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Whilst visiting an old chum in ancient Bath recently, I was offered a biscuit called a "Vast Banket". This delicious morsel was encrusted with peanuts, which shone due to the rich glaze that had been added to the biscuit's surface, presumably as a last action and final thought of the genius inventor of this treat.
It was undunkable, but complemented tea very nicely, as long as said cup of tea was nice and sweet.
On returning to my home, I was unable to procure a packet of Vast Bankets for love nor money; though I dearly wish to do so, as the name alone has put it in my Biscuit Top Five.
Can you or any of our lovely friends tell me how this assumedly European biscuit ended up in my friend's biscuit jar; where it was purchased; and it's delicious origins? The only explanation he gives to me is that "the wife must have bought them", an action which she has no recollection of. I would appreciate any insight into this most elusive and mysterious biscuit.
Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley Review
You are indeed a wise and brave man to take on such a subject with such honesty and candour. I have these last 14 years or so been married to a lass of Irish lineage and have several friends of Irish descent to whom I affectionately refer as "Plastic Paddies" who would turn in their graves would they to read your review of the Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley biscuits (and, of course, were they dead, which they are not by the good grace of God).
I must, however, agree wholeheartedly with you on this most Important-To-The-Heart-Of-The-Irish subject as I can see no redeeming qualities in this stalest of stale-tasting piece of cr@p that they revere so highly. I was beginning to doubt my own sanity as everyone remotely Irish seems to love them. I too went through the "are you sure they were stored in a dry place..." experience and fail to see the attraction. It may be that their taste-buds are being over-ridden by their nostalgic memories of childhood holidays in that most beautiful Emerald Isle (Nice place, shame about the biscuits) I am beginning to think that that the Irish do not just inherit the Guinness Gene and its marvelous powers of post-drinking recovery.
I have now, however, been inspired by your description of the chocolate variety of Kimberly to actively seek them out.
I shall recommend your website to every one of my friends. They will both find it interesting.
|Nicey replies: Yes, I just called it the way I saw it. The Wife is Northern Irish and as such doesn't have the Kimberley tolerance gene. Tony from the fig-fest has an Irish wife and has exactly the same tale to tell.|
Thought I'd just drop you a note to tell you about a great little bikkie annecdote that I was recently told by a work collegue. We were all sitting down to cups of tea instead of the usual formal team meeting. I had read the Rich Tea review and it got me thinking about how I used to like them when I was a small tacker - the Australian ones have raisins in them - so I'd dashed down to Clancy's and bought a packet. Unfortunately the old nostagia thing caught me out again - they were very dissapointing - my suspicions should have been raised by the $1.62 price tag. I subsequently had the humiliating experience of failing to peddle them around the office for free.
Anyway, though I know that story is riveting enough but it wasn't the one I was going to mention. We didn't end up getting much work done but we were having a broad back-to-basics type discussion about some very in-depth topics including some stuff along the lines of "how much do people really like biscuits and who are they". One of my team mates is from Bangladesh and while she was saying that she can't really get too fired up about any kind of bikkie - even chocolatey ones aparently - she claims that her husband is quite the opposite and will readily eat several packets at a sitting. He likes to recall times in his late teenage years when his passion for Marie biscuits led him to cycle to India once a week (aparently Maries are unavailable in Bangladesh). Even though the border between the countries might have been a matter of only 10 ks or so, I still think the story is a terrific little heart warmer about grass-roots biscuit committment. Although, aparently the said husband doesn't bother much with Maries these days, even though they are available here, the dazzling array of contemporary Australian sit-down fare eclipses those younger days.
PS: Thanks for the recent work, it's all nice.
Good tea, methinks, is like fine wine (not that I can drink that nowadays): it should be served as is, so that one can savour its subtleties. OK, if it's a plain brown wrapper sort of tea, a wee dram of milk might even improve it. In the olden days, I used to add a drop of evaporated milk for a nice flavour. But milk with pure Ceylon, or Assam, Darjeeling, Russian Caravan, Scottish Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, ye gods, that's not NICE! I was once given a cup of Earl Grey with milk in it. It tasted a bit like shaving cream. And I do know what shaving cream tastes like. I once brushed my teeth with it. Not a practice I would reccomend.
|Nicey replies: Hi Brian,
We drink our tea with a dash of milk, too much and our very hard water creates a mad sort brown film which slides around the sides of the mug in a fairly off putting way.
We are three Temps having our last day together at a car rental admin office and are all fans of your site. We are having a special tea and biscuits sit down this afternoon.
I said we should all vote for what biscuits we should have (2 packets). Only choc chip cookies came up as a common vote, all the rest were different so I shall abuse my power as the one going to the shop to choose the second packet.
Anyway one thing we have not come across on your site is the hot topic of tea making. Mike says put the milk in last I say put it in before the hot water. Scientifically I know the tea will brew more if hotter (i.e. water before milk) but tea making is an art as well as a science and I prefer the texture of tea made milk first. Any official Nicecupofteaandasitdown view on the subject?
|Nicey replies: We make our tea milk last, however that is our preference. Tea is such a personal matter that we wouldn't be as bold as to say which is the correct way of making it and drinking it. However, George Orwell had no such compunctions a wrote a definitive essay on how to make and drink tea. This was in the days prior to mugs and tea-bags, both of which I think he would have disapproved of.