Trying (and Buying).

I love it when food shops have samples – especially those of the cakey variety. My favourite recent find has been a chain of cafes called Peyton and Byrne, which puts decent-sized chunks of its cake on their counters, just to let their customers have a try. If you’re brave (and can withstand the unshakeable sense of shame), you can have a good old nibble while the waitress turns her back. In fact, on one happy day before Christmas, my nearest branch even had its samples on a table outside. The man and I could not resist – there was nobody there to restrain us.

Now, I may sound like a greedy low-level criminal here, but, as an official Pud-Hog, sampling is my duty. Life’s too short not to try what’s on offer. Besides, as it happens, the tactic worked out well for all involved.

You see, yesterday, as we were heading home, a sugar craving hit me hard. I tried to ignore it but this proved impossible, so as we passed our nearest P&B, we headed inside to try and scrounge some samples. This time, alas, there were none. Instead, a huge chocolate hazelnut ‘Chelsea bun’ caught my eye…

Dear Reader, I purchased it.

Yes indeed, I bought that bun and filled my mouth. And although I can’t say I agree with the ‘Chelsea bun’ label (it was actually more like pastry), I can say it was just what I needed. A generous scattering of whole hazelnuts, plus gigantic pockets of semi-melted dark chocolate. I was eating the thing for minutes on end, and was fuelled for several hours after. A solid and reliable kind of treat. And proof that having samples is not just good for me, but good for business.

Anyway, I was so full of ‘bun’ that I could barely face The Great Meringue Challenge. Thankfully, I did it the day before.

So, here’s my top tip of the weekend, folks: meringue + natural yoghurt + salted caramel sauce = an excellent use of resources. Try it – you’ll see what I mean.

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