When running a competition, it is tradition to announce the winner by gushing about the ‘extraordinarily high quality’ of entries and ‘how hard it was to pick a winner’. Well, for Fruit is not a Pudding, only one part of that is true: it was hard to pick a single winner of the wonderful prize kindly provided by free from dessert purveyors Pudology.
Frankly dears, you have excelled yourself in finding some of the most unimaginative, and downright unappealing desserts I could have dreaded to see in the festive period! In 2016, with free from catering ever-improving, I was somewhat nervous that entries would be down on last year. I never should have feared. 2016 shall be known as the Revenge of the Fruit! The year that caterers threw imagination to the wind and said “No! I shall not create an inclusive and delicious pudding! I tire of delighting my restaurant patrons! Fruit, fruit, and more FRUIT for you!”
On to the entries.
I’d like to start with an extremely troubling phenomenon: the well-presented fruit salad.
What’s wrong with that? You may well ask. The chef has taken some care to make the fruit presentable at least? The problem my dears, is that this is leading some of our fellow freefromers and coeliactivists to let their guards down.”It was actually quite nice!” came the comments. “Looks pretty!”. Well that may be, but in our opinion, you can’t polish a… fruit salad (although you can roll it in chocolate). Especially not whilst everyone else is tucking into sticky toffee pudding. Stand strong, guys. Fight the good fight.
The other problem that this disguises is one of our pet hates: out of season fruit – watery, hard facsimiles of their glorious sweet summer counterparts. Here’s one example where the venue in question didn’t even bother on the presentation front, presumably opting to just use the same chopping board as for the pesto:
But if it’s seasonal fruit you’re after, there was some of that on offer this year too. Hooray! Ummm…
Where to start? Well probably with the apple. You can have too much of a good thing, guys. And you can definitely make a good thing bad by leaving it out to go brown then drenching it in the remnants of the drip tray. I suppose at least the example from Most Marvellous Baking has some token (presumably imported) blueberries; but if I was one of those blueberries, I’d take inspiration from this example:
And try to drown myself in a dated can of evaporated milk found at the back of the store cupboard.
In fact, what is it with random escapee blueberries this year?
I can only assume with import costs it’s too expensive to serve more than one per person?
Finally then, those last remaining entries where, to be honest, the chef’s levels of ‘CBA‘ were topping the scale. Including the saddest looking pear ever, the topping from the cheesecake everyone else was served (not, as I believed, a whole bowl of cranberry sauce); and… a bunch of grapes.
I’m assuming that as the latter was served in a spa it was part of some ill-advised mindful detox regime, and was shortly followed by a programme of vigorous chakra-scrubbing by an orange-skinned health coach with a mixture of matcha and pink himalayan salt whilst whale-song played in the background. Festive indeed.
But the biggest ‘CBA’ of all is for those who didn’t even receive something suitable for their dietary requirements. Believe it or not, even fruit isn’t an allergy-friendly option for some, meaning this entrant was served a plate she just had to look at. (I really hope you won the raffle as a conciliatory prize – or at least, you managed to carry all those coats home ;))
Whereas others were simply left to sit awkwardly whilst friends and colleagues tucked in, presumably also feeling awkward.
*Serious face* And this, dear hearts, is the moral of Fruit is not a Pudding. Being excluded, or treated differently at a social gathering is awkward and miserable for everyone involved. It shows a lack of imagination, and care for customers; which hurts doubly over the festive period. Not least because we have a tendency to drown our sorrows with the free bar and end up flirting disgracefully with our coworkers (ahem).
We’re happy to spread a little conciliatory festive cheer with Pudology, and after careful deliberation with my gluten-eating husband, the selection of puddings will be awarded to Daisy Bee for her truly tragic brown apple-fest. We hope you enjoy your prize, and look forwards to playing again with everyone next year.