The Legend of the Lamington

Much speculation surrounds the origins of the humble Lamington.  The story I love most involves a Frenchman.  {Of course.}  Yes, just as we've observed in the past, the French find their way into the most surprising and seemingly innocuous of things, including a sweet treat that's considered to be an iconic Australian food.  The most romantic of the legends {or so I think} starts in the grand old household of Lord and Lady Lamington, residents for a time of Old Government House, just down the road from this, and overlooking the Brisbane River and the old City Botanic Gardens.  According to the official website for Old Government House {newly restored and one of Brisbane's sandstone beauties}, "Lord Lamington was the ninth governor of Queensland and it was his French chef at Old Government House, Armand Galland, who first thought to coat cubes of stale sponge cake in melted chocolate and then dip it in coconut, a touch thought to be inspired by his Tahitian wife, when unexpected visitors arrived in 1901."

If you want to make some of your own from scratch, you could try the more traditional version here, or a modern take by Gourmet Traveller here{Australian measures used throughout.}

Old Government House has its own Tea Room based in the 1872 kitchen and spreading to the shady central courtyard of this gorgeous old sandstone building, where you can take High Tea and other refreshments, including lamingtons made to the original recipe.  {"Original" according to this legend, at least.}  

Bon Appetit!


  1. ShSh, the men you love the most involve Frenchmen?? Of course, with you!

    I LOVE your food related artworks!!

  2. I think you're going to have lots of people who'll want to join you in this gorgeous courtyard for high tea with Lamingtons! What wonderful drawings of both the treats and the place to sit and have them. What's not to love about sponge cake, chocolate and coconut?!

  3. Two illustrations in one post. JACKPOT! Now I want to have tea with you at Old Gov House!

    Yep, that is a romantic story. Do men realize how truly easy it is to capture our hearts? Perhaps it is not our hearts they are aiming for. Food for thought. :D

    How wise you are to throw Cafe Observer some sweets. That should give any kitties a chance to run and hide.

    P.S. Most of the stories I love most involve a Frenchman too. ;-)

  4. Awww, what a lovely story!

    Melted chocolate and stale cake? Brilliant. Chocolate solves any problem.

  5. Cafe ~ some of them, at least. :) BTW, I thought of you when I was illustrating this plate of treats.

    Katie ~ I'll 'fess up that I've never made lamingtons, so if you come here, bring your mighty fine apron and we'll give them a whirl together!

    Cali ~ LOL on all counts! We shall take tea there together, and shall we place a small wager as to whether we bump into a Frenchman?

    Amy ~ problem + chocolate = solution Maths at its finest. ;)

  6. I haven't had my first coffee but I wouldn't miss the opportunity of trying one lamington !!
    Nice drawing, as always....

  7. A lamentable lack of lamingtons here. That girl in your courtyard has been to France, and is proud of it. You can tell she's deliberately thinking in French.

  8. Thanks, Marylène ~ and I doubt lamingtons mind whether they are eaten before or after coffee.

    Mise ~ a long apron will do that, I'm convinced.

  9. What chocolate can't solve, coconut will. Love the attitude in the bottom picture. How did you make a complete expression and mood with just three lines?

  10. thanks for your comment on mine, someone had to do something for mise's quest !!!! , like your blog here, think i'd really like to try a lamington..
    .necessity really is the mother invention .

  11. Well let's h ave some tea and lamingtons. I'm all about the choc/coconut THANG!

    Oh and I left you a comment on Paris today!

  12. Never had a Lemington :-( that's really lamentable .. I'd love to sit at that cafe and ask the lovely lady to bring me one to try.
    Great art work and great story.

  13. If lamingtons were offered in a Pasadena cafe, I'd skip them. I'm holding out until I can taste my first one in this courtyard.

  14. Finie ~ enjoy!

    Hi, Bhavesh ~ it is a bit posh. :) Thanks for dropping in.

    Hiker ~ luck?

    Hi, Jaboopee ~ I'm sure you've helped Mise immensely! Lovely to see you.

    Virginia ~ taking a look...

    Thanks, Gypsy ~ hope you get to try one soon!

  15. Petrea ~ I appreciate your self-sacrifice ~ it's a date!

  16. As Katie said—and I'm just one of them (the people who want to join you in this pretty courtyard for tea and lamingtons. Just out of curiosity (because supposedly you can get pretty much anything here in NYC), I checked and found that there is indeed a place here (opened by a transplanted Aussie) where they sell lamingtons, and also meat pies and other good things from Down Under. Here it is, but I think I'll follow Petrea's lead and hold out in hope of having high tea in Brisbane with you.

  17. Alexa ~ it would be fun to book out the whole courtyard!! Say, thanks for the link to the Tuck Shop in NYC ~ it's funny to read the Aussie slang on their menu and wonder what the New Yorkers make of it.

  18. MMmmmmmm (sigh) I'm off to the bakery................


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