You know those horrible inbetweeny days in December, between Christmas and New Year? Those days when you're practically comatose from hitting the box of Roses too hard, you're not sure what day it is and you feel like you've eaten so many roast potatoes you may as well be one? Well this year, I just had to get out of the house.
One of the benefits of coming from the Midlands is that you're never too far away from anything. Most places are a two hour drive away, which means you get a great level of choice on where to head off to. Funnily enough though, I don't think I've ever properly explored the Midlands. And so when it came to picking somewhere to go and visit for the day, I thought I'd head a little closer to home.
And that's how, after an hours drive to, we ended up in Bakewell, hidden in depths of the Peak District. Of course everyone recognises the name of Bakewell because of the Bakewell tart, even though no one is actually sure if Bakewell tarts came from Bakewell. They are, however, sure that Bakewell Puddings came from Bakewell and that tarts are a variant of the pudding. Have I said Bakewell enough times? Its impossible not to say it over and over. It doesn't even look like a real word anymore. Bakewell, Bakewell, Bakewell...
No one actually knows what the real origins of the Bakewell pudding are, but the popular story is that the landlady of one of the pubs in the town left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart. The cook misread the instructions and spread eggs and almond paste mixture on top of the tart, instead of into the pastry. The result was successful enough for it to become the Bakewell pudding and the rest is history. Now if only my baking disasters could result in a new popular creation, rather than going straight from the oven to the bin.
There are now three different Bakewell pudding shops in the town that all say they had the original recipe, so of course you're never sure which one is telling the truth. One of them did have the biggest queue and did seem to have the best claim, but it was so heaving I couldn't even get near it to take a photograph. I had to settle with getting my sweet treat from a different shop instead. I'm afraid to say I didn't even get a Bakewell pudding, I had to go for the tart. After all, the icing is the best bit, right?
Personally, slightly more interesting to me is the fact that Bakewell is mentioned in Pride & Prejudice, when Elizabeth is travelling to Pemberly - which most people believe it based on Chatsworth House, which is pretty close by too, although I never managed to get there on this day, thanks to waking up late and the lack of winter sun!
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Derbyshire Dales though (I mean come on, look how bloody chocolate box cute it is!) If you're after somewhere to have a proper Bakewell Tart (maybe upping your skills after last year's Bake Off?) then this is definitely the place to go.
Anywhere else I should explore?