Before Jack first took me up to Scotland some 20 years ago, long before the digital revolution, the only tablet I was familiar with was the kind taken in pairs with a glass of water when I could feel a migraine coming on. Back then, re-visiting his homeland of the Isle of Bute for the first time in over a year, there were two things on Jack’s must-eat radar. The first was square sausage and the second was tablet, both foodstuffs perplexing to my imagination and alien to my vocabulary and to my taste buds.
Jack didn’t have to wait long to try the square sausage of which he had waxed so fondly, his mum having stocked up for our visit, it was served for breakfast on our first morning. A vegetarian at the time, it would be many years before I experienced the savour of that home-made Lorne sausage from the local butchers but I have to admit, the smell of it under the grill served to make my Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages a bland disappointment that morning.
It wasn’t until we were leaving the island that Jack popped into a newsagent’s shop near the port in Rothesay and bought a packet of tablet and a small selection of sweeties from his childhood memories. To me the tablet looked like fudge and never a huge fan of fudge (it was often left in the chocolate box until all the rest had gone) I wasn’t excited to try it. A taste turned out to be, well, pretty much like fudge. Jack declared it an inferior brand and I remained unmoved by the whole experience.
From that day until last weekend, tablet and I have remained nothing more than casual acquaintances, our only bond being two fanatical devotees – Jack and our nephew, Liam. I didn’t participate much in the search for the best tablet in the Highlands and when I did, my conclusion was the same as it had been on my first taste. Fudge.
But when a selection of Mrs Tilly’s tablet and assorted products found its way to our living room last Friday, all that changed.
My first bite of the sweet treasure was into a small bar of traditional tablet. Unlike the specimen I had tried all those years ago, my teeth sank into a velvety soft texture which broke cleanly from the bar with not a crumb lost. Within seconds my tongue filled with rich, buttery nectar as the bite melted effortlessly. I waited until the last minute before swallowing, wanting to savour every last morsel of pleasure.
Finally, I got it. This was not fudge. This was the tablet Jack had wittered on about for so many years. It was all I could do not to dive into another bar, and another. But Jack and I are nothing if not disciplined and over the course of last week, only three small bars were consumed between us.
As I sit here on another ‘5:2 fast’ day writing this and remembering the sublime flavour of the rum and raisin fudge we tried the following night and the intense rush of the orange fudge two days later, both of which banished my hitherto indifference to the stuff into oblivion, I’m salivating dangerously close to drowning point. The rest of the box is safely closed away in the spare room, virtually under lock and key, out of sight but not out of mind until our Friday treat comes around.
I make no excuses for this blatant promotion of Mrs Tilly’s, this is seriously good stuff. You can order Mrs Tilly’s online and they deliver in beautifully packaged gifts. If you’ve got even a hint of a sweet tooth I dare you to try it. If you get seriously hooked you might want to order a copy of the 5:2 Fast Diet while you’re about it but I guarantee, it’s well worth it.
Incidentally, I am not on commission from either Mrs Tilly’s or from the 5:2 Fast Diet, just so you know.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+