Tunnock's (and the apostrophe is intended, grammar fans), for the uninitiated, is a Scottish institution. Generations of Scottish school children have trotted off to school with a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer in their lunch box, and tea with a Tunnock's Teacake is a regular ritual for many a Scot.
I've been desperate to go and see the factory in Uddingston ever since I read about it in this book, (a great choice if you're looking for a quirky guide to Scotland, by the way). And today I finally got my chance. The company is still very much family-owned, and they are kindly donating some teacakes and wafers to our school Christmas Fair this year. So, I jumped at the chance to go and collect them and get behind the doors of the factory. Yippee! I was beside myself with excitement.
And let me tell you, it is a proper biscuit factory - just what you'd expect from reading Roald Dahl. I only made it as far as reception (the waiting list for the factory tour is a year long), but it was full of lovely friendly staff and had the most insanely brilliant display cases, full of wee models made out of various Tunnock's biscuits.
Here is a helicopter made of teacakes:
Here is Andy Murray in caramel wafer form:
And here, for some inexplicable reason, is a cat with a teacake on its head.
Across the road there is a bakery (which apparently runs at a loss, but they just like having it), with a little tea room in the back selling the usual cafe fare, along with the whole Tunnock's range - including all sorts of exotica that you don't usually see in the supermarket (Florida orange wafers, Meringues, and Cream Wafers for example) as well as the better-known Caramel Logs and Wafers, Snowballs and Teacakes. The front window is stuffed with yet more of the strange little models. It is one of the most wonderfully eccentric places I have ever been, and cheered up an extremely wet Monday morning.
I was a little late for breakfast at the cafe today, but the tea was proper builder's tea (see the picture atthe top), and the presence of bacon rolls on the menu will lure me back very soon. Like I need an excuse. Mug of strong tea, bacon roll, Tunnock's Caramel Log. That there is a pretty perfect breakfast, despite the conspicuous absence of any of my 5-a-day.
Chocolate is more or less a vegetable, no?