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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!
Wagon Wheel Review
|The 'has it got smaller' debate over the size of a Wagon Wheel is a perennial favourite, and gets picked up by the press every year or so in a slow news week. Interest probably peaked in the mid 90's, when French & Saunders did a sketch with Dawn dressed as a schoolgirl cramming a huge Wagon Wheel into her mouth.Burton's stock answer is 'no they haven't', and the apparent shrinkage is due to an adult's fond childhood memories of eating a Wagon Wheel held in a much smaller hand. However, this is not strictly true. The product was originally made in the Weston's factory at Slough. This closed in the early 80's, and production was transferred to a more modern plant at Llantarnam in South Wales. The old plant produced biscuits with a crinkled edge, but the new more efficient roller (sorry to get a bit geeky) did away with these in favour of a smooth circumference. This meant that the overall diameter of the biscuit was reduced by the thickness of the previous scalloped edge. Not much, probably only 5mm in total, but enough to make them just slightly smaller. So in a sense both arguments are true. The current product is slightly smaller, but not as much as those fond childhood memories will fool you into thinking. There's probably no-one left at Burton's who would remember this, but I have it on good authority from the Manufacturing Manager who supervised the transfer of production.|
Jam Sandwich Creams Review
Thank you for your wise words. The dispute has now been stettled and has a happy ending. We reached a compromise and bought both Jammie Dodgers and Jam Sandwhich Creams for the office biscuit tub.
All are content.
||I have observed and understand your taxonamy of biscuits, it is a fine explanation of the biscuit for the lesser informed world, especially those Americans. But one issue is left unexplained. Where does the 'American Style Cookie' fit in? For clarification i am not talking about Maryland cookies, but the large items sold from Stalls in shopping malls, and in packets of 5 from Sainsbury's/Tesco's etc, in flavours such as Chocolate chip, Oat and Raisin, or similar.|
These cookies are not even comparable to the biscuit, yet exist. They are large, perhaps even reaching the size of a small CD. They often have a strong, rather sickly sweet flavour, and are very soft.
It seems to me that those friends of ours across the Atlantic, lacking something in their lives, something roughly the shape of a nice cup of tea and a sitdown attempted to fill this hole. But their lack of experience and tea prevented them from achieving the heights of relaxing oat based snack that we enjoy and they ended up with the cookie.
A cookie has two sides, could concievably be dunked in tea, and my local supermarket sells them in packets. According to your site this is technically a biscuit. And there is obviously a blurred area between the cookie and the biscuit, an area which seems to be filled by the Maryland Chocolate Chip Cookie. But the packets contain only 5 cookies, a number inconprehensably small for a decent packet of biscuits, they are too soft and they besmirch the good name of the humble biscuit with their unpalitable taste and odd greasyness. I would hate to think of anyone being confused between a cookie and a biscuit, and i think you, as the nation's biscuit champion should clear up the issue. Thank You.
|Nicey replies: Yes good point. I always think that such cookies have been created to satisfy those who prefer to eat uncooked cake mixture. As such I would need overlap the biscuit circle with the uncooked cake mix circle and place cookies there.|
Wagon Wheel Review
|I was disappointed to read your review of the Wagon Wheel. At first, it promised to be a positive, but fair review. However, I read on in disgust to find it dismissed as and I quote: ?a bit like an ultra thin shortcake biscuit that has gone stale?. Admittedly, it?s not the greatest biscuit to have graced the supermarket shelves, but this review is a little unfair in my humble opinion. It almost seems as though the writer has run out of things to say, quoting the same line over and over again, spouting some nonsense about not knowing what it tastes like. I?ve been eating Wagon Wheels for many a year now, and think they deserve a little more credit.|
Joe Carter, London
|Nicey replies: Our reviews are always fair, thats the thing about them.