Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
To help you work out what is what, are now little icons to help you see biscuit related themes. And now you can see at a glance which are the most contested subjects via this graph (requires Flash 6.0 plugin).
Please keep your mails coming in to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like, you can use this search thingy to find stuff that matches with any of the icons you pick, or use the fantastic free text search, Yay!
Griffin's vs McVities Ginger Nut Review
|Dear Sir or Madam , Having stumbled across your website, I'm amazed that McVities are quoted as makers of Ginger Nuts. Yes , they produce a bicuit with a hint of ginger in it , but in my quest to find a real ginger nut , they rate quite low! I finally found a Ginger Nut that truly lives up to its name. Sold, I admit by a German Supermarket , "LIDL" & made for them by "Parkside". These really DO have ginger in them ,it hits the taste buds after the tiniest bite,! I buy a box of 30 packets at a time to ensure against the store running out of stock. No , I dont eat them all day, I probably eat about 5 or 6 a day , but by bulk buying I never risk having to "make do" with insipid alternatives.|
|Nicey replies: Dennis,
Of course the point about Gingernuts and one of their most endearing features is how different they are between brands, and yet they are all unmistakably Gingernuts. Obviously people look for different things in different orders of importance, on their list of what makes an ideal Gingernut. Its for that reason that we have over ten reviews of different Ginger nuts/snaps/biscuits on the site, and there is plenty of scope for more.
As for Parkside that is simply Lidl's own brand. If you look at the address of their head office you'll see why. I haven't worked out where or which manufacturer makes Lidl's biscuits, but a lot of the evidence does point at Germany. However, given their EU orientated supply chain it could be just about anyplace in Europe - Germany, France, Belguim, Holland, Ireland or the UK. When I see the Parkside brand I do tend to assume that this is a product made specifically for Lidl's UK stores, and thus probably of UK origin.
We shall check out a pack next time we pass through Lidls on a fact finding mission.
Terrific site by the way and thought I would put my pennyworth in for a rare item. I am aware of your wary classification of "slices" but remember a particular confection from my army days called a nelson slice which I believe was the first and possibly only hybrid of a biscuit and a cake.
I served as a boy soldier from 65-68 (its a bit like public school but run by pyschopaths) and during a break from being screamed at and run round the square the WRVS used to set up a tea stall and to cater for our meagre wages (we got a quid a week!!) by giving us 1.5 pint mugs of tea and a nelson slice. This was a wonderful confection comprising of a top and bottom layer of the hardest pastry like biscuit with a filling of moist cake like a bread pudding, the whole lot being topped by the most lurid icing in a peculiar pink colour. The whole thing weighed about a LB and lay at the bottom of your stomach like a land mine. The thing is after eating it you were obliged to sit down as standing was impossible. The whole lot came to something like 2.5p in new money and numbed your brain with its calories and e numbers so you could carry on with the abusive regime. (ah happy days!)
Does anyone else remember these and particularly those wonderful souls of the WRVS who believed that even the most tragic case (arm dropping off, death of a close relative) could be cured by a liberal dose of tea, biscuits and nelson slices.
Regards and more power to your elbow (watch those crumbs)
|Nicey replies: Excellent, a military multi-role training biscuit/cake/slice. I wonder what Nelson had to do with it?
McVitie's Milk Chocolate and Orange Digestive Review
|I'm sure there there is more to this missing biscuits. As I stood in the Tesco's aisle with another lady both of us looking for biscuits a few weeks ago, I was disgusted to see yet again their feeble attempt to hide the fact they had very few varieties of biscuits on offer by having several rows of the same sort. I duly complained, I've decided that without repeated complaints by as many people as possible they have no reason to do anythinng about the situation.|
Whilst stocking up on our return form holiday I counted about 8 non-digestive varieties of biscuits. Now I like a digestive aswell as the next mortal but their were in fact almost as many different varieties of digestive as there were types of other biscuits. What with the plain, low fat, milk and plain chocolate Mcvities then the Tesco own ones of the same, Oh and some new fangled looking jobs with orange in. Well these took up two shelves all by themselves, I duly complained.
|Nicey replies: Yes its a strange thing isn't. McVities recent refocus on its core biscuit offerings rather than the more frilly dalliances with little bags bite size McV nonsense has seen them identify the Digestive as their No1 big brand. So the last 12 months McVities have brought us a flurry of new Digestives trying to get some extra spin of the giants that are the McVities Digestive and the McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive. Both Tesco and McVities move huge volumes of biscuits very well. The figure of 80 million pounds worth of McVities biscuits moving through Tesco each year was mentioned to me a couple of years back.
I try to sum up our book by looking at some of these sorts of issues. Essentially its a bit of a closed loop where a huge retailer takes product from a huge supplier and thus creates a situation where mono-cultures of biscuits can develop.
All both want to do really is sell you things you want to buy, and ultimately it is sales figures which determine everything. So vote with your basket. The only drawback in all of this is when you don't have many alternatives with which to vote. I'm sure it will go full circle again soon enough and we'll be getting emails about what happened to 'such and such' sort of Digestive, the weak one at the back of the herd, picked off by the wolves of lower demand. We will see in another 12 months which ones are left standing.
I have recently started a new job where my tea-drinking and biscuit-eating is oft derided and little understood. I am however recognised as a bit of a caffeine and cake buff, obviously due in great part to knowledge gleaned from your fabulous site. But I cannot answer a question from a certain young lad named Jimmy, who wishes to know what process tea goes through when it is decaffeinated, and whether it is truly safe to sip a decaffeinated brew, or if it's stuffed full of extra chemicals and whatnot. If your readers and you might be able to throw light on this knotty issue, I'd be ever so grateful, and my reputation as Queen of Tea might just remain intact.
With everlasting admiration
|Nicey replies: Well we were as much in the dark about this as you, we sort of knew solvents were involved. So we asked the people who know the Tea Council, and received this very helpful reply from Bill
There are three methods used to wash caffeine out of tea, but number one of the following list is most commonly used.
- Di Choloromethylene (organic solvent)
- Ethyl Acetate (organic solvent)
- Super Critical Co2 (high temperature / under pressure)
All methods are governed by legal limits and of course you never get absolutely all caffeine out. There is always a residue but the industry works to a standard of 0.02g / 100g
Towards the end of the production process (about forty minutes in) but before drying, the tea is washed in an organic solvent (this procedure is common to all products that are decaffeinated) and after washing is sent to the dryer.
The entire industry takes great care to ensure that solvent residues are at fractional levels in the dry leaf when the process is completed. Every production run is rigorously tested for solvent and caffeine residues and those levels are governed by law. Extensive testing has shown that any fractional solvent residue found in the dry leaf evaporates as the scalding water is introduced to the decaffeinated tea.
I hope this helps.
This is a polite but firm request for you to remove the foul and fematatory language regarding Pink Wafers which I have just read in the FAQ's of the Biscuit bit of your otherwise excellent website.
Although nowadays I have to buy 'Pink Panther Biscuits' out of Somerfield to get my fix, I can still happily eat an entire packet dunked in tea and still feel that I could go another one without too much bother.
Each to their own of course, you're entitled to your opinion, but they certainly aren't "unpleasant at best," and are amongst my favourite biscuits of all time.
(P.S. I discovered Penguin-Tea-Straws through your website, and am eternally grateful...)
|Nicey replies: You won't be keen on what I said about them in our book then.|