Last year, we actually took a non-working trip and spent time with friends in England and France. We aren’t gourmands so we chose restaurants based on how non-touristy they looked. But I could never pass a sweet shop or patisserie without going in and because I’m really good about sharing, everyone patiently indulged me. First stop, the Cotswolds region in England to visit our good friends Jim and Cary, who graciously drove us through London and all around the countryside. Popping into a small bake shop in Stow-on-the-Wold, I asked for a recommendation and received the very English Bakewell tart, a pastry shell with ground almond filling, topped with icing and a cherry:
Knowing my sweet tooth, Jim insisted on taking me to a proper English boiled sweets shop. Boiled sweets are a catch-all term for what I call hard candy, gummies and taffy – mostly fruit flavored, but all made by cooking sugar to various stages. Jim, who was for some crazy reason abstaining from sweets for an entire year (just to prove to himself that he could), went a little bonkers, pulling down jar after jar of the colorful lollies (it just occurred to me that I might be mixing my countries here – I learned the term lollie from an Australian friend). I thought it would take me a year to finish everything he bought but after an afternoon of liberal sampling, I was wrong.
Jelly Babies! As a young Beatles fan in the sixties, I remember reading about fans throwing jelly babies at the Fab Four so I had to try them for the nostalgia, but they turned out to be my favorite – kind of a cross between a gummy bear and a jelly:
We also visited the pretty little Cotswold Chocolate Company where we learned that Cotswold translates to something like “hills of the sheep” or “hills with sheep”. The chocolate covered lemon peel was delicious, as was the chocolate bar Ned bought for Cary that he ended up eating mostly by himself (sorry, Cary):