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Christmas pudding: why there’s a good chance the one you'll be eating today was made in Derbyshire

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Today, many of us will be sitting down for dinner and tucking into a bit of Christmas pudding – that’s if any of us have room for dessert.
And, if you have gone for the traditional Christmas pud, there is a very good chance that it will have been made right here in Derbyshire.
The Matthew Walker factory in Heanor is the oldest Christmas pudding-maker in the world.
Founded in 1899, the business now supplies 24 million puddings a year to major supermarkets across the country. These include Aldi, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Asda, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons.
Also among the firm’s clients is Marks and Spencer, which sells more than 1.4 million Christmas puddings each year across the UK – all of which are produced at the Matthew Walker factory.
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In fact, M&S has been getting its puddings from the Heanor firm for the past 12 years.
This Christmas, Matthew Walker has produced 10 different seasonal puddings for M&S, including two new flavours – the Intensely Fruity Cranberry and Prosecco Pudding and the Melting Belgian Chocolate and Toffee Sponge Dome.

Matthew Walker’s Christmas pudding chef David Sanderson
Also among the products are more traditional puddings including a Vintage Luxury Matured Christmas Pudding, which has been aged for 12 months, as well as wheat-free and dairy-free options.
David Sanderson, who is a Christmas pudding chef at Matthew Walker, said: “Puddings are an essential part of British Christmas time so we work really hard each year to create new and exciting flavours to complement the traditional puddings in our range.

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“This year, alongside our traditional and vintage fruit puddings, we launched two new exciting flavours, which offer customers a modern twist on the classic dessert.
“We work alongside M&S all year to develop these amazing flavours to provide customers with the very best selection of Christmas puddings.”
Claire Hodgson, cake developer at M&S, said: “Our customers love our traditional puddings with rich fruits, brandy and port but we’ve also seen a demand for puddings with a more modern twist.”
Five Fascinating Christmas Pudding Facts

Matthew Walker has been making Christmas puddings since 1899 – but the dessert actually dates back to the 14th century
1. Christmas pudding originated as a 14th-century porridge called “frumenty” that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.
2. By 1595, it had changed into more of a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs and dried fruit and given more flavour with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650 – but, in 1664, it was banned by the Puritans.
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3. In 1714, King George I re-established Christmas pudding as part of the Christmas meal. By Victorian times, Christmas puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.
4. One superstition says that the pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.
5. Putting a silver coin in the pudding is an age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it. The coin traditionally used was a silver sixpence. The closest coin to that now is a 5p piece.
Source: Derby Telegraph