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Monday, 6 December, 1999, 10:01 GMT
The Queen of puddings

The Queen has reportedly spent almost 9,000 buying Christmas puddings from Tesco as festive gifts for her staff, having managed to negotiate a 2,000 discount.

The bulk order came after the UK-made puddings beat off competition from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason in a Buckingham Palace taste test, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Andrew Farquharson, assistant to the Master of the Royal Household, chose the 7.75 pudding as the best, and took a portion to the monarch herself for final approval.

The Queen is said to have approved the puddings in a taste test
The rich dessert, a heavy fruit pudding laced with brandy, is often eaten with brandy-flavoured butter, and is a staple of the traditional British Christmas dinner.

The 1,411 puddings will be re-wrapped in silver foil tied with a dark blue ribbon, and will bear the royal crest and a smaller then usual Tesco logo.

Along with a Christmas greeting card from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, they will be given as seasonal gifts to servants and staff at Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Balmoral and other Royal residences.

But the Queen will not enjoy the pudding for her own Christmas dinner which will, as usual, be prepared by her own kitchen staff.

The Times said the royally-approved desserts were being snapped up in droves by ordinary shoppers.

But The Sun, with tongue firmly in cheek, claimed the spendthrift sovereign missed out on a fortune in loyalty card points.

The paper said it was coming to The Queen's rescue by filling in a Tesco Clubcard application form on her behalf.

'Great honour'

The Sun's royal correspondent Charles Rae said "Mrs Elizabeth Windsor" was entitled to 9,000 Clubcard points, which would have been enough for a free weekend in Brussels.

A Tesco spokesman told BBC News Online: "It is a great honour that Buckingham Palace has chosen our finest Christmas puddings."

He said: "It's a new recipe this year and demand is very high.

"When we ordered them in the summer we ordered far too many because we knew word would get around about how good they were."

He said demand had been boosted by US tourists stopping off on their way to or from Heathrow airport, by journalists in central London and by a special offer in The Sun.

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See also:
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13 Nov 98 |  UK
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24 Dec 98 |  Health
Christmas puddings

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