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Here in leafy Sheffield the Fig Roll crisis has been hitting hard. No major supermarket has any and only Sainsbury's has taken the sensible step of putting a little note on the shelf where the Fig Roll price ticket would usually be, explaining the 'industry-wide' shortage. I also note that unlike other retailers, they are leaving the gap on the shelf where the FR packs should be. I can only think that either they:
a) anticipate re-stocking in the near future and so don't want to waste time re-aligning the entire biscuit aisle to cover up the empty space
b) see it as a fitting mark of the gravity of the situation and are leaving the space out of respect and/or as an optimistic vigil. If health and safety regulations did not prevent it I'd pop a tea-light candle in the gap myself.
On the bright side a small newsagents on Glossop Road (near to 'New Roots') has a stock of Crawfords brand Fig Rolls- not my brand of choice but obviously we can't be fussy in these difficult times. I'm limiting myself to two packs at the moment but if there are any left on the way home this afternoon I might not be able to resist.
Finger's crossed that the Turkish Fig-Farmers will be back in business soon,
|Nicey replies: I managed to pick up a pack of Jacobs this morning so it looks like the cut then bake fig rolls are weathering the crisis for some reason. I'm very pleased to hear that you have got hold of some Crawfords as I had my doubts that they would keep on making them once Jacobs joined United Biscuits.|
|Hello Nicey, Wifey & YMOS,|
At last! Sainsbury's are stocking the elusive dark chocolate HobNob- at least a certain branch in Greater Manchester is (I should probably keep the exact location under wraps to avoid a stampede- I don't want to be responsible for the M6 being even more gridlocked than usual). Anyway, I managed to show remarkable restraint and only bought one packet, although considerably less when I got them home and ate 3 in one go. They'd just sidled back onto the shelves as though they'd never been away- no attention drawn to them at all. I would have thought the least they deserved was a label saying "back by popular demand" or something, perhaps even their own end-of-aisle display. I've also noticed that Sainsbury's, at least the couple of branches I frequent in the Greater Manchester area, seem to have stopped selling Tim Tams, although I've had reports of branches in the South still selling them. Maybe it's a whole new North/South biscuit divide: the South gets exotic foreign biscuits, while the North gets flat cap-wearing HobNobs. I'm already picturing surreptitious meetings in a service station cafe (probably with rubbish tea in chipped mugs) somewhere in the Midlands with people from opposite ends of the country swapping packs of DC HobNobs and Tim Tams under the table before smuggling them back home and opening biscuit-speakeasies. But that's probably just my imagination running wild.
|Nicey replies: Thanks for the Dark Chocolate Hobnob tip off. Will we all start showing our age by calling them Plain rather than Dark I wonder, much in the way my Nan used to call our 1970's Sony Music centre with its pre-soft eject top loading fling it across the room cassette eject - the radiogram. Actually I'm showing my age just divulging that. Some of you are probably wondering what a cassette is.
You make a good point about the TimTams the've not been catching my eye recently either.
|Richard and Sue Knight
Custard Cream Review
|Hi Nicey & Wifey|
I just wanted to tell you about the 'biscuit club' we hold on a Friday evening in the snug at The Horse & Groom pub in Linby, nr Nottingham. It all started about 9 months ago when my wife accidentally told one of the other snugglers (snug regulars) that I had once created a spoof website dedicated to Custard Creams (my favourite biscuits). Incidentally, it was whilst researching for this website, about 7 years ago, that I first came across your own fabulous website which has gone from strength to strength.
Said snuggler arrived one Friday evening and as he walked in, threw a large packet of Sainsbury's custard creams at me, fortunately the alcohol had sharpened my senses and I was able to catch the packet of biscuits and prevent any major damage from befalling them.
I found myself to be the centre of attention at this point and had to explain to the assembled masses exactly what you could put on a 'custard cream' website. I told them about the fun our group, who became nicknamed "The Biscuit Boys", had at work, trying the huge variety of different makes, and in particular finding out about the 'other' uses for custard creams such as building blocks, dominoes, skittles etc and about how you could make useful articles such as a tea pot stand from said biscuits.
The evening finished with the landlord of the establishment rolling a barrel shaped measure off the bar onto a table below and trying to knock down as many of the biscuit 'skittles' as he could. For some unknown reason it was decided that we should form a biscuit club and somehow I ended up as chairman or "chair biscuit" as I prefer to be known.
Since then we have had over 30 meetings where we bring along assorted packets of biscuits which we all try and then vote on our favourite which is declared biscuit of the week. We have also had a few 'special' evenings including a cheese night, a cold cooked meats night and a sausage night and we are planning a "Puddings you can eat with custard" night in the near future.
One of the highlights of our evenings had been the ongoing saga of the Jaffa Cake which has led to many alcohol fuelled discussions taking place, but for me the absolute crowning glory was when the wife and I walked in one Friday evening to find everyone eagerly awaiting us as the Landlady had a presentation to make. Imagine my delight when I was presented with a copy of your excellent book which they had come across whilst on holiday. This tome has become the club bible and is called upon (usually without any great success) to settle any arguments over the provenance of any particular item brought along as a 'Biscuit'.
Although I had told the other members about your website I had not visited for quite some time but have now renewed my acquaintance with it and as you may see, signed up for the newsletter. I am now wondering if you would like to put a feature about our 'Biscuit Club' on your website to encourage other biscuit aficionados to form similar groups and would be willing to provide any information, pictures etc to facilitate this. Or maybe you could even start a sister site, "A Nice Pint of Beer, a Sit Down and a Biscuit". Maybe CAMRA would be interested in some sort of sponsorship deal.
Keep up the good work.
Richard & Sue Knight
|Nicey replies: Hi Richard & Sue Knight,
I'm very pleased that we have contributed in some way to your very civilised sounding biscuit and booze rituals, even if we haven't sorted out your disputes.
As for News Letters we haven't done one in forever, but since then I have created a new and mighty newsletter engine for the day job and have been toying with the idea of firing it up on NCOTAASD so you never know!
||Dear Nicey, Wifey, YMOS and Nanny Nicey|
I wonder if you still remember Dr.You, who is a great professor of Seoul University and has been appealing to Korean People to eat bananas and milk with "Orion choco-pie" biscuits (Korean style "Wagon wheel").
And finally, Orion released Dr.You branded cake in Korea: "Dr.You Dark Chocolate Cake". They come in boxes of 12 / 6 / 4 ,as far as I know. Mine ships twelve cakes individually wrapped.
You may be able to see Dr.You's lovely silhouette printed on the outer box, and it makes me imagine that his cakes are baked in his laboratory rather than the Orion's biscuit factory. The cake is a maroon sponge with a layer of chocolate cream and crushed cashew nuts, and covered with a dark chocolate.
So, now appears to be the era of dark chocolate as Nicey said that Nanny Nicey was saying so.
( Have Plain chocolate Hob Nobs come back on the shelf as Dark Chocolate Hob Nobs ?) In fact I prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate. Hence, at first I thought that I would have chosen milk chocolate as the covering if I were Dr, You. However it seems to me that he made the proper choice. That's because I guess that the modest, moderate sweetness of the dark chocolate does not spoil the fine, natural taste of the sponge cake made with 100 % wholemeal.
Here, Dr. You recommends us to eat oranges and yogurt with his cakes, but I feel sorry for not feeling like practicing his healthy menu so far.
By the way, recently I obtained a "hard-to-find item": Dr.You stationery set! I don't like to buy family-sized biscuits, and I am not a lady who is lured by free gift to buy biscuits, either. However I ended up purchasing a party-sized "Orion Choco-pie" shipping 24 biscuits in order to get the free gift of Dr.You statinery set.
It consists of an eraser, two pencils, a mechanical pencil, a ruler and a pack of mechanical pencil leads. Now, Dr.You branded "savoury biscuit", "rice chip", "nutrition bar" and "cereal bar" are also available in Korea.
I hope Dr. You will initiate his sweet biscuit project as soon as possible.
Hiromi Miura (Seoul Korea)
|Nicey replies: Hello Hiromi,
I think any of us would have bought 24 choco-pies to get our hands on a genuine Dr You stationery set, so don't feel bad about that. I haven't spotted Dark Chocolate Hobnobs as yet I'm sure we'll see them soon though.
I think also we can see Dr You's basic plan, it involves fruit, dairy products and chocolate cakes. I hope he surprises us next time round with some strange combinations maybe involving fish or cabbage.
Tregroes Toffee Waffles Review
|Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
I read the e-mail from Ian the other day in which he waxed lyrical about the Stroop Waffles he can get now that he lives in Holland.
I am fortunate enough to be able to buy these in our local independent food co-operative in Northampton, although an expanding waistline forced me to stop buying them.
Unfortunately (for my waistline at least), the local coffee shop where I work started selling the Tregroes waffles yesterday and I had to have some with my coffee this morning just to initiate the other team members into the art of warming them on top of a beverage to soften the caramel prior to consumption.
This was very well received and I may have to introduce them to the Tim Tam slam next week as this is also a new concept for them.
|Nicey replies: Keith,
You know it was a very similar set of circumstances, that is the initiation of colleagues into various biscuits that led to the setting up of NCOTAASD all those years ago. I'm sure your altruistic virtues will be shining bright too as you clear the supermarket shelves of educational biscuits.