This is it, Ogglers: the Big One; the post you’ve all been waiting for.
After much deliberation, I’ve finally picked my Top Ten Puddings of 2012.
While choosing the best was a reasonably easy feat, sorting the ranking has taken weeks of thought. My brain has been flooded with memories – while my mouth is in floods of saliva.
I think I’ve just about cracked it though…
Each entry on this list stands out for a host of reasons, including value, size, originality, texture, taste and even audibility (in other words, if I didn’t hear myself groan with delight, it didn’t make the cut).
What you see below are the cakes and desserts that stopped me in my tracks. They are among the best calories that have ever passed my lips and, with the tragic exception of No. 10, they’re all out there for you to try.
For more information, click on the links at each heading. Then add them to your To-Chew list and get gobbling while you can.
10. Niko B.’s Pumpkin Pancakes with Halloumi and Chocolate Sauce
This isn’t a match I would ever have thought of, but blimey it was a good’un.
Soft Pumpkin Pancakes, rich Chocolate Sauce, and thick slabs of fried Halloumi – if my last supper were scheduled for breakfast, I’m pretty sure this would be it.
Hailing from Niko B’s now defunct Chocolate Lab, alas, they may never be my Sunday treat again.
It’s a tragedy, folks. But I feel truly blessed to have tried them.
9. Pistachio Rose’s Chocolate Tarts
What you see here are the crispest, cleanest Pastry Tarts, filled with the most Chocolatey spiced fillings that this Pud-Hog’s ever had.
Milk Chocolate Chai; Dark Chocolate with Salt and Chilli; White Chocolate and Sweet Fennel: every flavour is exciting, with a melt that makes me shiver every time.
8. The Bakery Cafe’s Chocolate, Fennel and Caraway Brownie
BEHOLD: a textural triumph of tremendous proportions!
This Brownie was moist, melty, crispy, chewy – and perhaps more excitingly still, absolutely ENORMOUS.
If its intriguing mix of spices doesn’t float your boat, then the slightly salty edge will surely get your oral rivers flowing.
Worth a train trip to Sherborne all on its own.
No other Brownie compares.
7. The Kooky Bakes’ Kooky Slice
Here is the slice to end all slices.
With Condensed Milk, Pecans, Pretzels, Dulce de Leche AND Dark and White Chocolate, this cunchy gooey beast has all the trimmings.
As it happens, the Kooky Slice is the first cake of the year I almost married. Our love affair didn’t last long though: eating it was so much more fulfilling.
6. Outsider Tart’s Congo Bar
This juicy slab is made up almost entirely of Cookie Dough, with a finishing flourish of Chocolate Peanuts. It also happens to be my favourite creation of Outsider Tart so far.
Even now I can’t help marvelling at its construction.
How do they make the outside so crisp, while the inside is perfectly gloopy?
Clearly, there’s some sort of miracle going on. Those bakers deserve a sainthood.
5. Bonda Cafe’s Bubur Pulut Hitam
The fact that this bowl of glutinous Black Rice looks so downright unappetising only proves the strength of my love for its flavour and texture.
Creamy, warm, soft, and suffused with Brown Sugar and Coconut Milk, it ticks all the boxes as my ideal comfort food.
Bonda Cafe: I salute you.
4. The Classic Cinnabon
As much as I like to support local foodstuffs and plug the wares of independent retailers, on this occasion I’m forced to make an exception.
In a nutshell, CINNABON RULES.
Their Original Bun quite literally drips with Cinnamon Butter, while its caramelised Sugar corners are just the thing to make a Pud-Hog sing.
No doubt it’s loaded with chemicals (I know for a fact that each one is loaded with calories), but quite frankly all other Buns pale in comparison.
3. Honey & Co.’s Cold Cheese Cake
Cheesecakes don’t have to be heavy and rich, as this heavenly plateful proves.
Instead, they can be nests of Honey, Fruit, Almonds, fresh Mint, Pastry and creamy Curd-like Cheese.
Every mouthful of this is sheer delight, with just the right balance of crunch, bite and softness.
If the Pud-Hog made clouds they would taste like this – and the skies would be damp with drool.
2. The M’Hencha
Light, luscious and practically bursting with syrup, here’s another Middle Eastern pud you really mustn’t miss.
A.K.A. the Mmm’hencha, life’s too short not to sample this stupendous Pastry swirl, with its filling of Ground Almonds, Lemon and Rosewater.
Indeed, according to the Guild of Fine Foods, it’s 2012’s best Cake in Britain.
Having sampled a great deal of cake myself, this Pud-Hog can proudly concur.
And finally… drum roll please…
1. La Grotta’s Pine Nut and Candied Orange Cedrat Choc Ice
This is it, Ogglers: the champ of well over 200 Pud-Hog posts – and it’s a worthy winner indeed.
I looked at my notes for this Choc Ice the other day, and in big letters, filling up three lines, one phrase is scrawled in biro:
It’s quite difficult to describe just how special this Ice Cream was. I have never, never had anything like it.
A magnificent mash-up of fresh sea breezes, thick Milk Chocolate, Pine Nuts and Candied Orange, before I tried this, I mistakenly thought that I’d had all that Ice Cream could offer.
If you can, get your hands on one sharpish – and congratulate La Grotta on a pud well done.
Happy Hogging – and thanks for supporting the Pud-Hog’s first year!
Here’s to the next twelve months…