A passion for puddings

I find that there are two ways of dealing with the post-festivity slump that is January: a) see the new year in on an overly ambitious health drive, embracing dry January and eating food that sucks even more pleasure out of what is probably the hardest month of the year; or b) giving into the notion of ‘wintering’ and embracing anything that can help you get through the  darkness, whether that’s watching reruns of ‘Friends’ on repeat every night, hibernating to bed as soon as the sun sets or treating yourself to the sort of guilty-pleasure food that comforts you like a warm embrace from the inside out.

While I do have aspirations to the former – and indeed, I follow a pretty healthy lifestyle for most of the year – my inclination at this time of the year is to take pleasure where you can. Whatever you need to make it through to February is fine in my book. So, let me introduce you to two of my favourite local producers whose delicious, affordable, pick-me-ups will help ease you into the new year…


Cotswold Pudding Company

I’ve had the good fortune to have worked with Karen Legget of Cotswold Pudding Company for over a decade now, and I’m still blown away by how good her sticky puddings are. These are made for those classic, put-a-smile-on-your-face and fall-asleep-in-front-of-the-fire winter afternoons.

Since those early days, the range has expanded, from the original award-winning sticky toffee and sticky lemon puddings to even more award-winning sticky toffee and toasted pecan nut and sticky ginger puddings, as well as chocolate and chocolate orange. There is also an exceptional, gluten-free range, which is so good that I’d challenge anyone to spot the difference in a blind tasting.

Now I’m not a massive dessert person, but I’ll always make an exception for these sticky puds. Major sugar-fix they may be, but they’ll also fix you right up on a dark, dismal January afternoon!


The Pudding Shop

Just a few minutes away from our Warner’s store in Upton-upon-Severn, is The Pudding Shop, a lovely, unassuming family business, set up by pudding lovers Mr & Mrs Bridges, and now run by daughter Justine. If you’ve forgotten just how good steamed puddings can be, I urge you to try one of the many flavours available.

These are the sort of puddings your gran used to make, and that sadly now feels like a bit of a dying art in today’s world. As with the Cotswold Pudding Company’s sticky puddings, there are supermarket versions around, but they lack the warmth, love and home-made quality that you get from puddings that are made by hand by people who are passionate about what they do.

For such a small business, The Pudding Shop has an incredible choice of puddings – there are over 20 varieties, including old school classics like spotted dick, traditional jam, and St Clements, but my personal favourite is the sea salted caramel steamed pudding. There are also gluten-free versions available which my g/f friends tell me are remarkably good.