Chocolate biscuit pudding(CBP). At some point, somewhere in the Ceylon of the previous century some colonial cook, or rather some colonial’s cook, or maybe it was a Colombar hostess, must have run out of chocolate mousse. Perhaps the guest list was off and there were suddenly too many mouths to feed. Being an inventive sort, however and not about to let his / her visitors suffer for lack of post-meal sweetness our cook took evasive culinary action and decided to pad out the mousse with a few filling layers of biscuits. Well that anyway is my theory as to the origins of this uniquely island and particularly Colombar dessert.
Whatever it’s origins it’s delicious – a thick, hopefully intensely alcoholic, buttery mousse slathered generously between layers of milk-dunked marie biscuits. Simple, but a surefire hit and its been keeping Lankans satisfied for generations. But, like so many oft-produced island classics – Lamprais, Ceylon Biryani, short-eats, it often gets mangled. You find some pretty horrific road-side, supermarket shelf and even swank hotel versions of a pudding that shouldn’t be hard to get right. Sometimes it degenerates into a near solid chocolate lump, the alcohol vanishes and there are times when either the chocolate or the biscuits are imaginary.
Still, after a bit of fumbling, we think we’ve reached the biscuity-grail. Decadence, is one of Colombo’s many home-based suppliers of diabetes-inducing (see wish, munchkin) confections, however their special is the CBP and it’s really pretty special. A rich but not heavy mousse, an intense and lasting chocolate hit, a fair lug of alcohol and biscuit perfection- not too mushy not too crunchy. It’s everything you could ask for in the city’s signature dessert and to add some variety to an old staple they also offer Baileys, Mocachino variants of the classic.
Really quite outstanding home-coked food and their killer apps is the value – Rs 1600 for a tray that serves 10. So for the cost of a couple of posh desserts at say Gallery Cafe you get enough of an equally delicious confection to feed your office, round off a dinner party or eat yourself into a food coma.
Warning while its incredibly tempting do not under any circumstances try and eat an entire tray yourself – the calories, the sugar, the discomfort the outright decadence, is likely to be overwhelming.