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I must agree with Ms Riley - Jaffa Cakes are definitely NOT what they used to be when I were a lad.
In the good old days, the sponge was quite brittle, providing a nice counterpoint to the jelly. However, a number of years ago they proudly proclaimed "Jaffa Cakes - with new softer sponge". Nightmare!
With the old recipe, the hygroscopic properties of the sponge were such that one could tell when the packet had been open for too long, because the sponge had gone soggy. One bite, and you would know whether it was safe to continue.
Then in one fell swoop, McVities managed to create the pre-stale Jaffa Cake. (I hasten to add that I personally never left Jaffa Cakes around long enough for them to go soggy - the problem arose at the houses of elderly aunts, or families who kept them for "special occasions". Weirdos.)
It took many years of trying (and many, many packets) before I began to enjoy my Jaffa Cakes again - but there remains the Proustian sense memory of "Eeeew, it's gone off" when I experience the texture.
For those who miss the older, more al dente Jaffa Cakes, I recommend the Marks & Spencer ones. Small, rectangular, with very dark chocolate, a good orange flavour, but most importantly sponge you can get your teeth into. They should definitely form part of the proposed Jaffa Cake Festival.
||I was very interested to read the comments about Bourbon biscuits.....I was berated by my (12 yo) daughter when I bought square ones (which were awful actually)....a Bourbon has to be rectangular...and we are in agreement that Morrison's Bettabuy ones are second to none ! She, like me, is an addict. Better a Digestive than a wrong shaped Bourbon.|
May I also comment on Jaffa cakes....they aren't a patch on the ones I remember from my youth. They do seem to go stale before you open the packet....BUT I have discovered Asda's cheap range ones....yummy!!
Anji in Stockport
|Nicey replies: Anji,
You raise a number of important and topical points. We were only discussing the very issue of incorrectly dimensioned Bourbons last night. Indeed if they are not the regulation size and shape then they probably have a poor flavour. Perhaps there is an inner council of biscuit overlords, who only permit manufacturers to use the classic shape if their biscuit meets the required standard. We had some squat little Bourbons made by Elks before Christmas and they were quite awful.
As for Jaffa Cakes, our youngest member of staff is a great admirer of the whole genre. Indeed last night at 1:00am it took three of them and some milk, before he became coherent and reasonable again. We too have tried Asda's Smartprice Jaffa Cakes and were most pleased with them. I am drawn to the idea of a grand Jaffa Cake festival in the style of our 21st Century Fig Fest, for latter this year.
||Thought Nicey should see it to believe it|
|Nicey replies: They are almost bound to spill their tea doing that.|
You write in your recent flapjack article that Fox's are "claiming the flapjack for the biscuit camp" but I would suggest that by adding the word "biscuit" to the end of their new product they are suggesting that in general the flapjack is a cake but that their new teatime delight is a biscuit take on the flapjack theme,
in my own humble opinion a flapjack is most definitely a cake.
|Nicey replies: Well I too have always regarded the flapjack as a cake, indeed I have a Pecan Flapjack only a mere 3ft away as I type this, purchased from a cake shop yesterday morning. I am planning to have in roughly an hours time with a nice cup of tea.
As for the review I was of course playing devil's advocate, in an attempt to create a mild controversy.
To follow up James Fussell's comments regarding French biscuits, let me
reveal that I have recently returned from Korea, where tea is green, watery,
un-milked and smells of boiled cabbage. I experienced similar tea in
Russia, which apart from being black is often served with a spoonful of jam
inserted in it. A surprisingly civilized custom.