We have recently exhibited our puddings at; Speciality & Fine Food Fair London, Fine Food Sydney, Food & Drink Exhibition Birmingham UK, International Food Exhibition London and Fine Food Sydney, where the Food Industry buzz words were Food Miles and more importantly Carbon Foot-prints ! In Australia we talk about “paddock to plate” (field to fork)( I like to think “paddock to pudding”), but the meaning is the same, no matter where in the world you are, most people want to know what we at Pudding Lane are doing to help and minimize our impact on the natural Environment.
I always tell people that we are accidental-environmental enthusiasts – that’s the truth ! But it does all come back to our unique handmade method and a strict provenance of our ingredients. The method that we make the puddings with is really unchanged for more than 100 years.
As many of you know we have based our reputation for quality on the “boiled-in-the-cloth” method. That is, we select the finest fruit (Australian Vine fruits) & ingredients, mostly local, combine these ingredients by hand, including fresh bread ( from a local bakery that we hand-crumb ) add the “wet-mix” of fresh butter, fresh local Free Range eggs ( hand cracked ), Brandy and then hand-stir the mixture. This pudding mixture is then hand-weighed with spoons into lined boiling cloths. The cloths are actually “squares” of natural calico and are reused over and over to make many hundreds of puddings. If the calico square develops a small hole, then we cut it down in size to make another (smaller) size of pudding cloth and so the process continues. The puddings are hand-tied with twine, then cooked ( boiled ) in ( gas fired – less carbon footprint than electricity and in January 2009 we incorporated the latest gas efficient technology ) “Coppers” before being hung, again by hand, individually on a line to dry, age and mature naturally in advance for Christmas.
When the puddings have been hung and dried we then take them off the line, hand cut them out of the boiling cloth, dress them in plain cotton fabric to sell (with pudding labels attached made from 80% Australian post consumer waste recycled material, printed with Vegetable based inks) and the only disposable part of our pudding making process is a short piece of twine used to tie around the pudding cloth for cooking. The puddings are carefully packaged in cartons locally made from 100% recycled (Australian waste) material and dispatched. We also recycle (or re-use) 100% of any cardboard and paper packaging (like flour bags, fruit & egg cartons) created in making our puddings.
With our traditional method of making puddings, we do not use any automated processes, no production lines, no electric steam ovens ( in fact we don’t have a conventional oven) our water is solar heated, grey water is captured for staff facilities & gardens and our floor lighting is the latest energy efficient technology. We do not use plastic basins, plastic bowls or moulds to shape the puddings, each and every pudding is different, only the same supreme moist taste is the same and each and every pudding is unique!
Many people who know our method and also who visit our pudding kitchen are amazed at the level of detail, at the hand-made method, the hard work, how we can create such little waste, but also that we can make many many puddings every year – but each and every one, without ever compromising the quality of our ingredients or changing the method and almost no machinery whatsoever, is made individually by hand.
Today, we are less accidental in our commitment to the environment. We maintain a practical commitment to community involvement in our business and continue to ensure that our ingredients are; fresh and local, that our hand made method is maintained by strict HACCP certification controls and that we just make traditional Christmas puddings in the old-fashioned (environmental) way.
We just hand-make puddings, so please enjoy!