Rice pudding sales surge as retro desert becomes ‘cool’

Rice pudding
Rice pudding
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Sales of rice pudding are soaring after the humble dessert enjoyed a trendy makeover.

The classic dish of sweetened rice and milk is the latest retro food to become a “foodie” trend, with versions appearing on restaurant menus and a shop in New York dedicated to rice pudding featuring in trendy comedy Girls.

Experts say rice pudding’s glamorous makeover has made it the “must-have” food of 2016.

Upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose reported that sales of rice pudding have risen by eight per cent year on year, while recipe searches on the firm’s website highlight the tendency towards flavour experimentation.

Online searches for the Stem Ginger and Orange Rice Pudding recipe are up 400 per cent year on year, Vanilla Rice Pudding with Bay and Toasted Almonds by 90 per cent and Rice Pudding with Raisin Custard by 300 per cent.

Waitrose executive chef Jonathan Moore said that with a visit to a Manhattan rice pudding-only shop recently seen on HBO’s Girls and Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social and Berner’s Tavern in London both re-inventing the classic dessert, this year is “all about whimsical reincarnations” of rice pudding.

He said sweet, savoury and embellished versions are becoming more “extreme” with options at The Rice Cream Shoppe in Greenwich Village including gluten free and vegan versions.

Dulche de leche, Pina Colada and rum raisin are just some of the available in Rice To Riches, Manhattan’s most famous rice pudding venue.

Mr Moore added: “The simplicity of rice pudding makes it the perfect base for a huge range of flavours.

“It can cope with rich, intense ingredients like dark chocolate or truffle, and works well really well with tangy, citrus ingredients too.

“This trend shows it doesn’t matter how humble the beginnings - a bit of imagination and experimentation is all it takes to make a dish cool again.”