The Pudding Club was founded in 1985 to celebrate traditional British puddings. Each meeting offers a choice of 7 different puddings for an informal evening of sheer (over) indulgence, fun and British eccentricity! The weekly meetings are held at the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton village in the picturesque Cotswolds, UK. Attendance is open to everyone but pre-booking is required.
The evening commenced at 7.30pm when we all assembled in the lounge, with a glass of elderflower pressé. We were welcomed by our host for the evening, Simon Coombe, the Pudding Club’s Chief Taster (what a job!), wearing his pudding themed tie.
Simon provided an light hearted overview of the evening's proceedings and introduced the selection of the puddings on offer.
Then we were shown into a private dining room, which was seperate from the main restaurant. Each guest had been allocated to one of the large tables, I was on Table 1, also known as the Jam Rolly Polly table.
We were served a small main course, out of a choice of 3, 1 of which was vegetarian. I had a Mediterranean Vegetable Rissotto, pictured above. The main meal was accompanied with side dishes of fresh mixed vegetables.
Then the 7 traditional puddings were paraded into the room accompanied with much cheering and clapping. Guests are asked to be upstanding for the arrival of the final pudding, which was welcomed in with rowdy applause and the bashing of pudding spoons on the table. The evening was very sociable, very quickly everyone was chatting and comparing puddings.
Pudding close ups - front: Chocolate and Nut, back row left Toffee and Apple, right Lord Randall's Pudding
Pudding close ups - left to right: Spotted Dick, Bread and Butter Pudding and Apple Crumble
Passion Fruit Roulade with Bird's Custard, cream, chocolate sauce and toffee sauce
Each guest is given a score sheet to rate each of the puddings they try and at the end of the ending voting takes place to find the favourite pudding of the evening. Each table is invited up to the pudding counter in rotation and each guest can chose 1 pudding at a time.
All the puddings looked delicious and I was determined to try all 7 puddings on offer. I didn't really have a stratergy about how I might achieve this but I decided to start with my favourite Apple Crumble, as I was a bit worried that if I left it till last I might feel too full to enjoy it. The apple crumble certainly didn't disappoint, being a bit cautious I gave it a 8/10, as at that point I didn't know the standard to compare it with. The crumble was utterly delicious, crunchy on top with lots of fruit. The apples were perfectly cooked, not too sweet and had been cooked in their skins which gave it a very pleasant flavour. Accompanying this, and all my other hot puddings was custard, which I adore. Perfect.
One of the "rules" of the club is that you have to finish your pudding before you have your next one and you use the same pudding dish all evening.
Lord Randall's Pudding
I decided for my second pudding to have Lord Randall's Pudding, as it was one I had never tried before. It's a sponge based pudding with apricots and marmalade. While I like the ingredients, and I could appriciate the quality of the pudding, the combination of flavours didn't really work for me.
Chocolate and Nut Pudding
I had the Chocolate and Nut Pudding accompanied with custard and chocolate sauce. This was my second favourite of the night. The chocolate was at the right intensity, rich and full in flavour but not sickly sweet, and there were piece of whole nuts that accompanied it. The chocolate sauce worked well as it added another texture to the dish. Amazing.
Bread and Butter Pudding
My next choice was Bread and Butter Pudding, made with layers of buttered bread and raisins, it's usually one of my favourites. However tonight I found it crisp on the outside but too soggy in the centre and I didn't like it much at all. Thankfully it was my only disappointment in the whole evening.
Passion Fruit Roulade
My next pudding was Passion Fruit Roulade, the only cold pudding on offer that evening, and it was the only pud I had with fresh cream. I thought at this point in the proceedings I needed a rest from the hot puddings and custard. I'll be honest when it was paraded out I was not sure about this one, however it was refreshingly light and creamy and I liked it much more than I thought I would do.
Toffee and Apple Pudding
The Toffee and Apple Pudding was fabulous, I chose to have it with both custard and toffee sauce. There were lovely chunks of apple which complemented the sweetness of the toffee flavours in the sponge and sauce well.
I kept the Spotted Dick to last as to be honest its not one of my favourite puddings. It's a sponge pudding with dried fruit and sometimes I find it a little stodgy but this was cooked beautifully and didn't taste too heavy. I was delighted to say I managed to taste all 7 puddings and it was now time to see how other people voted.
My voting slip - my personal favourite was Apple Crumble
At the end of the evening as the tea and coffee are poured, guest vote on their favourite puddings of the evening. The winner tonight was Bread and Butter Pudding.
At the end of the evening guests are given their certificate of attenance and thankfully, as I was feeling rather full at this point, I was pleased that I had opted to stay overnight in the hotel. I really loved my visit to the Pudding Club and I am already plotting a return visit.
Address: Three Ways House Hotel, Chapel Lane, Mickleton, Gloucestershire, GL55 6SB
Nearest Station: Honeybourne. The hotel pre-arranged for a local taxi to collect and return me to the station. The cost of the journey was £10 each way.
The Pudding Club Meeting costs: £37pp (2016)
Many people attending the Pudding Club stay overnight in the hotel. Room rates vary and there are some special Pudding Club themed bedrooms.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds.