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||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
Although I find myself agreeing absolutely with most of your biscatorial reviews, I do think you are a tad unfair to the Nice biscuit. I find that a simple test of the popularity of a biscuit is to see which ones are left until last in the average "fancy assortment" tin. We all know:
- that the chocolate covered ones are the first to go
- that you might well have to resort to feeding the pinkie wafers to the nearest dog so that you can dispose of them (to avoid breaching the rules that requires you to finish the first layer before proceeding to the second layer)
However....my inclination would be to favour the Nice biscuits over the Bourbons (always a disappointment) or anything with icing on it.
If I find a packet of 3 Nice biscuits on a hotel bedroom's hospitality table, I think it implies that it is a respectable establishment, with no pretentions. It's not the sort of place that would have frilly-knocker blinds instead of proper curtains and there would be a bath as well as a shower.
There is a certain classiness to the pattern, convenient dunking shape, sugar distirbution and general svelteness of the Nice biscuit - not to mention that slight "coconut hit" afterwards. Also, it has stood the test of time, so it must have got something going for it. Unusually, it's one of those biscuits that I prefer without the addition of a layer of chocolate. That implies a pretty sound biscuit to me.
If you are not having a similar experience with this fine piece of confectionery, then perhaps there's some biscuit-related trauma behind your prejudice that we should know about?
PS My mother-in-law has made a pint of custard every day for my father-in-law for the past 56 years. Allowing for holidays and the odd leap year - I reckon that's at least 45 gallons a year - a staggering 2,520+ gallons over the course of their marriage. That must make her a custard expert. Although the usual brand she uses is Bird's - she confesses a partiality to custard powder purchased in Ireland. Whenever I visit Ireland i come back with a huge stash of custard powder for her. Now I know of Wifey's connection to Ireland, would you agree that this is a superior product?
|Nicey replies: Kate,
I'm not sure why I have got it in for the Nice biscuit (apart from the coconut which I don't like and its daft name), but I think its healthy to have a nemesis or two.
As for all that Custard that deserves the erecting of some sort permeant commemorative monument and possibly a small visitor centre with a coach park. We haven't bagged any Irish Custard but I've been told about it. I once did an interview on Irish radio's Ray D'arcy show whilst somebody in the studio made some which was exciting. Apparently Irish Custard Powder is made by the same people who make Birds, so maybe they make it a bit differently for Ireland or it is exactly the same and its wishful thinking. Given your Mum-in-law's experience I wouldn't like to push that last point too far.
||Hello Nicey & Wifey,|
only a couple of days ago I got your book with a comment like: Something sweet and funny.
Well, having read it within a few hours I had to reply: This is some really serious stuff. I donít think itís funny :-).
I run a tiny little Fudgery & British Shop in Bavaria (somewhere between Munich and Salzburg)
www.wasserburg.de . So, do not fear to pay a visit to the continent sometime. Thereís always a good supply of Digestives, Hob Nobs (shame itís only the plain ones now), homemade shortbread, homemade biscuits and scones etc. You can enjoy a nice cup of tea as well (Iím working on the sit down at the moment, which will be 2 chairs/small table and the window showcase has to goÖ.but what the heck) Will drop a line once a Nicecupofteaandasitdown (for 2) is provided at the Fudge Mahal.
Mit freundlichen GrŁŖen
|Nicey replies: Hi Elke,
Hoorah for your lovely shop. I love your 360 degree panorama on your site. Also I have to congratulate you on your British shelves, PG Tips, Ambrosia Custard and Rice Pud, McVities Digestives, Sarsons Vinegar, Cream Crackers, Horlicks, Rose's Marmalade, Nairns Oatcakes but I see you've drawn the line at Marmite.
If we ever find ourselves in Bavaria or fall out of the back of the Tirol sometimes we'll pop in for a cuppa.
Love the website. Prawnzilla made me laugh a lot!
I thought you'd like to know about something my girlfriend and I are organising. It's a mountain bike adventure race in the Keswick and Borrowdale are of the Lake District on Saturday the 4th of November this year.
It's called the TeaRoom Challenge and is intended for all abilities. We're running it to bring people together and enjoy mountain biking and experience the pleasures of tea, cake and the lovely tea rooms of the Lake District.
Details of the event including the rules are on our website.
We have spoken to a lot of the tea rooms and if it is successful this year, they are happy to give the money for tea and cake towards a charity next time we run it. Everyone would be a winner!
Thanks for your time,
|Nicey replies: That sounds like a very good plan indeed. Let us know how you all got on we are looking forward to all those pictures of tea and cake (as well as the lovely scenery).|
||Hi Nicey |
I've just been introduced to your site by a good friend. Much as I enjoy it, it saddens me that I find you at such a "difficult" time. The demise of the plain chocolate hob nob has obviously hit everyone very hard indeed. While I myself have to hold my hand up and admit to no love of plain chocolate my friends grief is quite tangible. I tried to console her that it might be some sort of cynical marketing trick, much like the death and instant resurrection of Heinz Salad Cream. I fear now that I may have offered her false hope. Still chin up and thanks once again for the site.
||Hi Nicey & Wifey,|
Like other readers I am not surprised to read on your site that the much to be preferred Plain Chocolate Hobnob has been dropped. My local branch of Tesco hasn't featured it on its shelves for some time now. As a "mature" (53) biscuit eater with a "sophisticated" palate I always opt for a dark version over the milk should there be a choice. I don't see how McVities are going to get more sales if they are not going to appeal to the older consumer. Don't they realise that the population is, on the whole, getting older and they, the silver haired sophisticates that is, aren't interested in the new-fangled but prefer tried and trusted favourites? McVities are undoubtedly running a strong risk of alienating a very sizeable section of the biscuit buying - and eating - public and, moreover, one that doesn't want to be coerced into paying over the odds for a favourite comestible.
Incidentally, has anybody else found it hard to get fig rolls in Tesco? My local Tesco Extra has stopped stocking them and I could not find them at the local Tesco Superstore. Sainsbury, to their credit, had both their own brand, which were tasteless, and Jacobs ( yum, yum!). Now I don't know if my short term memory is playing up but those aforementioned Jacobs Fig Rolls had ridges on top, I believe, just like the biscuit of old. Have Jacobs gone back to the old recipe or did I enter a time-warp in that supermarket and retrieve that packet from my past? I'm going to have to return there and buy another packet to check.
|Nicey replies: Very good point about the growing grey pound, a phenomena that McVities are themselves instrumental in now that they have removed the trans-fats from their biscuits and lowered sodium.
Our local Tesco too has dramatically reduced the size of its biscuit aisle, and probably as a company Tesco have been backing away from the Plain Chocolate Hobnob all of 2006 as sales slowed. As we saw with Abbey Crunch this can now be the death knell for a previously high volume product. It's not good for consumers to have our McVities buying choices apparently dictated primarily by the combination of the biscuit buyer at Tescos and the brand managers at McVities. No doubt the two have a long list of statistics about sales and consumer trends to back up their decisions, it just seems in this case that the tube was factored out of the equation long ago when in fact it was the explanation.
Certainly when we do visit our nearest Sainsburys the biscuit aisle seems extensive, inviting, stimulating and somehow sympathetic. Wifey knows now to go and do two or three other things while I'm ensconced in there making important and considered decisions. I get a similar feeling when visiting the very large and extensive Ironmongers in town as opposed to nipping into Homebase/B&Q etc.
As for the ridges on Jacob's Fig Rolls yes they are back, although they seem to me to be not such a problem as those of old which could harbour excessive amounts of crust.