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|Martin De Saulles
Perhaps you can help. My brother and I were talking about great biscuits from the past and he mentioned the Barmouth biscuit. We remember it as having quite a large diameter, rather thin and with a buttery taste. Sadly we have been unable to track any down - do they still exist and, if so, where might we find some?
Keep up the good work.
|Nicey replies: Your the second person to mention them to me recently. I have to say I've never had one. Its been a while since we had a good old fashioned biscuit quest so lets start one for the Barmouth.|
|| A friend of mine called Andrew Cunningham has the inside scoop:|
"My grandad worked for McVities here in Edinburgh, and was involved on the team that invented jaffa cakes. He was credited with coming up with the ingredient that makes the orangey bit solid and yet still squishy, or something. I dunno. But anyway, the head of the team threatened
to quit because they refused to call them Jaffa Bakes, which was his
original idea. So the whole cake thing is a heresy!"
Jaffa Bakes eh? Imagine that.
|Nicey replies: Woo, juicy inside information! I think we all know why they wanted to go for the cakes name, as it would increase their profit margin with the no VAT on cakes ruling. The again that maybe didn't apply at the time.|
As a biscuit lover I am always interested in stretching the biscuit eating / sitting down envelope along new and exotic axes. To this end, last weekend I went to Morocco with my friend Alastair, and while we were there we climbed Jebel Toubkalin the High Atlas, which is in fact the highest mountain in Northern Africa. Given that no Englishman in his right mind would embark upon a hearty ramble without getting tooled up with some biscuits, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to try a sit down and a nibble outside of normal laboratory conditions.
To kick things off we ate some very poor excuses for Twix, Kit Kat and Lion bars (local franchise I expect), the chocolate was just all wrong. So we were quite excited when, as we pushed towards the snowline, the time came to unleash the proper biscuits, a packet of locally produced fare we purchased in the remote village of Imlil, called ?Anita?, which looked like a sort of chocolate/rich tea combo affair. However, gloom soon descended as it became clear that the Moroccans have a bit left to learn in the biscuit formulation department. On reflection I suspect that at the root of the problem is the fact that for many years Morocco was a French protectorate and the colonists have clearly used their biscuit influence for ill. It seems that the Anita recipe formulators decided that instead of using sugar, which may be something of a scarce commodity in the Maghreb, they would substitute a fine wood dust, similar in texture and flavour to that used to manufacture MDF (medium density fibreboard, that is). Hence you are left with a biscuit that is both tremendously fissile and tastes like a sort of dry loam.
Anyway here is a picture of Alastair putting a brave face on things and tucking into said snacks, at least the view was nice. I estimate that the two biscuits we could manage before our mouths dried out were consumed at an altitude of approximately 3,900 metres above sea level. Perhaps this could be the start of a new feature, whereby readers can attempt to have sit downs and eat biscuits in extreme environments, e.g. at the bottom of the Marianis trench in the western pacific, inside an active volcano or perhaps while free falling from a balloon in the ionosphere.
Anyway, keep up the fantastic work.
|Nicey replies: Matthew
That's an inspiring tale of man pitted against adverse biscuit conditions. Personally I've eaten muesli bars at 3,200 meters but I didn't hike up there so it doesn't really count.
Yes it would be great to hear of anybody else's tales of extreme biscuit eating, that is either in extreme environments, or just extremely nasty biscuits or both as in your tale.
I've just had the nicest cup of tea and sit down ever. I purchased some new tea bags (a highly risky move I know). Miles West Country Smugglers tea bags. They're belting, highly recommended.
|Nicey replies: Great news about the tea and sit down Jim. Never heard of the tea, but its nice to think of those smugglers having a quite moment in the day when they are not busy shipping in dodgy booze, fags and drugs for a nice cuppa. Mind you this tea selling they have got involved with will probably be their undoing, as I would think its a simple matter now for Customs an Excise to track them down.|
I have recently been directed to your website by a friend, and just in time, I should say! I have just returned from a holiday in Cornwall, the first summer hol there since 1969. Naturally, my outstanding memory of Corwall over the last 33 years has been the Cornish Fairing, supplied by Furniss of Truro. So, the frst morning I was there I popped down to the local store and bought two packets. Now, I had spent most of the 6 and a half hour journey down impressing upon my girlfriend the delignt of the Fairing.
Imagine my chagrin when her reaction was a dubious "this is just a rather feeble ginger nut".. Worse , I was forced to agree! What has happened to the noble Fairing? Once a sublime, indefinable collection of spicey things? Have the French bought out Furniss as well?
|Nicey replies: I must confess to an ignorance of these Fairings of which you speak.|