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||On my only trip to England in 1996, which I had hoped for and planned for over 20 years, I had my first tea with milk and sugar and a biscuit in Sussex. Now my mornings in Austin, Texas always begin with 2 cuppas. As for biscuits, are there Girl Scout biscuits in the U.K.? Here, the Girl Scout "cookie" sale happens once a year and the Thin Mints famously popular. These are a chocolate mint flavored crisp biscuit covered in very thin chocolate glaze. Personally, I think the taste over-powers the tea and the chocolate melts when dipped. For those reasons, my favorite is the Nabisco Lorna Doone. It has a finer texture than Walker's Shortbread and is cheaper too. Also (from Sweden) Nyakers Gingersnaps, very crisp and they come in their own tin that is attractive.|
About the tea...I make a personal blend of 2 pts. Darjeeling to 1 pt. Assam and brew for 3 minutes. I'm the only tea drinker at home so I can splurge. As for the cup; I received a Dunoon English bone china mug (design by Ruth Beck) and I loved it so much, I ordered all the others (different kinds of teas and coffees) she had done, unfortunately now discontinued.
My tea habit is a memory of England that I will have with me forever. Thank you so very much. I sent a link to your site a friend who has been ill. I told him that your site is a "vacation spot occupied by adults who are...happy!"
|Nicey replies: Hello Julie,
What a lovely Texan email you have sent us. Your tea drinking and biscuit eating sounds very resourceful and sensible. Hoorah! for you.
Unfortunately, our Girl Scouts (Guides), don't really get involved with the manufacture and distribution of biscuits.
||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!
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.