The joy of a good bakery, like the joy of a good bookshop, never ages. They might have become more artisan, more European, more generally fancy, but at the heart of a good bakery is that same ‘nose-pressed-to-the-glass, nostrils heady with the scent of sugar feeling that captured us as children, eyes like dinner plates and hands ready to grab.
In our August issue, we’ve featured a few of the most inspiring bakeries in the world, taken from Europe’s Best Bakeries by Sarah Guy. And we have to say it’s an awe-inspiring collection, including The Earth’s Crust Bakery at Castle Douglas, pictured above. It took us right back to our earliest memories of bakeries, and - we’re going to give away our age here - we’ve collated below a few of our favourite classic bakery goods. There’s nothing civilised about most of them. Each is a frivolous carb- and sugar-fuelled mini feast. Exactly as it should be.
Join us on a trip down memory lane. And leave us a comment at the end of the blog reminding us of any bakery goods you enjoyed as a child that we might have forgotten…
Traffic light biscuits
Oh the indulgence! Two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together, the top with three tempting holes cut out, through which oozed not one, nor two but THREE differently coloured fruit curds (red, yellow and green obviously). We still have no idea what flavour each colour was meant to denote. Presumably strawberry, lemon and… erm… lime? Apple? Green flavour? It matters not. The point was that buttery shortbread crumbling beneath your gappy-toothed bite and nearly falling to the floor, but for the curd that kept it safely anchored to the main biscuit.
Mysteriously sold all year round, these Easter treats were usually assembled from Cornflakes or Shredded Wheat, crushed and mixed with melted chocolate, dolloped into paper cases and decorated with tiny eggs. And none of your posh Mini Eggs of today, oh no. These eggs were of the 1980s ‘pure sugar, encased in a shell, again of pure sugar’ variety. Just looking at them made your teeth ache. What’s not to love?
Ice cream cone ‘cakes’
We struggled to remember what the deal was here but we remember jealously coveting them, that’s for sure. Askey’s wafer cones, filled with some sort of sticky sugary goo, that bonded any two surfaces quicker than Bostick. We think it was meant to represent ice-cream. The whole thing was topped with Hundreds and Thousands - the proper sugar strands, not your modern, ball-style nonsense. We clearly remember that they were created in a rainbow colourway, with multicolured sugar strands atop a pink sugar goo and there was also a chocolate version, with a chocolate goo topped with only dark chocolate sugar strands (for the more classy and discerning eight-year-old, presumably).
Take off the icing and you basically have a plain, unassuming roll, but lined up in the bakery window, iced fingers were pure joy. There’s something deliciously simple (and almost unashamedly cheeky) about icing a plain bread roll and calling it a cake. We admire this.
Not just for Halloween, these crumbly creatures of the night seemed to be on bakery shelves all year round. Swirls of wonky meringue with chocolate drop eyes and a demeanour that would terrify an apple puff.
We’re taking a very specific type of sticky here. Not your average iced bun (we’ve covered those), and not a Chelsea bun either (no glace cherries here). Proper sticky buns were simple fruit buns made sticky with some sort of mysterious glaze and tiny crystals of sugar that were inexplicably perfect cube shapes. What WERE those things? Anyway, inexplicably sticky buns were a classic and have somehow not been the same in the last 30 years at least. And we still don’t know where that mad square sugar came from. Intriguing!
Do leave us memories of your forgotten bakery goods below. We can’t wait to read them. Pick up our August issue to read more about some of the best bakeries in the world.