I recently had the opportunity to attend Pudding Club. For those not in the know, Pudding Club is a weekly event held at the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton, Gloucestershire. The owners were sick of the sort of desserts being served in the 1980s and set up Pudding Club to promote traditional, hearty English puddings. The event has really taken off since then and it regularly features on TV and in travel magazines.
The event begins with an introduction from the Pudding Master, including a rundown of the puddings on offer that night. Once you’re all seated, you are asked for your choice of light main course – for us it was salmon fishcakes, butternut squash risotto or chicken with bacon. To accompany these, dishes of vegetables and dauphinoise potatoes were brought out but sadly, despite how tasty the potatoes, were the vegetables were barely touched as nobody wanted to fill up on the main course! I have to say though, my salmon fishcake was delicious.
A short while later and it was time for the parade of puddings. The pudding master announces each pudding in turn and staff bring them in pudding one by one while guests clap and cheer. They are all placed on a central serving table along with a large bowl of custard. Staff stand ready to serve you.
Oh yes, there are rules.
- You can only go up to get a pudding when the Pudding Master says so. Each table goes in turn so you do at least get a reasonable gap between each pudding.
- Staff will serve you a small-ish portion, but after you’ve had three or so you will feel pretty full. You can ask for a smaller portion if you wish.
- You must clear your bowl. If you don’t clear your bowl, you cannot have another pudding – and nor can anyone else on your table! This can lead to a bit of mostly good-natured barracking from those who want another helping if you can’t finish – or don’t like – your pudding.
- You can have the puddings in any order you like.
- You don’t have to have one helping of each – if you want to have seven helpings of sticky toffee pudding, you can. The idea is to try all seven though.
- If you’ve had seven puddings and want to keep going, you’re perfectly welcome to do so. The record is 26 helpings!
Our seven puddings were Rhubarb Crumble, Spotted Dick, Very Chocolate Pudding, Passionfruit Charlotte, Banana and Cinnamon Pudding, Syrup Sponge and Butterscotch Pudding. The menu does change.
Once everyone has managed all they can eat, it’s time to vote. You’re allowed to vote for your favourite puddings as many times as you ate it, so if you had three helpings, that’s three votes. Everyone gets a certificate to celebrate the evening and after relaxing over tea and coffee (included) it’s time to leave. We were fairly local, so just came for the evening, but most people at our event stayed over.
I’d wanted to go to Pudding Club since I saw it on TV years ago and it didn’t disappoint! Sure, the Spotted Dick was boring and the Banana and Cinnamon Pudding unpopular but the others were tasty and the evening was great fun. I certainly want to go back!