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The Annual Pudding Overdose

After the day’s Retail Therapy, all attention turned to the main event of the weekend, the Pudding Club. We met up the the residents’ lounge of the Three Ways House Hotel for drinks and a good gossip. All too soon, it was time to get changed for dinner. I’ve learned over the years of the absolute necessity of not wearing anything too tight around the waist, so it’s one of the extremely few times a year that I will actually wear a dress – preferably one that stretches around the waist! So much more comfortable after several helpings of pudding too many….

In accordance with the time-honoured routine, we all met up in one of our rooms, bearing our tooth-mugs from our rooms, for a glass of wine before dinner. Disappointingly, most of the really nice glass tooth-mugs of the last few years had been replaced by nasty plastic cups. My room (a small and somewhat idiosyncratic room in the old servants quarters under the eaves) still had the old glass goblets, perhaps to compensate for nearly bashing my head on the ceiling every time I went to the bathroom. But all my friends had the nasty plastic replacements – we quizzed the hotel manager about it, and he said it was because too many of the good goblets had been nicked by the guests. It was the same story with flannels; they’ve stopped providing those too, because too many went walkabout, to the tune of hundreds of pounds every few months. That’s a real shame, but I suppose they couldn’t withstand the constant drain on resources in the current climate.

Anyway, after a glass of wine, we all convened back in the resident’s lounge for a pre-dinner elderflower pressé with all the other guests, and the introduction to the main event. Dinner started I with a very light main course – I had a fillet of fish with vegetables and a caper sauce. I held back on the potatoes – they were very nice, but additional carbohydrates at that early stage of the evening would not have been a good idea!

Then it was time for the Main Event. Seven traditional puddings were paraded in to the room, to much cheering and banging of cutlery. This year, they were:

  • Passionfruit and Meringue Roulade with extra cream
  • Sticky Toffee and Date pudding with custard
  • Butterscotch pudding with butterscotch sauce and custard
  • Very Chocolate Pudding with chocolate sauce and custard
  • Rhubarb Crumble and custard
  • Marmalade Bread & Butter pudding and custard
  • Sussex Pond Pudding and custard.

At this point in the evening, it becomes necessary to plan ones’s tactics, in order to squeeze in the maximum number of puddings. Do you start heavy and go lighter? Or start light and get stodgier through the evening? I decided to start with my favourites, and then move down the list as far as I could.

I’ve had Sussex Pond Pudding before, and not much enjoyed it. It’s essentially a suet Pudding, with whole lemons embedded in it, and it’s a sweet and sour experience, but not necessarily in a good way. I was happy to give that a miss. Likewise the Rhubarb Crumble – I hate rhubarb. I can also take or leave bread and butter pudding, it’s ok but not one of my favourites. That left the top four, all of which I’ve had before at the Pudding Club and I knew I liked a lot.

I managed a decent portion of the top three puddings, then decided to sit out a round to settle my stomach before attempting a fourth helping. Unfortunately, at that point, the friend sitting opposite me decided to try the Very Chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and custard. It really was extremely rich, and smelled it! At that point, my stomach rebelled, and pointed out in no uncertain terms exactly what it would do if I tried to force the chocolate pudding down! So I ended up on a total of three puddings, all of which were gorgeous.