Sunday, April 11, 2010


Have you ever had treacle? Treacle has been a mystery to me for years--it seems to exist as a part of everyday life in practically every British book ever written, and yet I'd never once seen treacle for sale here in the States. That changed today when I spotted a can of Heinz-brand treacle sponge pudding on the shelves of my local Treasure Island grocery store. I immediately bought a can, and tonight I set about demystifying treacle. Enjoy the pictures!

Apparently Heinz makes more than just tomato products. I feel like putting the words "Microwaveable!" on a metal can is a lawsuit waiting to happen the first time someone blows up their microwave.

There's a right way and a wrong way to open this can??

This...doesn't look very promising.

Ah hah! The order matters because sponge pudding is normally served with treacle on top. It is canned with the treacle on the bottom, so you have to remove the top of the can, flip the whole thing over, and then remove the bottom so that the treacle ends up on top. The pudding has to be canned upside down relative to the can, but that makes more sense than putting "Open this side first" on the bottom, where no one will ever look.

The instructions on the can say to place a microwave-safe bowl over the cake and then nuke it.

The pudding after microwave treatment.

Final verdict? Not bad. The treacle has a flavor somewhere in the neighborhood of molasses, maple syrup, and honey (which isn't surprising, I suppose). It's probably closest to molasses, but it's not as strong. This probably wasn't the epitome of good treacle given the ingredients listed on the can, but it was tasty nonetheless. I probably wouldn't buy it again, since this little 10-ounce can cost me $5.50, but I'll be on the lookout for the real stuff if I'm ever in Britain.

Side note: Treasure Island, where I bought this can, is a wonderful grocery chain local to Chicago. It's kind of like a thrift store or an antique shop: it's poorly organized, everything is jumbled together, but you can find stuff there you won't see anywhere else, and you'll stumble upon something new every time you visit (thanks to Amanda for the appropriate simile). I highly recommend a trip to your local TI to anyone who lives in the Chicago area but hasn't visited one yet.