INFOThree Ways House Hotel
Mickleton, Chipping Campden
Tel: (0) 1386 438429
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The Cotswolds, UK: Pudding preservationists unite
The first rule of Pudding Club is you can only try one pudding at a time. The second rule of Pudding Club is you may return to the buffet by invitation only.
You may move on to the next pudding only once you've cleaned your plate. No hiding the rest in a napkin and acting all innocent. Pudding Club knows where you live.
Here, in an 1870s village inn in the Cotswolds, sweet tooths have been congregating in not-quite-secret since the Club's inception in 1985. Theirs was a desperate cri de coeur against the rise of nouvelle cuisine, a grasp at staving off "the demise of the great British pudding."
Twenty-five years later, dedicated preservationists from the world over flock to Three Ways House for weekly meetings (there've been occasional pop-ups in other cities, too).
Here, after 50-odd guests endure an appetizer and entrée (formalities, really), Club officials reiterate the rules, and cooks present the evening's seven desserts.
Blackberry Eton Mess. Jam Roly-Poly. Cumberland Rum. Syrup Sponge. And that eternal British punchline, Spotted Dick. It's a sticky, treacly, custard-oozing Victorian bacchanal.
Once you cry uncle, use your last shred of strength to roll yourself to your (pudding-themed) room.