No mercy in Bakewell for those who fake well

The IPKat failed to notice earlier in the month this piece in the Telegraph. It seems that a group of cake lovers, led by the owner of the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, are petitioning the EU (surely that should be DEFRA?) to grant the Bakewell Pudding protection as a geographical indication. The Bakewell consists of pastry, jam and almond filling and is reputed to have been created by accident in the 19th Century.

Said Ms Pheasy, owner of the shop:

"We want to protect the pudding's heritage...We are declaring what our recipe is, what goes into it, how it is made, taste, shape, colour, everything, just to specify this is how it is made."

The IPKat (whose culinary skills extend only to that other geographical cake - the Linzer Torte) isn't impressed. Every cake cookbook worth its salt has a recipe for the Bakewell (as does Mr Kipling), so it seems a bit late to specify the exact requirements of its 'heritage'. On a more philosophical note, surely evolution of the recipe is part of its heritage too?
No mercy in Bakewell for those who fake well No mercy in Bakewell for those who fake well Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Having been in Bakewell for high tea this Sunday, I wonder if the IPKat is a bit too swift to dismiss this one.

    Bakewell Puddings are quite distinct from Bakewell Tarts. The latter are much more widespread and include the Mr Kipling version. Bakewell Puddings, however, do seem to still be a local speciality and I am not aware of them being mass-produced elswhere. So there may still be hope for GI status.

    We will wait the outcome with anticipation.


  2. I defy the IP Kat to buy a Bakewell Pudding outside Bakewell. The rubbish peddaled by Mr Kipling is a completely different type of cake.

    As for the availability of recipes in cook books: so what? Are you suggesting a recipe must be secret to be protectable?

  3. No less authoritative a source than Wikipedia declares that 'Bakewell Pudding' is just another name for 'Bakewell Tart':

  4. Is Wikipedia that authoritative ? I think it has a better chance than the Cornish Pasty reported on some weeks ago.

  5. I remember seeing a local news article recently where the shop owner was talking about this, and confirmed that bakewell puddings are not the same as bakewell tarts.

  6. No, not that a recipe has to be secret to be protectable - rather than it's difficult to say that authentic versions can only be produced in a particular region if people have been churning things out under that name for decades in their kitchens from Southend to Dundee. I think the issue is even clearer when one things about Cornish pasties, which are more prolific I think (and don't have the pie/tart debate), but which have just been recommended to the Commission for GI .

  7. Wikipedia is plain wrong. It even has a picture of a Bakewell Pudding which clearly is completely different to the picture of the Bakewell Tart (actually a Cherry Bakewell).

    One difference, of the top of my head, is that the pudding is made with puff pastry.

    Perhaps someone could look in these recipe books and find out whether in fact the recipes are for tarts or puddings, regardless of the name given.

    Reminds me of all the fuss about Feta. Yorkshire Feta had been made commercially for quite some time before they were forced to change when the GI status came along. Some people even say it is better.

  8. The UK is a signatory to the Biodiversity Convention. Accordingly it is obliged by Article 8j thereof to:
    subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices

    Clearly the inhabitants of Bakewell are local, and clearly the traditional lifestyle of at least some of them involves knowledge and use of biological diversity (eggs, sugar, butter and almonds), probably sustainably. Accordingly the Government has a duty to respect, preserve and maintain Bakewell tarts and puddings. There is also a duty to encourage wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge . This is typically interpreted generously, as including the obligation to prevent such application without the approval (and involvement) of the holders.

    Previous wide dissemination of the knowledge is not generally accepted as an excuse for ignoring this provision. Rather it is seen as an aggravation of the wrong done to the holders of the knowledge.

    Accordingly I suggest that (as a minimum) the UK is obliged to support a GI for Bakewell tarts and puddings.


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