consider a gluttonous Pudding Club to be for them.

Last week’s dinner was a case in point. Out of the fifty or so of us, there were two guests who were diabetic, one who was gluten-intolerant, and one who had gone vegan since she attended last year. You would have thought, on the face of it, that some combination of flour, sugar, eggs, cream, and/or milk in the form of custard would have been critical ingredients in every traditional British pudding. But I was very impressed to see how the kitchen rose to the challenge and managed to produce a selection of puddings, in individual portions, that were tailored to the particular dietary requirements.  They didn’t manage to make a full seven puddings for each of the restrictive diets, but the vegan was on my table and had four puddings made specially for her, (together with endless jugs of soya custard) all of which she thoroughly enjoyed. And, to be fair, four helpings of pudding is more than enough, particularly when each one was larger that the rest of us were going for from the main selection.

We had a long chat with the manager about their ability to handle specific diets, and he said that, given enough notice, they were always prepared to give it a go and see what could be done. It did though make for much more work for both the kitchens and the front-of-house staff – there was one extra waitress that evening whose primary task was to keep tabs on the four “special” diners and look after them. And I imagine the issues of avoiding cross-contamination in the kitchen would also take some handling. But I thought it was very inclusive of them, ensuring that everyone was able to participate and enjoy the atmosphere of the Pudding Club.