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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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War of the puddings

BIG FAN: Pop star Madonna is rumoured to be a fan of sticky toffee pudding

HIGHLANDERS and Yorkshiremen are pinching our puddings.

Every Cumbrian knows sticky toffee pudding hails from Lakeland.

But now a Scottish hotel and a Yorkshire inn are casting fresh doubts over the origins of our top regional dessert.

It follows a shameless bid by Scots to get their hands on another Cumbrian treasure — Beatrix Potter.

Cheeky Caledonians claimed last December that the author’s inspiration came from north of the border and not the Lakes.

Guy Craig, general manager and former owner of the Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, which claims to be home of the original sticky toffee pudding, said: “The truth of the matter is that no single place can lay claim to this dish.

“We might never know who the first person to have baked a date sponge and covered it in toffee sauce was.

“That person is lost in the mists of time.

“Our pudding recipe was popular so we used to give it to customers when they asked.

“It’s just a bit of fun and we don’t want to get into a pudding war, but our recipe dates back to 1967.”

Yorkshire’s claim to the pudding stems from the Gait Inn, Millington and sources say it reaches back to 1907.

Landlord Stuart Stephenson said: “We still serve sticky toffee pudding here but don’t know the origins. Many people drop in to try it and we don’t know whether there’s a bogus story linking us to the pudding on the web.”

But Jean Johns, proprietor of the Cartmel Village Shop, where a top Cumbrian sticky toffee pudding is made, said: “The first place I ever saw the pudding was in hotels like Sharrow Bay. Everybody wants to pinch it.”

The yummy pudding, consisting of moist sponge made with finely chopped dates, and drizzled in warm toffee sauce is widely believed to come from the Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel on Ullswater in the 1960s.

Celebrity chef James Martin, himself a Yorkshireman, caused further pudding-related controversy in his new TV series.

In the first episode of his show Sweet Baby James Mr Martin took the three rival sticky toffee puddings to York Food Festival plus his own recipe to face the public taste test.

The TV star’s pudding won, leaving the Cumbrian original and the two pretender puddings scrapping it out for the runners-up spot.

Lakeland’s original sticky toffee pudding is available for delivery from the Sharrow Bay Hotel’s website and Cartmel Village Shop has done a roaring pudding trade since 1989.

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