Monday, 25 March 2013

Feast your eyes on this: Tate & Lyle's Tasting House

The Tate & Lyle Tasting House door
Last week I was lucky enough to be one of 50 people to win tickets to Tate & Lyle's Tasting House - a building furnished with sugar craft and cake. Created to celebrate the launch of a new range of Tate & Lyle 'taste experience' sugars, the Tasting House featured eight rooms with edible interiors created by 14 talented cake artists; culminating in a sum total of more than 2,000 hours of baking and 900 hours of decorating.

It's difficult not to become cliched when writing about this - it really was like a gingerbread house - with macaron banisters and sweet treats integrated seamlessly into the surroundings, more than once I overheard other visitors say things like: 'No, that's not cake, it's real' - only to discover they were, of course, wrong. On the train over, I did feel a little like Charile Bucket with his golden ticket, only this was so much better than the chocolate factory. Move over Willy Wonka - there's a new breed of confectioners in town - and I'm afraid they kind of kick your ass.

Each room in the Tasting House was inspired by a different world region, with one room to represent each new sugar in the range. Edible art was displayed alongside cakes for visitors to enjoy, demonstrating the flavour spectrum of the sugars used.

I was a little trigger happy at the Tasting House - there were just so many wonderful examples of edible artistry throughout the whole building, with a real spectrum of artistic styles - so be prepared for a very image rich post below....

Wooden spoon garland
Map of the tasting house

British inspired golden syrup sugar room:

Samson's lion - the iconic golden syrup logo recreated in cake

All of the sugars from the new range displayed for tasting

Intricately painted blue 'china' cake vase with sugar craft flowers
Caribbean inspired light muscovado sugar room:

Vanilla sponge treasure chest with sculpted sugar detail
The treasure chest with flash
The Mediterranean inspired light soft brown sugar room:

Cake cushions
Meringue kisses rug, by The Meringue Girls

Popcorn bathtub!

Guyanese inspired demerara sugar room:

Giant sea turtle cake

Barbados inspired dark muscovado sugar library: 

Cake shells - so incredibly real looking
The underside of one of the shells - proof they are made of cake!

The hallways:
Macaron banisters.....
Macaron banisters.....

South Pacific inspired golden granulated sugar room:

Easter Island head cake!
Mississippi inspired dark soft brown sugar room:

Solid chocolate gold painted baby head
5ft long rainbow cake

King cake

Mayan inspired golden caster sugar basement:

Human sacrifice?
Mayan fudge temple
The edible artistry on display at the Tasting House was created by the geniuses from: Nevie-Pie Cakes, Two Little Cats Bakery, The Meringue GirlsSarah Hardy Cakes, Cake for Breakfast, Carina's Cupcakes, All Mine Patisserie, Lou Lou P's Delights, CakeadoodledoRosalind Miller, Fancy Nancy Cakes and Conjurer's Kitchen - if you liked the images above, I recommend you follow them all.

For someone who bakes as frequently as I do, I have a very low tolerance for sugar. I definitely left the tasting house a little hyperactive, having over-indulged but still wishing I had eaten more. It was incredible experience and exceptionally inspiring.

Tate & Lyle's new range of sugars are designed for their subtlety - with tasting notes on the front of the packaging advising best use. I am really impressed by this - too often I think baked recipes replace flavour with sweetness- now we have access to a range of sugars which can give you the best of both worlds!

I'm so pleased to have been given the opportunity to visit such an innovative exhibition and will be keeping an eye on the culinary artists involved - I can't wait to see what they do next.


  1. Amazing! Thanks for posting about it. A bit gutted I couldn't go, but so glad you took so many photos!

    1. You would have loved it - it was brilliant :)