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||Dear Biscuit People,|
I find your site a truly informative resource and am in awe of the sensible and relaxed website you have built; well done! I was particularly intrigued when I happened upon the review of the "Mikado" as I recently experienced a packet of the straw-type Mikado while on holiday in Venice. When on vacation abroad I take great delight in experiencing the everyday life of the natives, this means taking a little break from the usual fare of cafes, bars, museums, galleries and sex shops (perhaps that last one really only applies in Amsterdam) to explore the fare on offer in the local
Being a great admirer of the biscuit as a culinary genre I usually make straight for the sweet section; thus has been the case in Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and most recently Venice. When settling down at the end of a hectic day exploring the art of that most watery of Italian cities, my dear boyfriend and I sat down to try the selection of biccies I had bought from the local supermarket. There was a packet of strange Kinder things, a little like a Twix gone horribly wrong, but pleasant as a change, and a packet of Mikados.
The Mikado, in its non-marshmallow form, is a very interesting confection. Anyone who has carried out heavy-duty arc welding or has played with a sparkler on Guy Fawkes night will be at home with the general form. The milk chocolate covers a thin straw about 2mm in diameter by 8cm long leaving about 1cm uncovered at the end. The material comprising the straw is
reminiscent of a pretzel, or twiglet with all the marmite licked off, and the taste experience is indeed similar to those chocolate covered Pretzels that we saw a few years ago. The taste is pleasant, but nothing special; a little dry - the central straw seems a little "doughy" when chewed, and not completely cohesive with the chocolate covering, although the covering is quite generous. However, this would make a very sophisticated accompaniment to a cup of tea where you want to impress without risking your guests or your self becoming engrossed in the biscuits or the whole thing ending up in a pig-out. Dainty nibbling is the order of the day with the Mikado.
A packet contains some thirty or so in packaging similar to a cigarette pack, plastic covered foil retaining the biscuits freshness. I was also pleasantly impressed by the fact that only one or two had suffered damage; when one opens a box of Matchsticks, one is usually presented with a few
breakages, anything up to 15%, I would say that the Mikados suffered fewer than 5% damage. One flaw of employing the Pretzel centre is that it is no good for sucking up tea (I must admit that I took a stash of Sainsburys Red Label teabags with me, English Breakfast Tea, as sold abroad, leaves a great deal to be desired - flavour for one thing...) as it doesn't conduct the fluid.
All in all this is an intriguing take on the biscuit as it totally eschews many of the traditions of biscuit making - volume and shape being completely outside the normal parameters of most. I only wish I knew of your site before I went away as I would have brought back a selection of foreign biscuits to share with other appreciators of biscuitry. Keep up the good work, and dunk!
I feel that there is an increasingly worrying trend towards crossing the noble biscuit with confectionary. I refer in particular to the new Bisc& phenomenon.
While I can accept a Bisc&Twix, as it is an improvement on a regular Twix with the addition of more biscuit, the I feel that the whole idea of putting Bounty slime without the coconut bits on top of what would otherwise be a rather splendid shortcake biscuit is quite frankly taking matters too far.
Do you have an opinion on this matter?
Yours, in biscuity appreciation
|Nicey replies: Zoe
Thank you for bringing this topic up. I do tend to find the over use chocolate in biscuits a bit vulgar, it has to be done with great care indeed to pull it off. Many biscuit makers walk a very thin line indeed between the chocolate covered biscuits and chocolate bars. This is of course fine if its chocolate which you are after but personally I'm more interested in true biscuit innovation rather than chocolate bars.
||Hello Mr Nicey|
Browsing through the e-mails, I saw one from Kathy Sadler who asked about an old Wagon Wheel commercial with a strapline "Its so big you've gotta grin to get it in". I can confirm that Kathy was not hallucinating, and indeed the animated advert described the adventures of one Harry, with a chorus "What a mouth, what a mouth, what a North and South, blimey what a mouth he's got".
The advert ran briefly (as was the norm for Burton's adverts) in 1984, so I'm not surprised you don't recall it. I remember it as I'd just started working for Burtons as Area Sales Manager, and sadly still have an audio cassette with the advert on. The brown stuff on the outside of a Wagon Wheel isn't chocolate, as your recent reviewer correctly pointed out, but a couverture substitute going by the appetising name of "Blackpool Coating".
|Nicey replies: Ah that explains why I don't remember it, as for most of 1984 I didn't have a TV. Anyhow fascinating industry inside information on the Wagon Wheel coating.
I have just purchased a 6 pack of original Wagon Wheels, the packet of which is emblazoned with the legend "Great New Chocolatey Taste". This begs the question of quite what Wagon Wheels were supposed to taste of before (adventure, according to a different part of the pack). An internal
examination however has revealed no human-discernable change to the taste of the Wagon Wheels, and biscuiteers should not allow themselves to be unduly tempted by this marketing ploy.
|Ms Ginger Snaps
||I have just discovered a fabulous chocolate covered biscuit (the correct term I think). They are Sainsbury's own brand and a variety of their 'King' bar. These ginger bars are just fab as the biscuit inside is not the hard and frightening ginger nut type, but a crumblier biscuit more often found in the Breakaway or similar. Not only this, but the ginger taste is refreshing and tastes more like the root than the spice. An impressive own brand creation which I shall be buying more of.|