High 5: International office treats

February 26, 2014

Recent news has revealed that marketing and travel and tourism are the worst industries for snacking by staff. As someone who works in both, I’ve certainly tucked into more than my fair share of office treats. The tradition at Travel PR (and in past jobs) is of course to bring something tasty back from a trip, so I’ve sampled a range of snacks from across the globe. These are the five that caused the most curiosity and got people off their chairs quickest:

Egg sweets, Portugal
‘I love them!’ cried some. ‘But they look raw!’ cringed others. These simple treats originated from Portugal’s convents and have always divided the Travel PR office, with some firmly in the egg camp and others somewhat affronted by what is essentially an egg yolk glazed in sugar. Edwina Currie, eat your heart out.

Salmiak, Sweden
There’s nothing quite like a hit of ammonium chloride first thing on a Monday morning. In Sweden, salt liquorice is a staple sweet and doesn’t cause much controversy. Not so in the UK. Personally, I love them, but the extra strength (i.e. tongue-numbingly salty) bag I brought back from Sweden sat on our treats shelf for about three months. That’s a pretty poor rating by Travel PR standards.

Macaroons, Monaco
Pretty, pastel-hued bundles of joy (Ladurée produces the most famous and delicious, and has a branch in Monaco). These look as good on the plate as they taste. No complaints here, and the shelf life in our office of this moreish confectionery was about an hour.

Dates, Algeria
Brought back to the UK by the deputy editor at a previous workplace of mine (aspects of her trip had been quite hair-raising), these were the most wonderful dates I had ever tasted, until I bit into my fourth one of the day, revealing a maggot. Nuff said.

Sweetie Pies cupcakes, Twickenham
Admittedly no-one travelled far for these. The fabulous Sweetie Pies boutique bakery is on Church Street in Twickenham. Forget the Hummingbird Bakery, this is a one-off shop that hand bakes the best and most creative bespoke cupcakes I have ever tasted. A great big pile of them saw me off on my maternity leave (thanks team!). Just thinking about the fluffy icing makes my mouth water.

Sarah Belcher