Dessert, pudding, sweet, afters – all very inadequate names for the glory that comes before the coffee and for some of us it is the very best part of the meal, the part worth waiting for, the reason we are there. There are some for whom it is the only part worth having and in a restaurant their eyes constantly stray to where it sits in all its tempting lusciousness.

Cold puddings, hot puddings, fruit puddings, steamed pudding with treacle or jam, pecan pie, apple pie, sorbet, custard. Desserts made from cream and meringue and chocolate, ice cream with hot fudge sauce, pineapple cheesecake and chocolate mousse – chocolate anything really. Gateaux, profiteroles, trifle and souffl├ęs; pancakes with every conceivable topping, hot chocolate cake, brownies. Enough, enough.

It’s a funny thing but the chocolate desserts are usually the first to go – can’t think why!

For others though, those fortunate or unfortunate depending on your point of view, to have been born without a sweet tooth, the wonders of the dessert trolley hold no appeal. They can ignore it, treat it with disdain, never glance in its direction. It has no power over them and they are strong. They are also usually men.

Now this is not to say that men don’t like pudding because they do of course, at least some of them do, but in my experience if anyone out of a group is going to opt for either cheese or nothing at all, it will generally be a man rather than a woman.

Is the dessert trolley a health hazard? Well, in some ways it probably is as puddings by their very nature tend to be sweet and sugar is without doubt one of the enemies of a healthy diet and a trim figure. Pastries, pies and puddings contain fat and flour and they are not far behind sugar in being something to approach with care. Also, by that stage of a meal we have probably had sufficient food so any extra is just that – extra.

But it is also life enhancing in so many other ways, the taste, the texture, the absolute chocolaty creaminess of it, and a little of that, in moderation, can’t be all bad.