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Iced Gems Review
In a day of remarkable co-incidences, I note with dismay that Iced Gems were placed as the 6th yuckiest biscuit behind the very-deserving-of-revulsion pink wafers and fig rolls. Only this lunchtime did I discover that the people who stock our mangy vending machines here at work had, in an all-too-rare moment of inspired brilliance placed a bag of iced gems in one of the machines. Having not had them for years I immediately purchased what has to be one of the all time classic biscuits and sated my desire of sugary lumps of icing and biscuit bases. This led to me idly wondering why water biscuits are called water biscuits (slow day at the office) and a quick Google later I happened upon your site by way of a review of Jamaican water biscuits. After a contented browse and some sage noddings regarding your conclusions on Jaffa Cakes, I was horrified to see the Iced Gem, that marvellous staple of kids’ birthday party food, being universally rejected by the biscuit loving public. To rub salt in the wounds, I also note that the singularly disgusting Fig Rolls somehow also figured highly in both the regular and favourite charts and that the magnificent and criminally underrated Bourbon cream being beaten by Fig Rolls in the favourites section!
This unthinkable heresy says only one thing: the biscuit eating public have been led astray. I think you should start a campaign immediately to promote these shining examples of the biscuit maker’s art and help them regain what is rightfully theirs – the number one and two slots in the regular and favourite charts and to leave the yukky chart immediately. This should be done because they are an important part of our heritage, and not at all because I am a random wackjob with too much time on their hands and who happens to like these biscuits. Not at all. Oh no.
Steve “Bourbon King” Pettifer
||Hi Biscuit Noshers,|
I'm delighted to have found your website, whilst searching for Peek Freans. I was trying to track down a local supplier of their digestives as I remember really liking them. I think that many of the current ones that I buy seem to lack something (Co-op own brand and might be Foxes). The Peek Freans ones are a bit better cooked and more brittle but with a lovely flavour. I recall that their dunkability is a bit limited as they are inclined to break up quickly in a mug of tea.
After my local Co-op, I usually buy my biscuits from a wonderful stall in Huddersfield's Market Hall. They have (nearly) every kind of biscuit and cheap too. You can also buy big bags of broken biscuits for something like 50p a bag. My yardstick for price is the fig roll and they sell them for just over £1 per pound weight - very good value compared to packeted ones. So, you see, biscuits don't always arrive in packets. The best value is where they bag them up by weight.
By the way, I always drink Tetley's tea from the various pound shops in Huddersfield (100bags for £1). A good brew. That means you could live on tea and biscuits for a week for just £2 (plus a bit of milk). If I fancy an exceptionally good mashing of tea, I'll get some 'Yorkshire Tea'. Dear but very good.
Keep up the good work. You are kindred spirits to me.
I'll bet that you are the non-political wing of the BCCCA.
|Nicey replies: Hello Jack,
First congrats of your website I think its lovely, I particularly liked the snickets and ginnels. I'm left wondering what use I should make of this detailed information, I feel like I have had one those intelligence briefings that operatives get before going into the field. It seems as shame not to capitalise on the fact that I now know you can get from the chemists to the bus shelter via a little path. The bridges were terrific too.
Anyhow, Peek Freans as a manufacturing company hasn't existed for years (about 20). After many take overs and mergers its brands and products passed to Jacobs who still used to bake the odd thing and label it as Peek Freans, mostly selection tins. Now Jacobs in the UK has passed to United Biscuits, (McVities/Crawfords) and we all know how many Digestives they make. Jacob's in Ireland were bought by the Fruitfeild group and still bake biscuits in Dublin. There is some cross supply between the two Jacobs for obvious reasons of economy, so some products in Ireland are baked in the UK and visa-versa. There is also a Peek Freans in Canada although I haven't been able to establish its precise connection to the original London based company set up in the 19th century. It seems logical that this was an offshoot that has gone its own way, and many of its products seem like very traditional lines indicating a branching from the parent company many years ago.
Fig rolls by the pound, wonderful.
No we are nothing to do with the BCCCA but we did pop round for a cup of tea once as we were passing by and thought we would go in and say hello.
||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
A while ago, I saw one of your readers posted a link to a website where somebody had tried to make a massive Jaffa cake (which didn't quite work, possibly because they tried to shoehorn it into being vegan). Anyway, as a Jaffa cake enthusiast I gave them link to a few of my nearest and dearest, and my friend sent me back a link to this site, where they do the same thing with lots of biscuits and snacks, including a rather wonderful Giant Party Ring and Giant Tea Cake. There's also another Giant Jaffa Cake attempt, only marginally more successful.
Anyway, hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
With cakey love,
Lizzy Arnott x
PS. I've contacted you before about a debate in my office about cakes and buns - we're a tad obsessed with any kind of tea accompaniment. So I thought, as an office project, we should try to contribute to pimpmysnack, but we've had trouble coming up with something that should be made massive. Any ideas?
|Nicey replies: Giant Fig Roll.|
||I am, as I write this, eating my way through a packet of Fig Rolls (Lyons, 200g, cardboard box with red plastic outer celephane wrapping) and have decided to search the internet in search of alternatives as these seem to be very spongey, just like the Fig Newtons you have mentioned. They also have the ridged top and if I might say so, are a little stodgy. Now Im sure that fig rolls are by no means meant to to be light and fluffy, but these seem to stick to the roof of the mouth and dont have that subtle crunch to the biscuit part, that I seem to remember. Perhaps this is the Jacobs variety that I used to eat many moons ago, and I think I'll actively search for a packet over the coming days. PS Love the site - keep up the hard work!|
Karl Rhodes, Northants, UK
|Nicey replies: Yes you will find the Jacob's to have a harder biscuit. Also the Lyons falls into the Burton's fig roll family and as such you need to keep an eye on the fig content which can vary between 20-30% depending on the sub-species (Lyons, Coop, Spar, Asda, Sainsbury's etc).|
I much enjoy your website, devoted as it is to... well the best things in life.
I've just voted in your current biscuit poll (but not currant biscuit poll obviously). I think it's a grand idea to show pictures of what you've just voted for, and the poll leaders.
This, however, leads on to my problem.
My favourite biscuits are from the hobnob family. I find that local supermarkets tend not to stock the
dark chocolate hobnobs, so for reasons of (local) exclusivity they are the worthy recipient of my "best" vote. (Honourable mention must go to the figrolls that some misguided fools have shown as "yuckiest"). I notice that the pictures used for dark chocolate hobnob and dark chocolate digestive appear to be ONE AND THE SAME. Obviously I realise that biscuit production methods might mean the topping is
applied in identical faashion to both biscuits. In which case I will accept your categoric assurance that the pictures are genuine. Might I be so bold as to suggest that side views could be shown in addition, so that no such confusion ensues.
I am pleased to see pink wafers getting the scorn they deserve. Quite how coloured cardboard comes to be sold as a comestible is beyond me. A dishonourable mention to Kimberleys. Not sure why they aren't a clear second place.
Keep up the good work
|Nicey replies: Tim,
You have of course spotted my guilty secret, namely that I didn't have a dark chocolate Hobnob picture so switched in a Dark Digestive. It's also plainly time that I sorted out the votes and told everybody what has been happening. I shall get to it right away.
I can say however in advance that the Top 10s are as follows:
- Dark Chocolate Digestive
- Milk Chocolate Digestive
- Milk Chocolate Hobnob
- Jaffa Cake
- Dark Chocolate Hobnob
- Chocolate Caramel Digestive
- Custard cream
- Milk Chocolate Digestive
- Dark Chocolate Digestive
- Rich Tea
- Jaffa Cake
- Custard cream
- Choc chip cookie
- Pink Wafers
- Fig Roll
- Rich Tea
- Lemon Puff
- Iced Gems
- Jaffa cake
Well done to the Gingernut and Jaffa cake for appearing in all three top 10s. Also we would like to add that the Jaffa cake is of course still a small cake despite its inclusion in the poll. Mind you maybe the VAT man will use this very poll as evidence next time they thrash out the eternal debate.