Sweet tooth

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

AFLOOD of nos­tal­gia washed over me when read­ing Au­gust 31’s Spec­ta­tor. It wasn’t so much Terry’s and Rown­tree that made my mouth water, but the good old Borders names of Haw­ick Balls and Jethart Snails.

The men­tion of Ber­wick Cock­les (Wm Cowe & Sons’ Gen­uine & Orig­i­nals that is, not the pow­dery im­i­ta­tions avail­able to­day) had a par­tic­u­lar res­o­nance with me, as my sev­eral times great­grand­fa­ther was, I be­lieve, the first man to make the hard-boiled pep­per­mint sweet in about 1801 for Cowe’s pre­de­ces­sor Robert Weather­head.

More re­cently, I came to know Terry Heapy, the last in the long line of Cockle mak­ers, af­ter in­ter­view­ing him for a re­search re­port. He re­tired in 2004, end­ing 203 years of near-con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion of Ber­wick Cock­les, in­ter­rupted, he said, only by the Sec­ond World War, when su­gar was ra­tioned and the Cockle maker was taken pris­oner by the Ger­mans. I of­ten asked Heapy about the se­crets of the age-old recipe, but, alas, ear­lier this year, he took it with him to his grave.

The iconic tin (above) fea­tured the in­scrip­tion ‘Pur­vey­ors to H. R. H. the late Princess Mary Ade­laide of Teck’. Cameron Robert­son, by email

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