Asking an antipodean to describe a lamington is like asking a pre-coffee person to describe a dream. It’s childhood weekends in the sunshine, filled with laughter and your mum snatching a second one out of your hand. It’s spending time with your aunts & grandma on sleepy winter mornings all cosied up with tea. It’s popping to the local bakery with your Dad, on the hunt for a pie and something sweet to get you through a busy day. It’s sending your little brother into the neighbourhood cafe with $5, and him coming out with a fistful of cakes and $10 because the owner adores his dimples. [Disclosure: I was gifted lamingtons by the newly launched Radio Lamington crew.]
At its heart, it’s an individual sponge square, cut through with jam, rolled in chocolate icing and dappled with coconut. But, actually, lamingtons are so much more than that.
It’s memories, it’s family, it’s ingrained in you. It’s a combination of simple flavours that encapsulate so much – enough that when you’re adventuring in Europe, when both you and your Aussie friend discover a lamington style chocolate in a local Hungarian supermarket, you buy enough that the checkout operator raises an eyebrow. And then consider dashing back for more. [Full disclosure: we went back again the next day and stuffed our suitcases full.]
That’s a lamington.
The Aussies have claimed it as their own invention – let’s not argue here (it’s my blog afterall), but we’ll agree to disagree on that and who invented the pavlova. What I do know for sure, is that it’s an almost indescribable taste of home, that expats crave almost as much as hugs and the pleasure of not wearing shoes 23.5 hours a day. (The 0.5 is going to your local bakery for provisions, obviously.)
As ever I slightly digress – it’s the taste of home that caught me by surprise, and led to this ourpouring on the screen, my cursor attempting to convey some of the joy in happening upon a favourite taste of childhood.
The Daisy Green crew have been incredibly busy during lockdown, giving out over 30,000 tastes of deliciousness (fun fact: over a third of London’s paramedic crew are antipodean, and many more of us expats have infiltrated the NHS) to hardworking teams in hospitals all over London.
Somehow, I honestly don’t know how, they’ve also taken the time to develop a litany of luxurious lamington flavours teasing the tastebuds, honouring and diverging from the classic chocolate. By the complete power of kismet, my parcel landed on my doorstep on a day that I was feeling the full distance from home, and we gladly opened the beautifully beribboned box. Within its depths, 6 lamingtons nestled – cheekily wrapped in logo tissue paper – ready for us to get excited over.
Now, there’s a reason that I’ve taken this long in the blog to get to the taste – I wanted to really convey how much lamingtons mean to the antipodean psyche – a bakery at home is very much judged by it’s pie and the sweet selection it offers (ok, and the array of soft drinks, hello Nippy’s Iced Coffee.) My family is known to desert a bakery for years based on a below-par lammo.
Don’t even get me started on the British lamington recipe that recommends you add grated potato. I don’t even know what to say about that travesty.
Back in the present day, in London, in my beribboned box that arrived at my door, in addition to the classic chocolate, the Daisy Green/Radio Lamington crew had also added 5 other flavours for us to try – dessert riffs on the classic which I eyed up with equal measure of trepidation and delight.
What if I like the variations – would I still be allowed to live in Aussie on my NZ Passport?
What if the variations overshadowed the classic?
What if my husband stole the entire salted caramel lamington that I’d offered to him, pretending not to understand that I was only actually offering him a single bite with the words ‘no, no, enjoy all of it’ *LAZER EYES*?
What. If. They. Weren’t. Very. Nice. [Well, actually, that’s an easy answer – I would have surrendered the origin to the Aussies and they never would have made it to my blog & socials. Fact.]
The thing is, I’ve been frequenting the Daisy Green cafes for donkeys years
, and based on their banana bread alone, I knew I was in safe patisserie hands. We pulled out the classic first – the very high bar that all subsequent iterations are judged by, and I’m so glad to say that it is delicious. Perfectly fluffy sponge, jam with the right ratio of pique, a robe of delectable chocolate coating, scattered with coconut.
*whispers* actually, they were all delicious *hangs head in expat shame*
I’m kidding. We came to these foreign shores to explore new places and try new things – and the salted caramel lamington is a dessert experience. The rainbow is scrumptious, the lemon & yuzu a zingy, coconutty delight, the red velvet went down very well with an elevenses cup of coffee and the tiramisu was a triumph.
The classic is still my favourite – but like the Simon and Garfunkel original song Sound of Silence, the heavy metal Disturbed cover – in this laboured, slightly disjointed metaphor, the salted caramel – is a new favourite. I’m beyond curious to try their Golden Gaytime flavour – an ode to a very popular Aussie ice cream (British translation: Ice Lolly.)
They’re a lovely gift *cough* for yourself *cough*, or perhaps a delectable birthday treat – especially if you’re an expat aching for home but stuck in London. And the packing they come for is beautifuly executed. Oh, and did I mention that the Daisy Green crew are gifting a box of Lamingtons for every box that is sold to the hardworking NHS crews around London?
Have you tried lamingtons? Which flavour interests you the most?