What I love most about bread is that everywhere in the whole world (almost) has it, but it is never, ever the same. Indians have naan, Americans have good old white sliced, Germans have rye or, one of my contenders for most favourite word in the world, pumpernickel – everybody’s got their own. I ALSO can’t get enough of how many ways you can use our fine floured friend; toasted, sandwiched, French toasted, in sauce, as stuffing, to put over your eyes during a facemask instead of cucumber (just me?). The possibilities are endless.
But it has to be said, without a doubt, that taking bread, the most glorious of carbohydrates, covering it in sugar, smooth, loving custard, adding chocolate and spices and baking till puffy and golden brown – just how I like my men – is something of a gift from above. Move over Manna from Heaven, all we want is pudding divine.
This shop in San Francisco was something of a ‘stumbled-upon’ moment, and not in the internet search engine way. Walking down by the Mission Dolores part of San Fran, a window cracked open, with Pinterest level cutesy décor and a selection of toppings ranging from nuts to jimmies to marshmallows and everything in between, all separated in childhood memory-inducing little metal tubs, was too much to resist. At first we thought this was a super edgy ice cream parlour, with hand written scrawls telling us the flavour of the week, but it was actually bread pudding. BREAD. PUDDING. All different flavours, scooped up into balls and topped with all the sprinkles and sauce you could possibly think of that would taste nice together. Which, turns out, is almost EVERY flavour together. It is really a challenge to not make a Chocolate Chip bread pudding with raspberry, caramel and chocolate fudge sauce, tip topped off with hazelnuts, minimallows and Butterfingers not taste bloody fantastic. Believe me.
Much oohing and aaahing came next as well as a slightly bemused and, frankly, confused shop assistant wondering why we were so enthralled by the idea of pudding…TO GO. Grace, though, was still convinced it was ice cream, (and to be fair, the scooping action would lead you to think this) but it was BRRREEEADDD PUDDINGGG! It was also, delicious. It took me more than a good few minutes to choose my flavour, mind, given that Maple Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Rum & Raisin and Tutti Frutti were all on offer, but I settled decisively and delectably on White Chocolate and Raspberry, with raspberry sauce, sprinkles and marshmallows – what else?
The pudding was softer than a kitten’s ear (to paraphrase the latest episode of ‘Girls’) and clung to your teeth after each teasing mouthful. Tangy, super sweet, soft, chewy, crunchy – I’m really struggling to be coherent here, it was just that good. And eating it with a plastic spoon, wandering around in the glorious sunshine? What could be better?! Bread pudding, you are a hero among desserts. We salute you.