The Christmas Gift Queen Elizabeth Gives to Her Entire Staff

published Dec 21, 2017
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Working for the royal family has some perks. Sure, Queen Elizabeth won’t let you cook with garlic, and you might find yourself having to hand-chop rabbit meat for her corgis — because she’ll send the dog food back to the chef if he tries to use a grinder — but every year the Queen gives her entire staff a special Christmas pudding as a holiday gift.

Christmas pudding is a holiday tradition in the U.K., and it’s typically eaten as dessert after Christmas dinner. There are many variations on the recipe, but generally the Christmas pudding is an alcohol-soaked cake with raisins and spices that’s aged for at least a month before serving. The alcohol keeps it from going bad during the aging process, and often they’re doused with brandy and set on fire, then the whole flaming dessert is carried to the table. It’s all very grand and festive.

Many families have their own variations on Christmas pudding, which they pass down and repeat year after year. Nigella Lawson soaks hers in sherry and uses vodka to flame it before serving. For every person on the Queen’s staff, the traditional family Christmas pudding is a gift from the Queen herself.

According to Hello Magazine, the specific pudding the Queen buys her staff is the Tesco Finest 12-Month Matured Christmas Pudding. That might be a bit of a surprise, because Tesco is a huge grocery chain with a reputation for having very good prices, but it’s not known for being particularly fancy.

The Queen used to give her staff Christmas puddings from Harrods, or from Fortnum & Mason, an ultra-swanky U.K. grocery chain with a royal warrant for serving the Queen. But those were quite pricey, so she reportedly switched to Tesco puddings to save money.

A one-pound Christmas pudding from Tesco costs $4. The same-sized pudding from Fortnum & Mason costs $14.68. Considering that the Queen buys about 1,500 of them a year, the cheaper puddings represent a big savings.

Have you ever tried a Christmas pudding?