The high-energy fruitcake was an ideal treat in Antarctica back in the age of exploration. But one 19th-century desert had to wait 106 years to be appreciated.
Recently, conservators with the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust spotted the fruitcake on a shelf in Antarctica’s oldest building, a hut on Cape Adare. Built in 1899, the hut was used by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition team in 1911. He likely brought the cake, made by the British biscuit company Huntley & Palmers, to Antarctica during his 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition. Sadly, he and his four-person crew died upon returning from the South Pole in 1912.
The fruity treat was found wrapped in paper and the remains of a tin. According to the report, it was in “excellent condition” and looked and smelled almost edible.
It will be returned to its original location for future explorers to find.
No, the people who found it did not take a bite.
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Photo credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust