Wednesday 20 March 2013

Tate and Lyle Tasting House

Yesterday I was invited to an extraordinary event to launch the new Tate & Lyle range of fairtrade golden and brown sugars. Today I am living off the lowest GI food I can find, washed down with paracetamol and water as I struggle with a monster sugar headache. It was worth it though.

What they've done is take an old house on Dean St in Soho (just next to Blacks. Where I've spent several happy hours that I don't entirely remember) and decorate each room with sugar craft and baking, using the new sugars. As I wandered through the rooms I heard one superior young person sniff "Oh, it's just a corporate launch" - and yes, this is a corporate launch of a product that will be on sale in Very Big Shops for actual money and I was invited to attend by a PR agency. But so freaking what? It was very clever and very pretty and I totally drank the Kool Aid. I'll talk about the actual sugars another day - this is going to be all pictures of the amazing craftsmanship involved.

The Mayan-themed basement:

A sacrificial pyramid made of fudge
Pots of coins, fudge and delicious little macaroons

Skulls and a calendar - presumably recalibrated to show that the world didn't end in 2012
 Up the stairs:
I'm not planning a wedding but I would definitely choose a macaroon tower instead of cupcakes...
I'm hardly germophobic but I did shy away from eating the bannisters.
The Mediterranean bedroom:
Books and throw pillows made of cake. Balloons strewn around as you see them in all mediterranean bedrooms
Meringue hearth-rug
I loved the caramel corn bath
So much food colouring...
 Guyanese inspired room:
Apparently the giant turtle was made of sponge - I didn't want to be the first to cut into him. The eggs filled with cake and buried in the demerara "sand" were fun though
 Barbados inspired library:
The florentines in the box at the bottom right were delicious
Hand-painted shell cookies

The cookies on a mobile
 Mississippi inspired room:
6' long King Cake - which I thought was a Louisiana thing, but I guess that is on the Mississippi Gulf?

The feathers the cake was decorated with were gorgeous
The South Pacific inspired room
Not quite life-sized, but still huge
Wouldn't have believed it was cake without the trepanning
 Caribbean inspired room:
Lots of sugar coral and gingerbread doubloons
So, maybe Pirates of the Caribbean rather than Caribbean-inspired

British inspired parlour:
This was the room with the business-end of the tasting
Lorna Wing expertly guided the tasting. She was not made of cake.
The iconic Tate & Lyle logo didn't translate well to cake. Looked deceased rather than rampant. Those are bees! (edited to add - I have just been informed that the logo IS a dead lion. So this was very well done!)

Willow pattern vase...
... the baker may have been cursing the humidity, but I appreciated the chance to see, yes, it is cake.
The tea cups contained Long Island Iced Tea. Which I don't normally drink but did because of this article about snooty New York bartenders.
Sugar spoons

All manner of petit fours and candied fruits. I sadly didn't get a picture of the doughnut tower.
Cakes and edible decorations by Nevie-Pie Cakes, Two Little Cats Bakery, Sarah Hardy Cakes, Cake for Breakfast, Carina's Cupcakes, Dan P Cartier, All Mine Patisserie (that's their facebook page, couldn't find a website), Lou Lou P's Delights (also facebook page), Rosalind Miller, Juliet Sears/Fancy Nancy Cakes, The Meringue Girls, Conjurer's Kitchen and Cakeadoodledo.

The Tasting House is open until Friday, I think, and the sugar is in supermarkets now.


Suelle said...

How many hours of work did all that take, I wonder? What an amazing experience!

Elly McCausland said...

That sounds incredible! I don't envy the resulting headache though!

Bettina Douglas said...

what an extraordinary event!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Suelle - close to 3000 hours of work apparently!

Elly - 24 hours later and it's almost under control. I haven't had a sugar binge like that since I don't know when!

Mother - it was amazing!

Caroline said...

Wow, that all looks absolutely stunning. So much work!

grace said...

ho. lee. cow. that's a food-lover's paradise!

Choclette said...

My goodness, I can hardly believe it. A fairy tale come true but enhanced tenfold. I'm picturing you enraptured, nibbling your way around the rooms - or perhaps it's me I'm imagining. Sounds like a fantastic exhibition of sugarcraft well worth going along to. I am truly envious.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Caroline - I was in awe of bakers!

Grace - and a diabetic's nightmare.

Choclette - that was pretty much me too. Although there were more things I didn't try than things that I did!


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