The sweet trolley was the thing I looked forward to when eating out in the 70’s and 80’s. Like my Knickerbocker Glory story, I was still working my way back from dessert!
I can still see the waiter theatrically wheeling the trolley from one side of the restaurant to our table – I can hear the plates rattling and the wheels squeaking as he negotiated his way around the other dining tables! Then there were sighs from my fellow diners and I as he talked us through the options, having to repeat several of them again – always too much to take in the first time around.
The typical dessert trolley in the 1970’s contained a range of homemade desserts and sauces. The Black Forest Gateau, Sherry Trifle and fresh fruit salad were stalwarts, but, if you were lucky they featured more exotic delights such as Millefeuille, Bavarois, Rum Baba or Charlotte Russe, all topped of which a generous helping of single or whipped cream.
My father was particularly partial to part of the meal and, undecided, would plump for a little of each, whilst my mother would yet again claim to be on the Slimfast diet and just have fruit salad. I had my father’s appetite and his passion to try all things new.
Today, with more stringent health and safety rules, it is quite rare to see a dessert trolley in a restaurant. They have been superseded by individual desserts in chillers or a selection of mini desserts delivered to your table already plated. Neither of these options have the same fanfare, but it doesn’t half cut down on the wastage!
Further reading: Puddings trolleys should return to restaurants, Telegraph
Further viewing: ‘Is it on the trolley’ famous Victoria Wood sketch