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Foxs Chocolate Viennese

Sunday 18 May 2003

Well we've returned to good old blighty this week for our biscuit of the week. Inspired by last weeks Romany Creams our packet of Foxs Chocolate Viennese found itself leap frogging up the queue of review biscuits, to find itself on Sunday afternoon tea and a sit down duty.

Anyone who was lucky enough to have a biscuit selection tin from Marks & Spencer this Christmas will have been treated to a few of these biscuits as Foxs make a large part of the M&S range. So as you might expect these biscuits fall firmly into the the little treat niche.

Described on the pack as 'Buttery biscuits sandwiched with real Milk Chocolate', Foxs have done a fairly able job of summing up these little treats. The biscuits have a lovely buttery crumble to them and the chocolate provides not only a rich milk chocolate flavour but real structural integrity as it completely adheres the two biscuits to one another. It actually appears that the chocolate may have soaked a little way into the biscuits. About the only point I would make against these is that they can be quite cloying on the throat, however a nice cup of tea will instantly sort this minor issue.

There are certain biscuit packs that you know are going down in one sitting. This is such a pack. With a mere ten biscuits, each of which is utterly incapable of putting up a real resistance to a biscuit eating onslaught, there can only be one outcome. Total biscuit consumption.

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Romany Creams

Monday 12 May 2003

Well we have just finished off this weeks box of review biscuits, and very nice they were too. All the way from the Republic of South Africa, came a 200g box of Bakers Romany Creams. The Bakers logo features a little man, 'The Bakersman', with receding hair and a pencil behind his right ear, adorned in an apron. He says on the pack 'I've been there, on all those packs of Bakers Biscuits you know and love, through everyone's childhood, a part of all the best memories'. Sentimental old chap this Baker. He also appears to sponsor Mini Cricket according to the pack.

Describing themselves as crunchy choc coconut biscuits, the Romany Cream is a sandwich biscuit with a filling of smooth chocolate cream. Now as you may know I'm not a fan of coconut in biscuits, with the 'Nice' biscuit representing perhaps the most loathsome example. However, after the recent Anzac review maybe I'm mellowing in my old age. The texture of the Romany was truly unique, the closest thing I could compare to would be a Foxs Viennese finger with a slight aldenté edge afforded by the finely divided coconut. The back of the pack displayed a recipe for chocolate cream pie, instructing one to crush the whole pack and to combine with butter to make a biscuit base. I have no doubt that this would produce a killer pudding. Despite majoring on the chocolate theme the overall chocolate taste was low key with the coconut easily holding its own. When put up against a nice cup of tea the Romany Creams started to disappear at quite a rate.

The biscuits themselves are quite small and I would think it not indecent to consume them in two mouthfuls. The pristine example of a Romany Cream on the pack front did not prepare me for the appearance of the contents. Rattling around in a bag in side the box the meant that the chocolate cream filling was quite hard to spot being covered as it was in a layer of biscuit crumbs. Now I don't mind this for a minute as it means less packing. In fact I would think it would be quite good sport to eat boxes of the things trying to find one that looked the same as the one on the box.

Ok, now to the nitty gritty, why are they called Romany Creams? Sorry I really don't know. What an earth the particular association between the Romany people and crunchy choc coconut biscuit is I can't even begin to guess at. Why they are so typically South African? Don't know either. Can you get them outside of South Africa. Don't know. Yes I know this is not much of an exhaustive reference of the Romany Cream,but as I said we enjoyed the biscuits.

Thanks to Nick Alliwell for getting us the Romany Creams to us.

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Crawfords chocolate rings

Monday 5 May 2003

Now as we all know the mighty United Biscuits has been having a bit of a sorting out of its brands, with the McV sub brand being the trendy alter ego to the dependable McVities. Crawfords, very much the B team, is actually the oldest brand in the portfolio, going back to a 19th century Scottish family bakers run by William Crawford in Leith Edinburgh. To bring back a bit of tradition and heritage to the UB stable Crawfords has received a bit of a face lift. Gone are the two tone purple wrappers that so distinctively graced many a corner shop or petrol station biscuit selection to be replaced with a large red device looking rather like a horizontally elongated fairy cake bearing the name Crawfords two crossed ears of something and the legend "Baking family biscuits since 1813". So its a bit of a pity that this weeks brand new offering from Crawfords were baked in Spain.

So what do we have here? Well we have reviewed both the white chocolate and the milk chocolate packs. Now both rings have very much the air of something you would find in Christmas selection tin, and are a bit of a departure from the traditional biscuits we are used to from Crawfords. The biscuits themselves are pleasant enough. The chocolate coat is not overdone and their small size means that you are going to probably pop them in your mouth whole. However they are also a bit forgettable just like that nameless chocolate coated shape in the Christmas tin. I would see these playing quite an important role in the plates of biscuits you get given at hotels that offer conference facilities and want to create a slight air of opulence.

So what's going on with the family bakers getting biscuits from Spain? Well UB are a big operation and its got a whole bunch of bakeries in Spain. So in one pack we get both extremes an invocation of tradition and a demonstration of a pan-european conglomerate. However, this does appear to be a interesting new direction for the UB biscuit machine, and its going to worth keeping an eye on.

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