One of our regular lamington tasters has embarked on an African adventure. Just when we were beginning to doubt her dedication to the humble lamington, she surprised us with this wonderful account of finding a lamington in Uganda.
Lamingtons turn up in the most surprising places!
On Sunday morning I visited the Backpackers on Mengo Hill in Kampala to meet a friend and start our road journey to Lubanda (about 145 kilometres from Uganda’s capital Kampala, and home of the wonderful HUG project – check out this fantastic community development project at http://www.hug.org.au/). Not only did I find Sue, a talented sonographer from Brisbane, who was coming to volunteer at the health clinic, I also found a delicious looking plate of lamingtons. It turns out the backpackers is run by an Australian ex-pat, who clearly understands the culinary importance of the lamington, and provides it as an offering to expand the gastronomic experience of international travellers in Uganda.
I took the opportunity to purchase one lamington, and travelled with it to Lubanda on by a mix of tarmac and dirt roads, wrapped in a single piece of aluminium foil.
Firstly, the lamington travelled incredibly well. It arrived in one solid piece, which is a small miracle in itself given some of the road conditions. The sponge (if you can call it that) was relatively firm, an attribute that was obviously a benefit for travel, but not necessarily demonstrating the kind of light fluffy consistency we have come to expect from a good lamington.
Indeed, Sue exclaimed the sponge was ‘denser than expected’, and concluded it was ‘more like a tea cake’. We all agreed it took a non-traditional form, with Helen adding ‘it took some chewing to get through’, and thought that perhaps the ’density was a problem’. David Ssemwongerere, a first time lamington eater, felt the sponge ‘was really heavy, and when you eat it you feel a little bit heavy’. Not exactly strong praise!
While we were not able to sing enthusiastically about the sponge/tea cake imitating sponge, the chocolate coating was a different story. Overall, it was delicious. Helen stated it was clearly of good quality, not chocolate confectionery that you might expect in Uganda. Meanwhile Sue described the chocolate as leaving a ‘lingering pretty good taste’. I agreed, the chocolate coating was by far the strongest attribute of this lamington, and in many ways made up for the questionable ‘sponge’. In addition to the delight of the chocolate, David, our first time lamington eater, also added ‘this stuff on the surface (the coconut), it helps it to have another taste, and when you eat it, it is so sweet’.
The lamington received some strong praise from Helen, a long time visitor to Uganda, who concluded the taste test by declaring that eating a lamington (of any quality) in Uganda was indeed a ‘luxurious experience’.
I agree, it was a divine gastronomic moment. And eaten alongside an African spiced tea and sour oranges made for a winning combination.
Overall, given the transport and other environmental conditions, our team of taste testers gave it a collective score of 8.3 out of ten.