Puddings that transformed a community
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting down to a slice of delicious Adamstown Pudding Kitchen pudding, with its famous moist consistency and full flavour, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d gone to heaven if only for a few minutes. Little wonder they’re recognised as one of Australia’s finest gourmet puddings.
It’s a bonfide Christmas miracle, and it happens every year at Adamstown around July, when the committed volunteers start producing their renowned Christmas Puddings for all comers including orders for corporate gifts. By Christmas this year they will have mixed and cooked around 8,500 puddings to sell locally at markets and from the Pudding Kitchen shopfront, and ship to places far and wide.
In 1971, armed with her great grandmother’s recipe, a member of the Adamstown Uniting Church set about making puddings in her home kitchen to raise proceeds for a new Sunday school at the Tower Methodist Church. They were an instant hit and by 1979, the Church had purpose-built a kitchen that would become known around the world as the Adamstown Pudding Kitchen.
Jocelyn Harvey is the chairperson of the Kitchen. She’s been a member of the Church for longer than she can remember. Not surprisingly, there has been much change over the decades both within the Church and the Kitchen.
“Today we have a full commercial kitchen with a full-time supervisor, four paid staff and a large contingent of volunteers. The kitchen meets all the council and government health regulations and complies with the health and safety standards. A far cry from its early days in the basement of the Church,” recalls Jocelyn.
To meet Christmas demand, pudding making starts in July. But the Kitchen operates all year round. They sell their puddings at local markets and more recently, have started filling global orders via their website. The Kitchen is also expanding its line of products. “We’re experimenting at the moment with sauces and brandy butter. We’re always on the lookout for new possibilities”, explains Jocelyn.
While the Kitchen still draws on the tradition of its ‘secret’ recipe, today the business has transformed from its early days, contributing around $60,000 a year to the Church’s outreach programs. “The whole emphasis now is making sure we run a business. And of course, we’re like all organisations — we’re an aging population and we have to plan for the day when we don’t have as many volunteers as we have now. And while we do offer work experience to volunteers who are seeking work, we have to look at marketing and promotion in ways that don’t rely quite so heavily on volunteers,” said Jocelyn.
“I love the journey toward Christmas with all the activities we have going on at Adamstown and the Pudding Kitchen is an integral part of the community,” says Rev. Dr Rod Pattenden of the Kitchen and all the community events that help bring the Church to being an integral part of the local community, one delicious pudding at a time.
(This story was first run in Insights Christmas issue 2014)