How did a humble Derbyshire farmer's son become the world's oldest Christmas pudding maker? Well, he began making a range of preserves and Christmas puddings from his mother's special recipes back in the late 19th century.
By using traditional ingredients and cooking methods, our Christmas pudding has the same delicious flavour as it did all those years ago. Of course, the origins of Christmas pudding are hundreds of years old, discover its story by taking a journey through history...More
THE PLUM POTTAGE
The first references to anything like a plum pudding is to a 'Plum Pottage' in the early 15th century, with ’plum‘ being a generic term for dried fruits. This rich broth of beef or mutton also included breadcrumbs, spices and wine and was eaten after the fast of Advent.
Previously, the only way to make puddings was by placing the ingredients in an animal‘s intestines and boiling. So it was a real relief for the squeamish when the Cambridge or ’College‘ pudding recipe replaced the guts with a cloth. It was convenient for even poor families as it could be boiled in a cauldron along with the meat, providing three dishes in one - broth, meat and pudding.
GOVERNMENT BANS PUDS
Oliver Cromwell‘s Puritan government bans Christmas puddings in an attempt to make the festive period a lot less festive. The rich ingredients are described as being ’unfit for God fearing people‘.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
After fears that festive celebrations were on the wane, Charles Dickens classic tale ’A Christmas Carol‘ plays a major role in reinventing Christmas as a family holiday with Christmas at the very heart of the celebrations. “…the pudding, like a speckled cannon ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stick into the top”.
At the height of the Victorian era, the Christmas pudding becomes the firm favourite of the Christmas menu it is today. It was around this time that the tradition of placing a silver coin (usually a 3d piece or a sixpence) into the mixture was established. The person finding it would get to keep the money with the promise of wealth for the coming year.
Sales of our Christmas puddings were so successful that we opened a small factory in Exeter Street, Derby and the Matthew Walker story begins...
As Christmas approaches, battle weary British troops on the Western Front receive plum puddings from home. Spurred by the festive spirit both sides put down their weapons and call a temporary Christmas Truce.
A CASE OF MURDER
Crime novelist Agatha Christie writes ’The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding‘ where a missing ruby that ends up in pudding at a Christmas dinner leads to murder case that Inspector Poirot must solve.
APPLES & CARROTS
With vine fruits scarce during World War II, the currants and sultanas in Christmas puddings are replaced by apples and carrots.
We opened our purpose built factory in Heanor, Derbyshire, where production of the Matthew Walker Christmas puddings remain to this day with 120 permanent staff.
The first Great Christmas Pudding Race takes place in Covent Garden, with teams skilfully balancing Matthew Walker Christmas puddings on a tray around an obstacle course to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Christmas puddings are shipped to the British troops serving in Afghanistan over the yuletide period.
GREAT TASTE AWARD
Launch ‘Matthew Walker – The Pudding’ which goes on to win a Gold Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Foods.
Matthew Walker stars alongside his good friend Father Christmas in the very first Matthew Walker Christmas pudding television commercial.
BBC Celebrity MasterChef winner Lisa Faulkner teams up Matthew Walker to help Britons enjoy a perfect Christmas. Pudding Race Covent Garden 4 December 2010.
Heston’s Hidden Orange Pudding launches in the UK, with demand so high that shoppers start selling the pudding on Ebay.
GLUTEN FREE RANGE
Matthew Walker develops Free From: Gluten Free Sponge puddings which are stocked by Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado.
Social media campaign launched in October 2016 on Facebook and Twitter.