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100 year old 'edible' Fruitcake found in Antarctica

04 September 2017 - 14:27

Afu

Foodaholic. Travel Buff. Smartphoneographer.

A 100 year old fruitcake has been discovered by the conservators of Antarctic Heritage Trust, among the artefacts from Cape Adare, in Eastern Antarctica, which was the base for the Terra Nova expedition ( British Antarctic Expedition) in 1910 - 1913.

The fruitcake was identified as a made by Huntley & Palmers - a british company famous for their biscuits. Conservators of the trust stated it was inside a rusted tin-plated iron alloy tin, with the cake wrapped in paper, in perfect edible condition.

Though the based used for the expedition was originally built by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink’s in 1899, it is believed that the fruit cake belonged to leader of the expedition - British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott, also known as Scott of the Antarctic. It has been reported that Scott was pretty fond of Huntley & Palmers fruit cake.

“With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise. It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice.” said Lizzie Meek, Programme Manager of Artefacts at Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Furthermore, speaking to National Geographic, she said: "Fruitcake was a popular item in English society at the time, and it remains popular today ... Living and working in Antarctica tends to lead to a craving for high-fat, high-sugar food, and fruitcake fits the bill nicely, not to mention going very well with a cup of tea."

"Fruitcake is not something that people usually get excited about, but this discovery shows what a spectacular environment for historic preservation the Antarctic is," historian Stephanie Barczewski of Clemson University told National Geographic.

Robert Falcon Scott and his team of four explorers, reached the South Pole in 1912 but passed away on their journey back to their Terra Nova base.

Heritage Trust Conservators have restored the Terra Nova Hut which known to be the largest antarctic building of its time - with a length of 50-foot. After restoration the artifacts found in the hut, including the perfectly preserved fruit cake, conservators return them to the original locations of each item within the huts.

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