Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
To help you work out what is what, are now little icons to help you see biscuit related themes. And now you can see at a glance which are the most contested subjects via this graph (requires Flash 6.0 plugin).
Please keep your mails coming in to email@example.com
If you like, you can use this search thingy to find stuff that matches with any of the icons you pick, or use the fantastic free text search, Yay!
Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley Review
Just the other day one of my colleagues came into the office clutching a packet of biscuits which were given to her by another member of staff as a Christmas present.
Excitedly, she removed a biscuit (which was a type unfamiliar to her) and took a large bite. Her gleeful expression turned instantly to one of disgust as she raced to the bin to spit out the offending article.
"What in the biscuit world", I thought, "could have caused such an unfavourable reaction?"
I picked up the packet and, with one look at the name, everything became clear.
It was, in fact, the much maligned Kimberly.
Hailing originally from the North of Ireland, I am well acquainted with the Kimberly and, although not my favourite biscuit, I do confess a certain fondness toward the brand.
I know (having read through your site) that my colleague's reaction is not uncommon among English folk and I think that the key to understanding the different reactions by people from Ireland and those from the rest of the world to the Kimberly is not ethnic but more a matter of timing.
In Ireland (at least in my experience), children are started on the Kimberly very young. The Kimberly is considered the natural missing link between the Farley's Rusk and the world of biscuit and as such is introduced to the Irish palette before the understanding of "Biscuit" has been fully formed.
Those who first encounter the Kimberly in later life have already fully established their concept of "Biscuit" and the Kimberly, falling as it does outside this concept, can come as a bit of a shock. Add to this the fact that many of these people are given their first Kimberly by an Irish person (possibly someone's mother) who, having been desensitised in early life, offer no warning as to its nature.
I was glad to read the reviews of the Kimberly on your site which highlight the "wet MDF" taste and texture, giving rise to the "are you sure you stored these in a dry place" reaction as so ably demonstrated by my colleague.
Although I still like the Kimberly, I do agree with your comments and will pass on warnings before attempting to serve Kimberly's to English folk in future.
Thank you for highlighting this issue.
Fox's Butter Crinkle Crunch Review
In respect of your assessment of Butter Crinkle Crunch I would like to add that this biscuit is fantastically good for dunking, perhaps even better than rich tea. The outside goes soft as you would expect, but the inside goes chewy, which works very well. You have to be careful on timing though - this biscuit is easy to over-dunk and lose.
|Nicey replies: Oh yes if there's one thing a Butter Crunch likes it is to absorb moisture, hot tea being its optimum choice.|
Botham's Tea, Shah Ginger and Ginger Choc Chip biscuits Review
|Dear Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down,|
I was delighted to see that you have visited Bothams of Whitby recently. My Mother and I took a very decent lunch there in the recent past (me: Wensleydale mushrooms, her: Ploughmans Lunch), and she was pleased to discover that the decor had not changed since her visit to the cafe with her Brownie pack in 1950 something. Taking a look at their website, I suspect that the cafe has not in fact altered since 1900, a remarkable exercise in 'if it ain't broke don't mend it' philosophy. A finer nice cup of tea and a sit down venue I have yet to come across.
ps: with regard to your cutting edge work on Paleolithic biscuits, I am particularly sad at the loss of the Gypsy Cream. As far as Im aware you could only buy them in the Late Shopper on Ecclesall Road in Sheffield in the early 90's, since when they have vanished from my biscuit world. Your Gypsy Cream was a basic sandwich biscuit construction, of chocolate flavoured biscuit, with a very rich chocolatey cream in the middle. Rectangular in shape, they were in my opinion, superior to the rather common Bourbon biscuit, because the cream was so much nicer and they didn't have all that annoying sugar stuck to the outside.
Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley Review
|Hello Mr Nicey|
The Kimberley biscuit is today a shadow of its fomer self, that is why you were disappointed. A kimberley was a special treat in my childhood days. If you knew someone, as we did, who worked in the old Jacobs factory which was located in central Dublin, one could buy large bags of broken biscuits for a few pence. These were sold at the factory to the staff in thick off white paper bags for ordinary biscuits and in the case of chocolate the bags were smaller and dark brown. Being sold at the factory meant that they were factory fresh - even if they were damaged - lesser mortals would have to content themselves with the more uniform but staler variety which could be found sitting around in a shop tin for weeks on end. Each factory purchased bag contained a different mystery variety which we were able to enjoy with an occasional squabble when a battered (in the damaged sense) Kimberley appeared from the depths of the bag - there were always oodles of crumbs too which mother would on occasion convert into slices of chocolate biscuit cake if any chocolate was available or an occasion such as a bithday demanded such a treat.
Many years ago it was a delicious biscuit with lots of gingery flavour and a marshmallow filling which was sugared on the outside. I fear that the ingredients in the 1950;s were of a purer more flavoursome quality than today when we are forced to have artificial colouring flavourings and sweetners - more and more these are used instead of the real thing.
There were also other marshmallow type biscuits made by jacobs with an oblong single biscuit, these were covered with a pink coloured coconut sprinked marhmallow with a central furrow which had a jam filling. I cannot remember their name but they were tasty.
Sadly biscuits do not taste the same these days. There was also a famous establishment called Bewleys in Dublin who had three branches. This firm survives in a form but again their chocolates, cakes, biscuits and buns were second to none - in particular cherry buns and almond rings were heavenly, those of today are very poor shadows of those we enjoyed in the 50's and 60's.
|Nicey replies: David,
Thanks for those memories of biscuits past. Actually when I read the Kimberley ingredients they all seemed perfectly in order with no recourse to sweeteners or colouring.
The other biscuit you referred to is the Jacobs Mikado, or Mallow depending on which side of teh Irish sea you are.
Iced Gems Review
|A seasonal remembrance of these is that my Gran always gave us a little tin of these as a Christmas treat. They came in a 2x2x2 tin which mimicked the big shop tins. I still have one of them!|
Also, living on the edge of Reading we had several neighbours who worked at the H & P factory and used to get us penny bags of broken biscuits on a Friday. They often contained stray Iced Gems which certainly didn't appear broken.