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Vimto and Vanilla Thriller Jammie Dodgers Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I was relaxing at home with my wife last night when she suddenly remembered a rather exciting biscuit purchase she'd made before. She'd been looking for plain chocolate digestives in Asda, she said, when she found some limited edition jammy dodgers which purported to include not only the standard jam but also custard. Intrigued, I went into the kitchen and retrieved the biscuits.
Unfortunately, the experience was far from magical. I wasn't expecting anything remotely resembling real custard, but hoped for at least a rhubarb-and-custard style dichotomy between the biscuit layers. It wasn't to be, though - the custard was stretchy and sticky like the jam, and tasted the same as well, leading me to believe that these weren't in fact jammy dodgers containing custard, merely jammy dodgers in which half of the jam had been artificially manipulated to look like custard.
Aside from this, the usual jammy dodger setbacks remained. The horizontal packaging style always leaves the jam/custard from the biscuits in the top layer stuck to the wrapper and unsalvageable. Why do they do this? I suspect it's to make the packet of biscuits seem larger - if they were stacked vertically in the normal fashion they'd never get away with only giving you twelve in the packet. Also the extreme stickiness of the filling prevented any meaningful enjoyment being extracted from separating the biscuits - they simply crumbled in my hands.
I know this isn't really feedback of the variety people normally send into you, I just thought it was important that you were made aware of this gimmicky, facile biscuit. I was going to send some in to you so you could test out their custard-ness for yourselves, but unfortunately I'd eaten all of them by the time I'd made up my mind. My wife wasn't too happy about that either.
|Nicey replies: Yes they sound almost identical to the Vanilla Thriller Jammie Dodgers we reviewed a while back. Definitely one of those occasions when something sounds much better on paper. I think Jammie Dodgers are only ever going to be two biscuits connected with a squirt of jammie glue. Much as we can imagine them morphing into a new higher form that has a layer of something else in there its never going to happen.
I'm glad you raised the rhubarb and custard point. Nanny Nicey has always said there should be a Rhubarb and Custard cream biscuit. Indeed a couple of years ago I was invited into the Sainsbury's mothership to talk about ideas for new biscuits and suggested this. It was very well received and they even got Fox's involved who did some brainstorming around the idea, with various classic British Puddings interpreted through the medium of biscuits being suggested, but it never proceeded further. It would be a terrific biscuit though.
||Hello Nicey and Wifey,|
I'm French, and I lived some seven years in England, I thoroughly enjoyed these years. But I still have my tea without milk nor sugar.. Which stops me from enjoying the strong brew I often get in most tea places, even if I ask for a very weak tea.
Only posher places allow you to remove the tea bag before the tea is undrinkable, or give you a jug of water to weaken the tea...
Are you all horrified out there???
Now for custard: yes I admit having enjoying some custards, school dinners ones, home made ones made from Bird's I suppose, but I love trifle, and I have an excellent English recipe that doesn't use jelly, but home made custard (from eggs and milk, but with a special tip which I will reveal on your site if anyone would like to hear it), and also using mostly fresh fruit. Of course in summer I use fresh strawberries, peaches, apricots, to the delight of my French guests who first say "What? Not an English dessert!!
Anybody interested in my recipe?
And to finish with, another addition to British shopping abroad: in the little town of Foix (Ariège) where I live, there is a litttle shop called "Simply British" where you can find all this delicious stuff, even Marmite among other things, that I used to have to bring back from England every time I went there on holiday. The shop is run by an English lady, and the adress is Rue des Chapeliers, should you wish to visit that lovely and peaceful part of France. (By the way, lots of British people have bought houses and are settling or plan to settle there at retirement.There is even a B and B place run by English people, and an English restaurant with a English chef, who makes delicious puddings with custard...The place is called Gaia and the 3 ^places are in the same street in Foix
Voilà tout, merci for your site, and I look fotward to any queries!
Keep up the good work
|Nicey replies: Apart from your dubious tea mangling ways you seem otherwise very well adjusted.
Actually the YMOS and I went fruit picking on Sunday at our local fruit farm which is literally the other side of the road from NCOTAASD HQ, even if it is half a mile away down that road. Having gone a bit mad on the raspberries, I juiced the excess added sugar and set it with some gelatine to make fresh raspberry jelly. Some trifle sponges and strawberry blancmange later and we had pudding. Yes I did briefly agonise over the custard vs blancmange issue, but I have a backlog of strawberry blancmange.
So far in our tea tours of France we have never made it down as far as the Pyrenees, but we would love to visit one day.
Just to update you and any of your NY readers who might be craving the mighty Digestive...
I did find another place that not only had Digestives, Jaffa Cakes, and Birds Custard (in tins and powder form), but also tins of rhubarb and a goodly selection of fresh English sausages. So you're catered for through the whole meal!
Myers of Keswick is the place, and is at 634 Hudson St, NY 10014.
Yes it's a shade pricey, but after a drought of Digestives for the last months, it was worth the extra few bucks.
|Nicey replies: Thanks Neil,
Yes that place looks like a life saver, thanks for passing it on.
||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 don’t think it’s 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. There’s always a good supply of Digestives, Hob Nobs (shame it’s only the plain ones now), homemade shortbread, homemade biscuits and scones etc. You can enjoy a nice cup of tea as well (I’m working on the sit down at the moment, which will be 2 chairs/small table and the window showcase has to go….but what the heck) Will drop a line once a Nicecupofteaandasitdown (for 2) is provided at the Fudge Mahal.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
|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.