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|Hello, I’ve just had a heated discussion with my workmates about the bourbon biscuit. I believe it is properly called the “Chocolate Bourbon” biscuit. They disagree and say it is only known as the “Bourbon”. Who is right?|
|Nicey replies: Well I would side with your workmates, purely beacause I dislike these extra words that bring nothing to the table. I don't like 'Bourbon Cream' either. We all know what's going on, so does the logical extreme 'Chocolate Bourbon Cream' get us any further than 'Bourbon'. If we were from a strange land and unaware of the Bourbon then even if it were to be called a 'Chocolate Bourbon Cream', we would still say 'What's a Bourbon?'.
Surely the Bourbon is self confident enough not to have to add polite 'Chocolates' and 'Creams' to its name. Derivative biscuits have to do all the running, with descriptive nouns, such as the 'White Bourbon' from Rover selections whose technical name is a 'Dark Vanilla Cream Finger'.
I have a theory that might shed some light on the issue raised by Paul Spencely (and commented upon by other contributors) on your forum regarding the Crown Prince of 11 o'clock snacks - the 'Bourbon' biscuit, and the new shape of said biscuit that mimics the 'Custard Cream'.
For so long a bastion of the biscuit world, I suspect that the Bourbon's shape has come under pressure from the bureaucrats in Brussels. Since I was a child I have revelled in the delight of the original's curious shape, intriguing carved logo and the alternative consumption methods - whether to go for the "upper lid then scrape the fondant before eating the base" option, or the "enjoy it from end to end in the more conventional plane" style. However, I was recently introduced by a colleague to the shameful design variation that threatens one of my favourite aspects of the 'Bourbon'.
I had originally put this matter down to manufacturers experimenting with different styles as part of their mystical policies of 'continued improvement'. But can it really be a coincidence that the changes to the 'Bourbon' are similar to the situation regarding Widescreen TV, which Europe finally resolved by dictating a 16:9 ratio as the standard? Not content with making our television transmissions a bizarre shape, perhaps Brussels would like to impose the curious 16:9 ratio on our biscuits. Must another of our cultural icons become the victim of Euro-compliance?
For those unaware of the travesty, I attach photographic evidence of the situation:
Exhibit A - the classic Bourbon in the wide style, the "1:2.35 Widescreen Ratio Director's Cut", if you will.
Exhibit B ('Bourbon169.JPG') - the nefarious pretender, the "16:9 European Standard Widescreen" version.
On the plus side, I can vouch for the taste of the 16:9 pretender. It is identical in texture, consistency and taste to the 1:2.35 ratio biscuit, so I suspect that it is an official item and not some dodgy grey import knock-off. It is, without doubt, a marvellous biscuit, albeit with the added confusion of which way around it should be eaten. But it just isn't right... .
I await with interest the opinions of your esteemed website and its loyal followers.
Yours with some concern,
|Nicey replies: Yes the dumpy ones are wrong.|
Rich Tea Review
|Hello, Nicey and the Wife,|
I don't know if you have a statute of limitations on replying to reviews, and if so, hope I haven't missed it by a mile. In my defence, I was living in blissful ignorance of your site until yesterday (22 June 2004), when I was alerted to its existence by my friend's kindly email. I feel very miffed and put out in the extreme that I have been tootling along in my daily life, unaware of the existence of such wondrous biscuit information, but it's rectified now, so let that be the end of it.
And so to business:
a) like some others who replied to your Rich Tea review with horror, how can you dis the King of Biscuits so?
b) How is it possible that nobody, but NOBODY, has mentioned the best way to enjoy Rich Tea? No, no, no, not the dunking (this is in fact, the second best way). Rich Tea is primarily enjoyed by taking two, and slathering both (not just one, mind!!) of them in a thick layer of butter - so much so that when you take the first bite, it squeezes out around the edges. For full enjoyment, you have to eat at least 3 lots/6 biscuits at a time.
Rich Tea fans of the world - unite!
p.s. I'm from Dublin, and must have the Kimberley gene, cos I never heard of this 'Are you sure they weren't stored somewhere damp?' business til I saw the review.
Also, I look forward with bated breath to the Jacob's Coconut Cream review (the white ones are nicer than the pink, but both are best enjoyed by popping into the mouth whole) - any chance of a review in the near future?
|Nicey replies: Maria,
I can give the Rich Tea a hard time because I post up messages from people who disagree, such is the quasi-democracy of NCOTAASD.
As for butter, we have a whole icon for that in the search area so you can find all the messages about that, so thats nice too.
We are soon to undertake a tea tour to the Emerald Isle so you might not have to wait too long for a Coconut Cream review, I'll also have another crack at the Kimberlys too see if its an acquired taste.
|Hello there Nicey.|
If that subject header didn't attract your attention, I don't know what will. Yes. Yes, the long lost Hobnob 'bar'.
I'm not sure of exactly when this McVitie hybrid made it's debut, but I have fond memories of holidaying in Cornwall and buying them individually for 12p a pop. And I was hooked.
1986 was the year, and it's one for the books - McVitie's had only gone and created an oblong Hobnob biscuit which was perfect for both sandwiching a butter-cream-like filling and having itself wrapped in a milk chocolate coating. The wrapper was blue and, if my memory serves me right, was a precursor to the then non existent milk chocolate covered Hobnob which we today accept as normal teabreak practice.
Now, I know this all happened 18 years ago, and some of my 'facts' may be childish fiction but, damn it, I can't forget how good they were - they must have been; I clearly remember a 'six pack' lasting only ten seconds at home.
It was one of the best summers of my youth. And every now and then I stop and wonder what in the world what became of them.
Nicey. Maybe I haven't looked properly on your site, but I can't find reference to them. It's like they never existed. And I know they did (they're no doubt to blame for any one of my habitual/ritualistic
tendencies). So maybe you could help me.
What did happen to them? Can you remember them and, (one can only dream) are they still available anywhere in the world?
Whatever you do, don't mention 'Gold Bars'.
Same holiday, same emotions, different biscuit.
FYI: This may be irrelevant, but I also came back from this holiday with a maverick chocolate bar (a little off the biscuit tracks, I know) by Cadbury, called a 'Spira'. They never appeared in my hometown of Colchester for a few years, so I wonder if Cornish folk had something over us East Anglians?
|Nicey replies: Ahh in 1986 I was destitute having recently graduated from University, so these HobNob bars were probably a bit too extravagant for me. At the time I think I was subsisting on Gingernuts and Digestives. Still they do sound vaguely familiar. As for Spiras they seemed like flakes that had suffered some kind of melting accident and didn't seem to me to advance the state of the art. You can still get Gold bars though last time I looked.|
Warmed by the impending British summer treats of Wimbledon tennis and hose pipe bans, my sister and I decided to take our first Picnic of the year over to Kew Gardens yesterday. No sooner had we sat down on our Iceland carrier bags and started on the sarnies than we felt the portentous first spots of rain. Being British and therefore prepared for this eventuality – our picnic was packed up within 30 seconds and we made our way to one of the greenhouses to take shelter just before torrents of Biblical proportions began.
I soon become astounded by the brilliance of the average Sunday picnicker. Everybody grabbed a spot to sit down and out came Sunday papers, cushions, and an array of Tupperware clad food stuffs. Being similarly equipped ourselves; I took out my Funday Times and our packet of Crunch Creams. We were passing a pleasant few minutes when our neighbour interrupted us to ask if he might swap some tea from his thermos for a few of our crunch creams. Of course we obliged – and I had one of my most enjoyable cups of tea ever experienced, as I sat in the tropical heat of the greenhouse, listening to the torrents of rain on the glass, drinking a well brewed cuppa, whilst discussing the joys of rambling with an elderly couple from Surbiton.
Long may British Summertime reign – and with it Generous Thermos glad ramblers!
|Nicey replies: We had a nice cup of tea and a sit down in the Cambridge Botanic gardens about two weeks ago, again on a rainy day. We were driven out of the glasshouses due to the younger members of staff deciding to be scared of the carnivorous plants.|