Thursday, 27 May 2010

Lamingtons are Queenslanders!

It's time to set one thing straight, to wave off the contenders and just say it how it is - lamingtons are Queenslanders!

Scorned at high teas but the backbone of sporting club fundraising, lamingtons – the cube of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and swathed in coconut – are an Australian institution. And like all famous faces, many lay claim to its origin including Harlaxton House in Toowoomba and even New Zealand.

But when it comes to the lamington, QUT historian and Old Government House curator Dr Katie McConnel says there is no dispute.

A quirky aspect of Queensland Week is the celebration of what is today considered an Australia icon – the lamington. It’s caused many debates including Old Government House in Brisbane, all claiming to be the birth place of the lamington that is the national cake of Australia.
”It was definitely first concocted at Old Government House by French chef Armand Galland,” Dr McConnel says.

”It’s all in the use of the chocolate and coconut and because Lady Lamington herself credited Armand Galland with this popular cake.

”Monsieur Galland came to Australia with Lord and Lady Lamington in 1900 and cooked for them until they left in 1901. The lamington was born of necessity – it was Monsieur Galland’s answer to the perennial problem of unexpected visitors coming up the path. He pulled from the pantry day old French vanilla sponge cake, chocolate and coconut and whipped up the lamington.

”It proved so popular that Lady Lamington was inundated with requests for the recipe and thus Galland named his delectable treat in honour of his patrons the Lamingtons.

”There is no doubt it would have been at Government House that a lot of unexpected guests turned up. Lord and Lady Lamington did go to Toowoomba in the summer to escape the heat but they received most visitors at Government House.

”Monsieur Galland accompanied the Royal Tour to New Zealand in 1901 and would have cooked lamingtons in New Zealand but that was after the Lamingtons had gone back to England.”

To celebrate this icon and Queensland Week, people can join Katie McConnel at Queensland’s first vice-regal residence, Old Government House to enjoy a demonstration by one of Merlo’s specialty chefs on how the Lamington is made.

Once you have tasted this traditional cake people can stay and listen to Old Government House’s Curator, Dr Katie McConnel talk about how the Lamington came about and for whom it was named.

Old Government House Courtyard (Merlo Tearoom)


Sunday 30 May, 10.00am - 11.30am
Wednesday 2 June, 10.00am - 11.30am

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