In Antarctica (South Pole), a 106-year-old fruitcake, believed to belong to a British explorer, was unearthed and it’s completely intact and almost edible.
In 1911 the explorer Robert Falcon Scott left his country to reach one of the most hostile regions known to humankind: the South Pole.
During the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-13), known as “Terra Nova”, Scott also brought with him a piece of cake made by the British company Huntley & Palmers. It was wrapped in paper and encased in a tin-plated iron alloy tin. After 106 years it was found still in this conditions.
The dessert is an ideal high-energy food for Antactic conditions even on modern-day trips. Popular today like it was at that time, Scott couldn’t have thought of something different for his expedition: it’s highly fat and sugary and this fits very well the South Pole conditions…beyond going nicely with a cup of tea.
Scott and his team unfurtunately died during the expedition, but something apparently survived: the Huntley & Palmers fruitcake.
The cake was found by the Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators at Cape Adare, Victoria Land, East Antarctica, among 1,500 artefacts that rested at the huts built by the Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink’s expedition in 1899. They are the first ones built in Antarctica and the only first humanity’s buildings still existing on any continent.
All the artefacts, including the fruitcake, have been taken to the Canterbury Museum lab (in Christchurch, New Zealand) for their restoration, and once the buildings at Cape Adare are completed too, they will be returned to their origin place as the site is an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA).
To let you better understand why the cake conditions are so stunning and unique, just consider that the tin and wrapping paper were in poor conditions and will need some restoration too (rust removal, chemical stabilisation, coating of the tin remnants and more).
In the “rare” event you will go on holiday to Antarctica in the future, you may be so lucky to see the “centenarian” cake that survived its owner.