Colston bun

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Colston bun
TypeSweet bread
Place of originEngland
Region or stateBristol
Main ingredientsYeast dough, dried fruit, candied peel, sweet spices

A Colston bun is a sweet bun made of a yeast dough flavoured with dried fruit such as currants, candied peel, streusel and sweet spices. It is made in the city of Bristol, England, and named after Edward Colston, a Bristol-born English merchant, philanthropist, slave trader, and Member of Parliament who created the original recipe. It comes into two size categories: "dinner plate" with eight wedge marks on the surface and "ha'penny staver", an individual sized bun.[1][2]

The Colston Bun is traditionally distributed to children on Colston Day (13 November), which celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Society of Merchant Venturers by Charles I in 1639. The custom originated from the Colston's School, which was established for poor children in the early 18th century. Originally, the child would receive a large "dinner plate" bun with eight wedge marks so that individual portions could be broken off and shared with their family, plus a "staver" which could be eaten immediately to "stave off" hunger, and a gift of 2 shillings (now 10p) from the wives of the Merchant Venturers. The gifts of buns and money are still distributed to some school children in Bristol on Colston Day by the Colston Society.[3]

Colston Buns are not widely known outside of Bristol, and are generally only available for sale on occasion in independent bakers around the city.[4] In the 21st century, the name has become controversial as Edward Colston was known to have strong ties to the slave trade despite contributing to the welfare of those in Bristol, which conflicts with modern values.[5]

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  1. ^ Alan Davidson (11 August 2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  2. ^ Paul Potts (2013). One Chance: A Memoir. Weinstein Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-602-86239-5.
  3. ^ "Every picture tells a story – Colston Buns". Bristol Post. 10 November 2008. Archived from the original on 20 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Bristol and the West: On the food map". BBC Food. 2 May 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  5. ^ "What's Bristol's culinary contribution to the world?". Bristol Post. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2016.[permanent dead link]