One of my fondest childhood memories is being at Butlins with my family and my Aunty Shell ordering a pudding just to give to me so that I could have both of the options on the menu – one time we both ordered Key Lime Pie because it’s my favourite and I got to have 2 helpings. True love that is. It probably also explains the gluttonous habits that have followed me into adulthood.
Anyway, this nostalgic aside goes some way to explaining why Bristol Pudding Society ticks so many boxes for me. The slogan for the events is ‘5 courses of traditional desserts like your mum used to make’ – now, my mum can’t bake to save her life (she still unboxes M&S apple pies before my nieces come to her house to keep the ruse going though), but as demonstrated above, I have a lot of fond memories tied up with puddings, and I like to stuff my face, so this was a goer from the start.
Bristol Pudding Society was started by Charlie Harding (no, not that one – this one); I’ve known Charlie for several years and in this time I’ve been fortunate enough to tug at her feeder instincts and get her to make me various cakes, tarts and even one of her first attempts at bread. Her treats are always comforting and tasty, and if anything I’m surprised that it’s taken her so long to do an event!
I strolled over to Whitehall on an unreasonably hot day for the lastest Pudding Society event at Bristol Spirit (a lovely bar on Whitehall Rd which does great cocktails, nibbles and movie events – worth a visit in its own right), and gawped at the seriously appetising list of courses awaiting me.
First up was a savoury course of toasted sourdough with goats cheese and Charlie’s homemade beetroot ketchup (I’m getting the recipe for this or paying her for a jar of the stuff – it’s delicious) – I know it was only supposed to be a starter but it was so tasty that I polished off half before I even remembered to take a photo. Definitely need to recreate this one at home once I have some beetroot ketchup of my own!
On to the first pudding! A very summery meringue with clotted cream and boozy fruit compote – a classic pairing and the meringue was just how I like it: slightly chewy and a bit crispy. A solid start.
This is also when I decided to go for the first cocktail pairing of the day – a Cosmo made with the PG Sips Pink Grapefruit & Raspberry Vodka (Sam who runs Bristol Spirit also makes her own spirits under the moniker Espensen Spirit, damn fine they are too). This was super refreshing, citrusy, and BOOZY. Good thing I was eating a few more courses – between this and the heat I didn’t favour my chances of walking back to Totterdown without ending up in a hedge.
Pudding no.2 was the one I was most excited about: treacle tart with brown bread ice cream from Brozen. Slacker that I am, I’ve still not visited Brozen’s stall in St Nicholas Market, but I’ll definitely make a trip after trying this ice cream, it was lovely!
I know some people found the pastry on the tart a bit dense, but I liked it and the filling was rich, not too solid (I like it a bit oozy) and went really well with the ice cream.
Pudding No.3 I was less sure of – due to a mixture of things. Namely, it was 30+ degrees outside, so I didn’t really fancy stout cake, I wanted a choc ice. Secondly, I was several courses in and starting to feel the strain, so something this rich was quite hard to delve into.
Still, the cake and caramel sauce were a good match, and on a chillier day would have probably gone down a treat. As it was I only made a dent in this one (sorry Charlie!)
On to the final pudding – and my surprise favourite! Gin and prosecco jelly, rhubarb curd (UNNNNFFFF) and more of that boozy fruit compote with a cute little shortbread. There wasn’t much of the jelly, but I didn’t mind as it was fairly potent (no mistaking both the gin and prosecco), and it made more room for the rhubarb curd, which was so good it had me doing that thing where I mumble sordid things at my spoon, and feel very sad as my portion dwindles down.
There was a great mix of flavours and textures in this pudding, and every aspect worked really well – I think this one particularly demonstrated to me where Charlie could go with these events, and is quite different from anything I’ve had from her in the past.
This was when I also decided to end the afternoon on an added high by going for my second cocktail pairing: a mixer of Ruby Cuby Rhubarb & Custard vodka with ginger ale. This one wasn’t quite as moreish as the other cocktail – but mainly because I’ve tasted the rhubarb & custard vodka before and it’s really good, so it felt a shame to lose it in the flavour & slight fizz of the ginger ale.
I had a lovely afternoon at Bristol Pudding Society – I think it’s safe to say that everyone there rolled out of the door full & content. We all had different favourites (a good sign, I’d say), and I’m going to be hassling Charlie for jars of the beetroot ketchup and rhubarb curd non-stop now.
Take a peek at the next bunch of Pudding Society events (they sell out quickly so expect to wait a while like I did!), and tell me what you think when you do head along!
86 Whitehall Road
Bristol BS5 9BQ
Disclaimer doodle: My food was free for this event but I paid for all of my drinks, in no was my opinion impacted and I was not asked to send any copy in advance. Obviously I also mentioned Charlie is a mate, but c’maaan, puddings! Try them yourself and you’ll see how right I am.