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||I woke up this morning thinking, "Do Nice biscuits really come from Nice?" We live in Canada now, but my wife is originally from Nice so I asked her, and after we'd sorted out why the frig I was waking her up at half past six on a Sunday - she didn't actually say 'frig', her English is that good now, but I know there are sensitive ears out there amongst biscuiphiles - she thought about it for a minute and said, "What the frig is a Nice biscuit?" So, I set out to find out, and lo and behold I discovered your Internet site. Thank you, a gap well filled. Anyway, my point is this. We all know|
how appalling the French can be when they try, but if we must have a go at them, let's leave it to their predilection to vote for lunatics. On the biscuit front I'd guess the "Nice" is an English creation made especially to undermine the image of France as a land of the sublime. If you really want to face the issue head on, try tackling the Lu Petit Ecolier, dark chocolate. A biscuit as remarkable as it is simple, and yet another reason to have France allowed to remain exactly as it is, unchanged from this point forth, given protected status and declared a world cultural theme park.
|Nicey replies: Glad we could help out with your biscuit query. The main thing to realise about Nice biscuits is they are vile, regardless of who is responsible for them. Your Wife is wise to distance herself from these biscuits by denying all knowledge of them, and all citizens of Nice would be do well to follow her example.
France is indeed a lovely place, I go there when ever possible to ski and drink tea at altitude. In the summer I like nothing better than to visit the Loire, Charante and Vesére valleys, where I have any amount of very enjoyable sit downs. French food and wine is fantastic, they've got some outstanding cakes. I work with a bunch of French folks and one French Canadian, all lovely people and many have developed a taste for digestives, Jammy Dodgers and other fine biscuits.
Regrettably, however French biscuits in general are crap. I've had those Petit Ecolier jobs, Milk Chocolate and Caramel Choc, and indeed refer to them in my Biscuit FAQ, they are an attempt to make Petit Beurre palatable by putting a big old lump of chocolate, on top. They nearly succeeded but the Petit Beurre underneath detracted from it. They also had to stack them in some sort of tray insert thing 4 compartments of 3 if I remember correctly.
Tim Tam vs Penguin Review
I am interested to know if you have Tim Tams in Britan. I don't, in any way, want to detract from Sandie Cleland's insights about the 'Kit Kat Straw', indeed I applaud them generously. However I thought you might like to know of a similar phenomenon in Australian biscuit tradition called the 'Tim Tam Slam'. Irritatingly basketbally term but a singlularly worthwhile persuit which involves biting diametrically opposite corners off the rectangular, choc-covered Tim Tam and sucking hot beverages through them. Public opinion is divided on whether this practice constitues a violation of the TT which is regarded as the luxury biscuit for rich and poor alike and has semi totem status here.
A while ago, I bought some Cadbury's cookies that came in a transparent celophane bag contained inside a nice cardboard box. These cookies rocked. Unfortunately, besides the original Portsmouth co-op I bought them from, I've not been able to find any other shops that do. This is unfortunate, because they taste damn nice.. perhaps you could use your biscuiteering resources to track them down.
Although the Safeway cookies are a worth substitute.
|Nicey replies: Well they sound similar to Cadbury's Animal Shapes biscuits which are simply fantastic. Even if they weren't Animal biscuits I would recommend that you go get some for a special treat. In fact I'm off to the shops later I'll get some hoorah.
Does that help?
I noticed quite a few international additions to the biscuit reviews page, so as a POM living in New Zealand for a year, i thought i'd take the opportunity to add the database of world biscuit data.
NZ biscuit information worthy of note:
"Jammy Dodgers" are called "Shrewsburys" over here. For no good reason whatsoever, as far as i've been able to find out.
Kiwis are extremely fond of "Afghans", a rough textured, baked, choclatey affair. Ironically, they are shaped slightly like the funny Pork pie hats that the Taleban wore.
Although not really a biscuit, "Chocolate Fish" seem to be a national institution here, usually used as an incentive for kids to work harder at school.
Hope this biscuit data is of some interest :o)
urther investigation into the mildly odd world of Kiwi bicuits has revealed that Shrewsbury's made specifically by Griffins (http://www.griffins.co.nz/), but a your average Kiwi would call any Jam sandwhich biscuit a Shrewsbury.
As for the chocolate fish, the Kiwis i've talked to about them are shocked to find that they aren't a world-wide phenomenon, as they grew up expecting a chocolate fish (Pronounced "fush" here) anytime they did anything good at school.
Link to a Cadubury's NZ catalogue (Including Chocolate fish):
How to get a lifetime's supply of Chocolate Fish :o)
Some rather ornate looking (and FUN to eat) chocolate fish, but possibly not authentic Kiwi types..
Enjoy your chocolate fishing & congrats on the web site (Especially Apocolypse bunny), as you can probably tell i do have a bit of spare time at work at the moment, and your website has been an ideal accompaniment to all the tea and biscuits i've been scoffing :oD
|Nicey replies: Thanks for that valuable biscuit info Mark. Its important to keep a global perspective on biscuits. Do you know if Shrewsburys are generic jam sandwich biscuits, or are made by any company in particular? The Chocolate Fish sound good, do you have a picture or link to one?
Hoorah for odd Kiwi biscuit/cake things!
I was browsing around your lovely site and tried to think of the biscuits I enjoyed as a lad. I remembered a biscuit which was fantastically nice and can't remember what on Earth it was called, and decided to seek your advice. It was a donut shaped bisciut, with a 2 colour pattern (actually very similar to the pink and yellow on your site), possibly with a biscuit centre, but not sure about that last bit. The coloured icing coating was the best part. By the way, do you know anything about that cat whos been doing a biscuit column in Loaded magazine?
Thanks for your help
|Nicey replies: I think you speak of the Party Ring, a biscuit which is held in high esteem by many. I saw some in our local Iceland the other week. I don't have time to read anything printed on paper, so no not heard of the biscuit cat, hope he's not talking crap about biscuits.