There are few pleasures in life that rack up to the level of a delicious pudding. When either dining in or out, we always make room for that special something sweet at the end of a meal. The classic favourites such as a chocolate sponge or spotted dick are seldom made at home these days. We look to exotic ingredients and quick fixes rather than enjoying vintage steamed puds. However, British classics are coming back to the forefront of inspiring cuisine. People are interested in their heritage and have started enjoying game meats, unusual, but locally-caught fish and seasonal vegetables. This is also the case for puddings.
Especially during these colder months, a delicious, rich pudding served warm with custard is a perfect reminder of how much we used to indulge in these sticky, sweet delights. The Proof of the Pudding brings this to Northumberland. With twists here and there on beloved classics including Alnwick Rum Christmas Pudding and Steamed Marmalade Sponge made with homemade marmalade have made not only an impact here in Northumberland, but also nationally.
How did your business begin? Can you tell us your history/origin story?:
The Proof of the Pudding was born in June 2001 following the birth of my fourth son in 2000. I started my business with the chocolate pudding that we still make. Environmental Health was quite happy for me to start in our farmhouse kitchen and endless versions of the pudding were made and dished out among friends and relatives as guinea pigs for their comments and approval- a method which we still use today. Negotiating the minefield of labelling regulations with Trading Standards and receiving a thumbs up from the analyst who tests shelf life, I was finally ready to go into ‘mass production’ with my food processor making 5 puddings at a time! Plans were soon in place for a new catering kitchen in the farmhouse and “The Proof of the Pudding” was officially launched in November 2001.
What values are at the heart of your business?
Our award-winning range of puddings is all genuinely homemade. We bake and steam our puddings in small batches using top quality ingredients including free range eggs from R. Ord & Hens at Chatton, bread made for us by Glenton’s Bakery, local dairy products, and of course the legendary Alnwick Rum and its associated Almond Liqueur. We have expanded into a larger catering kitchen in our Farmhouse but all the grating, juicing etc is still done by hand and we strive always to maintain a quality product.
What does your product range include?
Our range has expanded to comprise eleven different flavours. From the oven, we have sticky toffee, sticky ginger and our original chocolate pudding and from the steamer, there is spotted dick, golden syrup, lemon, marmalade with orange liqueur, apricot and almond, cherry and almond and raspberry and almond alongside our exclusive Alnwick Rum Christmas puddings.
Where can people buy your products?
We supply some local independent retailers and are always looking for new stockists. In Northumberland our puddings can be found in Carters of Bamburgh, the Northumbrian Hamper at Seahouses, Robsons of Craster, the Good Life in Wooler, Sunnyhills of Belford, Grannies in Alnwick, Taste of Northumbria in Alnwick, Lesbury Post Office, Hedgeley Services, Tullys of Rothbury, Blagdon farm shop, Belsay Post office and Christmas Puddings in Fenwick Food Hall. Please check with the retailer before making a special trip as some are seasonal and only carry certain items. The puddings are always available on our website.
How can your customers enjoy your product at its best?
Our puddings are ready to simply reheat and serve with a little cream, custard or ice cream. Full instructions for both the oven and microwave are provided.
How are you involved in the local food/drink producer community?
We are members of the ‘Produced in Northumberland’ scheme run by Northumberland County Council. To comply with the scheme we have an annual audit to check our Northumberland credentials and compliance with all regulations.
How does your location influence your business and product range?
We are based on a working farm in the beautiful Northumbrian countryside and the view from the catering kitchen window is truly stunning. We follow the longstanding traditions of farmhouse baking and some of our recipes have been handed down through the family.
Why do you think people should shop locally?
It is vital to support our local independent retailers and support our troubled high streets. Small local businesses provide employment for local people which, in turn, benefits the local economy. Artisan producers take great pride in creating quality products with local ingredients and offer the customer something a little bit different and sometimes unique.
What is your favourite local food or drink?
Drinks wise I enjoy a Hepple G&T or a non-alcoholic Kitty’s Ginger Wine – excellent hot on a cold day! The Northumbrian Bakehouse has a great range of roasted flavoured cashews and everyone enjoys a Bamburgh Banger!
How could Foodful help promote your business?
We are always looking to expand our customer base – both individuals and also local hotels and restaurants.
Hat-Tip to the Producers
Thank you to Susan Green of The Proof of the Pudding for her time answering these questions. The only question to ask now is which pudding is your favourite? You can find The Proof of the Pudding‘s delicious wares throughout Northumberland.