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Iced Gems Review
In a day of remarkable co-incidences, I note with dismay that Iced Gems were placed as the 6th yuckiest biscuit behind the very-deserving-of-revulsion pink wafers and fig rolls. Only this lunchtime did I discover that the people who stock our mangy vending machines here at work had, in an all-too-rare moment of inspired brilliance placed a bag of iced gems in one of the machines. Having not had them for years I immediately purchased what has to be one of the all time classic biscuits and sated my desire of sugary lumps of icing and biscuit bases. This led to me idly wondering why water biscuits are called water biscuits (slow day at the office) and a quick Google later I happened upon your site by way of a review of Jamaican water biscuits. After a contented browse and some sage noddings regarding your conclusions on Jaffa Cakes, I was horrified to see the Iced Gem, that marvellous staple of kids’ birthday party food, being universally rejected by the biscuit loving public. To rub salt in the wounds, I also note that the singularly disgusting Fig Rolls somehow also figured highly in both the regular and favourite charts and that the magnificent and criminally underrated Bourbon cream being beaten by Fig Rolls in the favourites section!
This unthinkable heresy says only one thing: the biscuit eating public have been led astray. I think you should start a campaign immediately to promote these shining examples of the biscuit maker’s art and help them regain what is rightfully theirs – the number one and two slots in the regular and favourite charts and to leave the yukky chart immediately. This should be done because they are an important part of our heritage, and not at all because I am a random wackjob with too much time on their hands and who happens to like these biscuits. Not at all. Oh no.
Steve “Bourbon King” Pettifer
Mint Viscount Review
This is in response to the utter madness that is the Mcvities mint chocolate digestive. Have the reviewers here gone stark raving? A packet o these atrocities was bought by a member of our team last week, and we collectively have still not recovered from the incident. Milk chocolate, mint and biscuit simply do not belong together, and I will not rest until this product has been recalled, for the sake of all of us and our children.
|Nicey replies: Well then that's the Mint Viscount, the Mint Penguin and the Mint Club all scuppered too.|
Your glorious website appears to be letting us all down with some incredibly offbeat observations on shortbread. Or rather, on the nature of the United Kingdom in which we all live - which, being united, includes England AND Scotland And Wales And Northern Ireland. So why shouldn't a Scottish biscuit represent the United Kingdom? Why should it automatically be an English one? Presumably the Irish get their own sweet because Eire is actually a separate member of the EU. But Scotland is part of the UK, and therefore to put in your poll "I thought it was Scottish" in response to the question "Is shortbread representative of UK baking" is pretty ridiculous - to be Scottish is to be representative of the UK! When you talk about a Victoria sponge you're talking about the representative cake of ENGLAND, rather than the UK.
Sorry, i seem to be going round in circles with my anger but it gets so annoying to have the English continually talk about England when actually they mean Great Britain etc. You don't expect to see it on a biscuit level as well. Biscuits should rise above these things. As should your wonderful website.
Thanks for listening to the rant
|Nicey replies: You see I knew I was going to get one of these. Yoda would have much to say about this, fallen in a the trap of you own anger have you, I expect.
I am English but being raised in Wales and and having an Irish wife I like to think we have a broader outlook, so I think its your own view that's colouring what I said. Which was Shortbread is very Scottish. Of course that's part of the UK, but its very regional, just as Welsh Cakes are very Welsh, and Parkin is very Northern English. I thought a Victoria Sandwich was more representative of the whole UK.
I heard about your website on the Ray D'Arcy Show on Ireland's Today FM and fell in love with it. In particular the recent Jaffa Cake review, it helped me settle a debate with my French housemate that McVities are in fact the original, although we're still debating if they're the best!! We're awaiting a delivery of PIMs so we can do a taste test!
Just one thing bothered me recently, in Paul Master's email about the European sweet chart he eluded that Ireland is part of Great Britain, which clearly it isn't!! I'm sorry to be pedantic, but as an Irish person living in the UK, I really feel strongly about my national identity and can't believe the number of people over here who seem to still consider Ireland the same as the UK!
Really do love the website though!!
|Nicey replies: As you may know Wifey is Irish so we have the whole geo/political map thing under control. Its all quite simple really.
The British Isles are a bunch of islands on Europe's western Atlantic coast. The two biggest are Great Britain and Ireland, but there are lots more including the Isle of Man, The Channel Islands, the Shetlands, Orkneys and Western Isles. Great Britain is divided into three countries England, Wales and Scotland. Ireland has two The Republic of Ireland (Eire) and Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales and Scotland.
So to recap Great Britain is the big island. The UK is the political union of four countries.
I'm not sure that Paul actually implied that Ireland is part of Great Britain, but he did say Ireland which as I have explained encompasses two separate European member states as the cake obsessed Austrians should be aware.
Good grief. I need a cuppa after that.
I actually bothered to look at the European sweet chart and I noticed there are also scones on there. I would assume that it is the scone that represents England and not the shortbread. Whether scones can be counted as sweet I am not sure as it is the topping that is sweet and not the scone itself.
Anyway the shortbread must represent Scotland (even though it doesn't look like any shortbread I have ever eaten so I do fear it is a foreign kind). So that leaves the waffles to represent Ireland or Wales, I am not sure which. With one country of Great Britain missing out.
It is clear these EU technocrats know nothing of sweet things and there importance in the fabric of everyday life. I will write to my local European Member of Parliament (as soon as I find out who he is) and tell them to employ you as their biscuit adviser.
And I got through all that without making a silly joke about the Wienerbrod.
|Nicey replies: The Scones are for Eire, as they are a type of Soda Bread made traditionally with sour buttermilk that's a good call on Irish cuisine. Mind you they could have put a few sultanas in them.
The Shortbread is for the UK but is more evocative of Scotland to us. Maybe visitors to the UK don't really take in the Scottish regional tartan package thing, and just think (London | Stratford Upon Avon | Cambridge/Oxford | Scotland (I think that covers it)) = Shortbread Fingers with your coffee, regardless of the fact they were exported over a national boundary. I think they should have had a nice big slice of Victoria Sponge filled with fresh cream and strawberry jam for us.