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The Pudding Contest


Dear Readers: This page has information about the 2008 Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest.

For details about the 2009 PUDDING FESTIVAL, please visit OUR NEW PAGE!



Pudding Contest 2008 Winner!

Pirate Captain Ray Poudrier holds his winning Hawley Grove Pudding. Judge (and First Mate) Michael Collins looks on.

Click here to download WFCR's report on the Pudding Contest
(mp3 format)
Charlene Scott of WFCR visited the 2006 pudding contest and filed this report.

Thanks to WFCR for allowing us to use it!

What is a Pudding?

The term pudding is used in many ways in many places - and we want to leave it that way for the purposes of this contest. Many puddings are made with milk and eggs; many are steamed. Many are neither. Some puddings (plum puddings, upside-down cake puddings) are desserts; others (steak and kidney pudding, corn pudding) are main courses or savories. Basically, if you call your dish a pudding, you may enter it in the contest.

Here are some of the 2008 pudding contest entries.

The Original Pudding Contest

Not much is known about the pudding contest that inspired this one. Hawley's first (and until now its only) culinary event took place in the late 18th century. Here is what historian Louise Hale Johnson wrote in her History of the Town of Hawley (1953):

In the primitive days, probably before 1780, Mrs. Baker, wife of Timothy Baker, was matched against another woman, to see which would make the largest hasty pudding. Mrs. Baker made hers in a five-pail kettle, and came out triumphantly the "pudding head" of Hawley.

"Pudding Head" Abigail Kibbe Baker and her husband Timothy moved to Hawley in 1772 from nearby Sunderland when she was 22 and he 24. The contest probably took place in the eight years between their arrival in town and 1780. Not much is known about the contest; Hawleyites would love to have the name of the other contestant, or Abigail Baker's winning pudding recipe. Nevertheless, the sheer practicality of the event, which highlighted a nourishing staple of daily New England life and emphasized the ability to feed a crowd, has appealed to generations of Hawley residents. It is immortalized in the name of the neighborhood in which the Bakers lived, Pudding Hollow.

The current contest emphasizes quality rather than quantity: there will be no prize for the largest pudding, and contestants are urged to leave their file-pail kettles at home. Nevertheless, the Sons and Daughters of Hawley hope that this year's contest will prove as memorable as its 18th-century predecessor. If the last few Pudding Days are anything to judge by, it will be!

The Sons and Daughters of Hawley

The Sons and Daughters of Hawley are the historical society of Hawley, a tiny town with a population of 300-odd souls nestled in the hills of western Massachusetts. Started more than 100 years ago, the society brings together Hawley's diverse population - the farmers, carpenters, teachers, and telecommuters who make up a typical New England town. It sponsors a number of yearly events, including the annual town celebration known as Hawley Day. The Sons and Daughters hope to increase the range of community activities by using the old church and neighboring buildings as a performance space, a venue for community suppers, and a repository for historical materials. Thanks to the generosity of a number of merchants who are underwriting the costs of the Pudding Contest, each entry fee goes directly to the building project.


If you have questions about the contest, the eligibility of recipes, or the Sons and Daughters of Hawley, please send an e-mail to info@merrylion.com

Prizes and Donors

This project has been funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as administered by the Charlemont/Hawley Cultural Council.

Many thanks to the terrific companies and individuals who have donated funds and prizes to support the Pudding Contest.


Pudding Contest Sponsors for 2008:


A.L. Avery & Son General Store in Charlemont, Massachusetts


All-Clad Metalcrafters


Boston Vanilla Bean Company


Cabot Creamery


Chicago Metallic

The Charlemont/Hawley Cultural Council



Lamson & Goodnow

Tuckaway Farm


Our Fabulous Luncheon Donors:


Bart's Homemade Ice Cream

The Donovan Farm, Hawley, Massachusetts

Ollie's Downunder


Grand Prizes:

A 2-quart stainless saucier from All-Clad Metalcrafters

A 3-quart triply stainless chef's pot and matching soup cups from Calphalon

A burr coffee maker and grinder from Cuisinart

A carving set from Lamson & Goodnow

Other Prizes:

A gingko cutting boardfrom the Kitchen Store at J.K. Adams

A hand-quilted culinary pot holder from Ann Brauer Quilt Studio

A hand-decorated pudding bowl from Bald Mountain Pottery

A coupon for ice cream for each finalist (plus ice cream for lunch!) from Bart's Homemade Ice Cream

A gift certificate from Big Y Supermarkets

A crate of finishing sauces from Bittersweet Herb Farm

A gift certificate from the Blue Heron Restaurant

Aromatic loaves from Bread Euphoria

A gift box plus cheese for each judge from Cabot Creamery

A dessert pan for two for each finalist from Chicago Metallic

Maple syrup from Chickley Alp Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts

A gift certificate from the Ciesluk Farm Stand

A basket of seasonal fruit from Clarkdale Fruit Farm

A gift basket from Curtis Country Store

Maple syrup from Davenport Maple Farm

A gift certificate from the Deerfield Inn

Eggs from Diemand Farm

Gourmet organic potatoes for each finalist (plus potatoes for lunch!) from Donovan Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts

A pint of Sherbetter for each finalist from Gaga's

A gift certificate from Mike and Tony's Green Emporium Pizza Parlor

A Vermont breakfast crate, plus a coffee sample for each finalist, from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Local goat cheese from Goat Rising

Maple syrup from Gould's Sugarhouse

A pint of ice cream for each finalist (it could be Sticky Toffee Pudding flavor!) from Häagen-Dazs

A coffee maker and espresso maker from Krups

A decorative plant stand from LiAsia Art & Antiques and its store, LiAsia

Schmear filling for each finalist from Love 'n Bake ingredients by American Almond Products

A measuring spoon rack from metalsmith Marian Ives of Hawley, Massachusetts

A basket of farm-fresh goodies from M&M Green Valley Produce

A gift certificate from McCusker's Market

A copy of The Pudding Hollow Cookbook from the Merry Lion Press

Graters from Microplane

Sauces from Myron's Fine Foods

A product for each finalist from Newman's Own

Sticky toffee pudding cake mix from Nordic Ware

Maple syrup from North Hadley Sugar Shack

A gift basket from Old Sturbridge Village

A floral arrangement from Plants for Pleasure

A family pass, 17th-century reproduction pudding bowl, and a vintage pudding recipe from Plimoth Plantation

Organic sauerkraut, dill pickles, Asian cabbage, and red cabbage from Real Pickles

A gift certificate from Richardson's Candy Kitchen

Horseradish products from Saw Mill Site Farm

Spices from the Shelburne Falls Supermarket in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

Coffee from Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters

A medium Norwalk pitcher from Stephen Earp Redware

Maple syrup from Thatcher's Sugarhouse

A goody bag from Trader Joe's

Woven Indian placemats from Tregellys Fiber Farm

A copy of "The Authentic Italian Kitchen: Pasta" for each finalist and judge from Tuckaway Farm

A gift basket from Walker's Shortbread

Cider from West County Winery

Maple syrup from Doug and Julia White in Charlemont, Massachusetts

Maple syrup from Wilder Brook Farm in Charlemont, Massachusetts

Other Donors:

Click here to download WFCR's report on the Pudding Contest
(mp3 format)
Charlene Scott of WFCR visited the 2006 pudding contest and filed this report.

Thanks to WFCR for allowing us to use it!


Here's a look at the 2008 Pudding Contest Finals:

Hawleyites and friends tell the story of "The Pirates of Pudding Hollow."

The pirates consult their scripts.

Water sprites take a message down the Chickley River.

A battle ensues.

Alice Parker presides at the piano.


Smiles all around.


Heroine Abigail Baker sings and saves the day.

Pudding Hollow's oldest resident.

The Pudding Parade begins.

Paraders line up after depositing their puddings.

Audience members taste pudding at the contest's end.

Our fabulous kitchen volunteers take a moment to relax.

Judges Kathleen Wall, Stephen Dias, and Michael Collins worked hard!

Hawley's selectmen made this official proclamation in 2004. They also presented the Sons & Daughters of Hawley with a plaque praising the historical significance of pudding to the town - and declaring June 20, 2004, Pudding Day in Hawley.

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