Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Sweet Circle

There is a great tradition of sweet pastry making in Lancashire: Chorley cakes, Goosnargh cakes, Grasmere gingerbread, and perhaps most famously of all Eccles cakes.

After being particularly disturbed by the quality of the supermarket's 'sale' chicken, I have been driving out of town every month or so to procure locally raised chicken for Cat's meals. But I must confess to an ulterior motive: the 15-km drive takes me right past Bennett's Apples and Cider and inside Bennett's are the best Eccles cakes in town. The car cannot pass Bennett's without making a pit stop for this treat, special since my childhood when Dad might buy a couple from a baker at the farmers market.

As a child I knew that they hailed from jolly ol' England but only this past summer, when reading Marion Cane's Dish, did I learn that Eccles is a town near Manchester where the first flaky pastry with currant filling was sold in the 18th century. Her quest to find the ultimate Eccles cake took Cane and her mother from London to Eccles and then back to London where, in one of those quirks of six degrees of separation, she found herself in St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields. Now, as I may have mentioned before, I've never visited Spitalfields but I feel that I know the place and its people intimately thanks to the Gentle Author's blog, "Spitalfields Life"; and it just so happened that a few months previously I had visited St John's and enjoyed its pastry -- all vicariously mind you -- on the Gentle Author's Bread, Cake and Biscuit Walk.

Thankfully, I can enjoy every flake of Bennett's Eccles cakes directly -- just as Dad and I did this afternoon. And perhaps I should be just as thankful that Bennett's is not any closer. ;-)

1 comment:

25th Edmonton Scouts said...

I too have enjoyed the Eccles cakes in Eccles.