Bompas and Parr: The Jellymongers

I’m sure many of you recognise the names, as (Sam) Bompas and (Harry) Parr are pretty hot in Londinium right now – their jelly has been on the menu at the brilliant Hawksmoor (swoon) for some time, they’ve hosted some of the coolest events in the city (think ‘flavour tripping’ – more of that in a minute) and just last week they provided jelly for one of the city’s emerging ‘underground restaurants’.

I was excited then, to find myself at B & P’s office/workshop/actually their house, chatting about blogging and jelly. It turns out the jelly mongers are completely charming, and patient – I got hopelessly lost as usual and it took three phone calls, repeated wandering of streets and eventually, Sam coming down to find me before I joined the team for a much needed brew.

Sam wins me over instantly by telling me he made my chilli and loved it. Clever man knows the way to a cook’s heart. He apologises many times for ‘the mess’, although seriously, it’s not that bad. Not when I think of my flat anyway. I assume that what he considers ‘mess’ is the collection of moulds, prototypes and pictures everywhere, which to me, an outsider, is just plain cool.

Bompas and Parr make jellies to order, in any conceivable shape or size. Harry Parr (previously an architect) draws up all the designs first on the computer and they are then made into plaster protoypes and plastic moulds. Weird and wonderful quivering masterpieces have included a jelly ‘airport’ and a jelly wedding cake – it seems that anything is possible in the world of wobble.

Sam tells me they have some of the wibbly stuff in the fridge right now, disappearing and returning with a heart shaped mould filled with clear jelly, gold leaf suspended inside (for a Market Kitchen Valentine’s Day piece – gin and tonic flavour).

This TV project seems relatively tame however, compared to some of B & P’s previous creations. It’s hard to miss a gingerbread replica of the gherkin standing tall in the corner of the room and a look around their website reveals a sandwich consisting of a crispy kreme donut filled with bacon – so naughty my heart misses a beat just looking at it. Last night they created the UK’s first ‘scratch and sniff cinema’, screening ‘The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover’ – where the audience enjoyed the scents of ‘rotting meat’ and ‘dusty books’. I had a sneak preview of the scents while I was there and seriously, they were pretty realistic.

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, Sam asks if I’ve ever tried ‘flavour tripping’. I reply in the negative. Flavour tripping, he explains is an experience made possible by a ‘miracle berry’ (Synsepalum Dulcificum), which makes ‘lemons taste like toffee and vinegar like sherry’. Bompas and Parr threw the UK’s first public flavour tripping party last year and when I ask how they got their mitts on this magical substance, Sam tells me how purchasing ‘supplies’ is easy as Bompas and Parr is a registered chemical research company. Of course it is.

In the midst of all this fascinating chatter, I ask possibly the most boring question you can ask a jelly monger – what’s your favorite flavour? Sam responds like a pro however, not a flicker of despair in his face at the sheer tedium of my conversation – it’s ‘strawberry and mint, made with fresh mint’. Sounds delicious, very summery. I imagine a different me, punting down the Isis, eating strawberry and mint jelly and quaffing champage.

Before I leave, Sam bestows upon me a small gift – six ‘flavour trips’ – as far as I know, perfectly legal. He gives me intructions to let one dissolve slowly on my tongue and then let the tasting commence. I have come close to taking one of these tablets three times now, and each time, something intervenes. Yesterday then, I went and bought myself a bag of lemons and a bottle of finest malt (vinegar). This weekend, thanks to the jelly mongers, I’m ready to trip like a teenager.

*top photo from the Bompas and Parr website.

Category: Lovely Food Producing People 22 comments »

22 Responses to “Bompas and Parr: The Jellymongers”

  1. Laura Zucchetti

    Flavour tripping!! That sounds like fun and something I would imagine Heston Blumenthal uses in his food to trick you. :) I might have to find me a party of this sort.

    Laura Zucchettis last blog post..Zucchetti’s perfect thin crust pizza

  2. Winesleuth

    Cool post! I think I remember reading somewhere that McDonalds has a lab in New Jersey where taste and smell scientists do research on this type of thing, chemically producing all sorts of weird and wonderful as well as mundane tastes and smells only to be put them to evil use!

    Winesleuths last blog post..Guilty pleasures

  3. Neil

    Mmmm Jelly, they certainly have the most fab moulds I’ve seen. Flavour tripping certainly is cool, I got my hands on some of the magic substance and had a lil shindig last night with it!

    Though as one half of the party were flavour tripping. . the other half thought it was weird to be tucking into lemons with such gusto!

    Neils last blog post..Pizza Bismarck

  4. Lizzie

    I bloody love jelly, and I probably would have asked just that very question! Those flavour trips sound like loads of fun.

    Lizzies last blog post..Guilty Pleasures Dinner Party

  5. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen

    Wow this sounds like such an awesome experience! You have been hanging out with some very cool people lately, Helen! :)

    JennDZ_The LeftoverQueens last blog post..Finest Foodie Friday- February 13, 2009

  6. Bellini Valli

    It would have been exciting to be a part of this:D

  7. Nicisme

    You do get to do some great fun things! That orange jelly is awesome!

    Nicismes last blog post..Chocolate – it’s the law!

  8. Syrie

    Great article! Wibbly is my new favourite word.

  9. Bron

    Wow Helen they are beautiful. What a fabulous thing to do.

    Brons last blog post..Creamed Winter Veg

  10. Johanna

    Wow that sounds bizarre – never heard of flavour tripping – and that mould of St Paul’s (actually I showed E who thought it looked like something he could walk into and I think for a moment he thought all his dreams had come true)

  11. Alex

    It’s about time good old jelly got the recognition it deserves!

    And re flavour tripping: Mr F and I have some pills from Christmas that we’ve been too scared to try – so far!

    Alexs last blog post..Blueberry Kulfi

  12. Andrew Webb

    They also do a rather splendid glow in the dark jelly, I’ve a video of it here
    and more on when I met them too here

  13. james

    Jelly wedding cake – now there’s an idea……..

  14. Kimberly @ the How to Cook Blog

    Wow…these creations of jello are really amazing! Unbelievable!

    Fabulous food blog!!! Kudos!

    I came by today to let you know about my Foodie Blog Carnival!

    You can get some PR or just have fun entering a blog post in the Foodie Blog Carnival!

    Entries are being accepted until Feb. 23rd! You can enter anything that has to do with food!

    I’ll provide a link and a mention to your post! So easy…So fun!

    I look forward to your entry:

    Kimberly Edwards :)

    P.S. Also, I just added you as a friends on MyBlogLog!

  15. aforkfulofspaghetti

    What fun! I read a piece about them in the paper a short while ago – I love the sheer frivolity of it all. As much as I love what they do with jellies, that gingerbread Gherkin is simply amazing!

    aforkfulofspaghettis last blog post..the big deal about Deal…

  16. Helen

    Winesleuth – Really? Is that true?! I am off to google…
    Andrew – Those videos are brilliant – thanks for the links. I am loving that glow in the dark jelly.

  17. Niamh

    OH! I’ve been waiting for this post ever since you told me you met them! We should have a jelly party…

    I love the sound of what they do. How interesting! I’m off now to check out their website :-)

    Niamhs last blog post..Brunch Baked Eggs

  18. foodrambler

    Hey Helen, I love these guys! I only picked up one flavour trip from the scratch ‘n’ sniff film, but like you haven’t found the right opportunity to take it yet – maybe tomorrow?!

    foodramblers last blog post..scratch ‘n’ sniff valentine

  19. cambridge punting

    Wow that sounds bizarre – I love jelly.

    Thanks for the article!

  20. Esther

    jotta went down to Carnaby Street to experience Bompas and Parr’s latest spectacle: a room filled with vaporised gin and tonic…intoxicating to say the least!

  21. Helen

    So did Food Stories

  22. Tweets that mention Bompas and Parr: The Jellymongers — Food Stories --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Genevieve Woodford. Genevieve Woodford said: Everyone's gone all quiet! …The Jelly Mongers; […]

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