This Sunday – the last before Advent begins – is known in England as ‘Stir Up Sunday”, when, traditionally, those of us with time, energy (and skill) make our own Christmas puddings. It gets its name from the first sentence of the Anglican Church’s reading for the day, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded.”
It started as a sort of porridge in the 14th century, known as ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton, liberally studded with currants, prunes, wine and spices. By the end of the 16th century, the dish had become richer, with the addition of eggs, dried breadcrumbs, dried fruit, beer and spirits.
The history of Fortnum & Mason and the Christmas Pudding is rather long, but does not go back to as far as 1707. It is generally thought that the recipe was re-popularised in Britain by George I’s chef in 1714, who served it as a savoury dish. By the late 18th century, its current sweet nature had gained popularity. Indeed, one Swiss traveller wrote emphatically that you had to be English to like it.
Join us on a journey to discover the enduring relationship between Fortnum's and the much-loved Christmas pudding below.