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The History of the Knickerbocker Glory

While Clara has been travelling between worlds and doing battle with the Mice Army, Fortnum's archivist Dr Tanner has been digging into the world of Fortnum’s to discover more about the history of the Knickerbocker Glory.

It's 1956. Sugar rationing is ending, a war torn country is on the road to recovery and - most joyous of all - Fortnum's is opening a new restaurant. The Soda Fountain is situated in the space that used to be for seasonal departments and became famous for its Christmas crackers before being the only part of the Fortnum's building that was affected by WW2 bombings. You may recognise that section by its other more current name: 45 Jermyn Street.

 

The restaurant was called the Soda Fountain because it had a fountain in it (with water!), and the menu was reminiscent of an exclusive American soda fountain. It was the era of coffee bars and soda fountains opening up all over London, to cater to the young and stylish. The Fortnum’s Fountain had many of the elements of the new soda fountains, but deliberately  presented them in a way that fitted in with the décor of the rest of the store. There was lots of chrome, but no plastic or melamine.

 

The Fountain was immediately hugely popular; people came to see and be seen. Celebrities of the day used it as a meeting place, and it was one of the most fashionable places to have pre and post theatre meals and drinks.

The Fortnum’s Soda Fountain had many of the elements of the new soda fountains, but deliberately  presented them in a way that fitted in with the décor of the rest of the store. 

Something in particular, however, left a big impression on visitors to Soda Fountain, and the country as a whole. The ultimate dessert - and a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the horrors of WW2 - that was introduced to Fortnum's was the Knickerbocker Glory. An "appetizing dish in the heart of the shopping centre", its popularity soared and soon came to be synonymous with the restaurant. 

 

The popularity of the pudding has not diminised. In fact, to this day this tower of tasty ice cream, fruit and meringue is still served at our The Parlour, arguably the spiritual successor to the Soda Fountain. But what is it that makes our Knickerbocker so tasty? It's the explosion of flavour that brings together vanilla ice cream, vegan strawberry ice cream, fresh pineapple and raspberries, homemade Italian meringue and - the most special ingredient - a lot of love.

 

But don't just take our word for it. Book a table at the Parlour today, and enjoy scoop after scoop of this delectable treat.

 

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