Going out for Champagne and dessert is the new trend in socialising, apparently.
Of course, anyone who follows me knows this sort of behaviour is something I’ve long been advocating.
I’m not for a minute suggesting I was ahead of the game, but I tell lots of my clients about the beauty of the chocolate and fizz party – it’s one of my weight loss tips to crack open something bubbly with your favourite chocolates or pudding, because making an occasion of a treat, and making it occasional, helps you move away from a daily – often rather disappointing – sugar fix.
Having a glass of something you love allows you to really celebrate food (whether you’re on your own or in a group) and can help with weight loss for several reasons.
In my book, How To Retrain Your Appetite, I talk about the dessert-only meal. You can hear more on what I have to say about it, here, when I was interviewed by Mail Online, and here in Fabulous in The Sun.
Making an occasion of your favourite ‘treats’ means you’re not indulging in secret, and that sends powerful messages to your brain. There is no shame in eating delicious food. So celebrate it.
I also tell clients who struggle with managing their sweet tooth to try the odd pudding-only meal and they’re amazed by how much it helps them put the joy back into food after years of trying to lose weight.
If what you really want to eat is a dessert, but instead you have a savoury meal, the craving for the sweet food may still be there. So there’s absolutely no reason (if your health allows it) not to skip the main course every once in a while. Or eating your dinner at home, then popping out for a drink and something sweet, is a lovely way to start the weekend.
The key is to have a treat that gives you peak pleasure. So cut the serving you’re given in half (unless it’s already a mini-dessert) and give half to your companion. Or take it away with you – lots of places now don’t bat an eyelid at being asked to box half of it up for you for another time. Then focus mindfully while you’re eating and you’ll have an occasion to remember and savour. The memory of it will itself give you a warm glow days later – extra calorie-free pleasure!
I know someone who invites all her friends out for ice cream on her birthdays, instead of a sit-down meal. You’re never too old for the ice cream parlour!
She says she got bored with long, three-course meals for every celebration, and wanted to cut to the chase and get to what, to her, is the best bit – the dessert.
Last year, chef Albert Adrià opened a dessert-and-Champagne restaurant, Cake and Bubbles, in Hotel Cafe Royal in Soho.
Hopefully we’ll see more businesses following this fun concept across the rest of the UK.
Because from sticky toffee pudding to raspberry ice cream sundaes – all puddings taste better with a kick of bubbles on the side.
It doesn’t have to be Champagne, of course. Cava or prosecco will do the trick just as well. Or a refreshing elderflower and tonic if you want something non-alcoholic.
And you can save money and enjoy the experience at home, on a budget. How about a tinned steamed jam pudding to bring back childhood memories? Just add a grown-up touch with some locally-made sparkling wine.
In the meantime, I’ve put together three places in Cardiff, Bristol and London, where I practice, to get your pudding and fizz fix…
Pitch, Mill Lane, city centre, Cardiff
Order a slice of the Biscoff cheesecake, or Key Lime Pie. Both sensational puds to have with bubbles, and all very reasonably-priced. They serve prosecco by the glass, here, and Laurent Perrier by the bottle. Try and get a table outside.
The Ivy, Clifton, Bristol
Milk chocolate truffles with a liquid salted caramel centre, come at just £3.50, here, one of my favourite restaurants in Bristol, and where I often take clients for an Appetite Retraining session. Pair it with one of the 14 sparkling wines.
Pollen Street Social, Mayfair, London
Bronte pistachio soufflé, with 70% chocolate and Madagascan vanilla ice cream might be on the upper end of the budget, at £14, but the menu does come with a Michelin star. And you could always even things out by ordering just half a bottle of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
Do get in touch with your favourites. And, while we’re on the subject, do let me know what you call it. Is it pudding? Dessert? Afters? Sweet. I’d love to hear from you!