If anyone were to write my biography and not mention bakewell tarts anyone buying the book would have a right to claim a full refund and a bonus cash hand-out for gross inaccuracy. Indeed under the circumstances you might as well be writing about someone else if you believe you could write out my life story and not mention a true heavenly gift sent just to bless this poor, meek and humble individual.
There are treats and then there are treats that go far beyond the description. They transcend the very concept of a goodie. They are in a pantheon of their own striding far above mere trifling sweets and treats that tickle the tastebuds of mortal man. These fine eating sensations come but infrequently in one’s existence. Once it is ascertained, once it is placed within one’s sphere of influence the life one lived before is no longer the same. Mediocrity is no longer a valid alternative. The stakes have changed. This is a whole new ball game.
Yet this in itself only begins to describe the euphoric experience of indulging in a cherry bakewell tart. At this stage it is important to state quite clearly that I am referring to a CHERRY bakewell tart. There be bakewell tarts and bakewell slices. There be small ones, there be big ones, there be mega jammy ones and there be mega pastry ones. They are indeed noble desserts in their own way – however the cherry makes the difference. Yes that slice of cherry that adorns other sweets and cakes finds its home on the top of the bakewell tart. Nowhere does it reside more resplendent, nowhere is its purpose in life consummated than in its role in the collaborative effort for which it gives its name at the start.
Consider this figure of beauty. The outer shell of pastry, not too thick acting as the high tower and guard for that which is on top and that which is within. Upon softly biting down on the crusty edges one tastes the loving layered icing and on further delving deeper there is the ham itself. Now here’s a true story – it really is true. In most other walks of life I have no time for jam. My daughters be loving their jam on toast and the occasional jam-filled sandwich. My daughters be exulting in that all day and all night. Even me good lady wife is not averse to a jam toast start to her day. I am completely nonplussed by the whole thing. I will not so much as have a cheeky little finger swipe of the stuff. Yet a wonderful metamorphosis takes place once the jam finds its rightful place at the heart of the bakewell tart. Herein is the delight, herein is the joy that one may embrace in one’s eating experience the joyous icing and then the sweet jam as one inextricably entwined – together forever … or at least until I’ve finished eating it. Oh what a glorious taste – oh what a glorious thought.
The journey does not end there for the true connoisseur of the experience would have edged around the cherry itself, gently nibbling away around the ramparts, careful not to breach the environs of the cherry until at last all surrounding features have been removed, and there it is the small under-pastry, the jam, the supporting icing and the cherry nestled carefully between the thumb and index finger. Held aloft to celebrate one’s greatest achievement in digesting sweets. And then in the mouth it goes.
Some have argued that we experience hell on this earth. I know what these people mean for there have been times when I’ve had to go for a week without a cherry bakewell tart. It is times like those in which I really empathise a great deal with those going through their own personal hell. It must be so traumatic and horrific to endure without the comfort of this most divine of dessert gifts. I shudder even now at the thought of those poor unfortunate creatures who do not have a collection in their cupboard at home. It is even more of a travesty when a few members of our human species states that they do not even like bakewell tarts. Surely this is in itself an indicator of how tragically we have fallen from the standards set for us in enjoying all of life.
Thus while we still have it, let us treasure the cherry bakewell tarts. Whether it’s the store’s own or a brand name unlike other goods, maybe you’ve even made it yourself, it matters relatively little from whence it came. Just as long as it came, that be all the difference we need contemplate. Just as long as it is with us, to sweeten us, to delight us, to thrill us, to enthrall us. Just as long as it came – we need ask for nothing else. This marks the cherry bakewell tart as a more than worthy sponsor of this blog.