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Abbey Crunch Review
|Having just read your fantastic review of the great Abbey Crunch I felt I had to write as this is the official biscuit of my home town - Colchester in Essex.|
The Abbey Crunch has enjoyed official biscuit status in Colchester for approximately 500 years. The monks of St John the Baptist Abbey were famous for their crunchy oat biscuits which were also baked and enjoyed by the townsfolk. All that's left of the Abbey today is its 15th century gatehouse and its biscuits.
The current biscuit is taken from a version baked by local firm Priory Biscuits until just after the second world war. The company was owned by a Frank Curtis who claimed to get the recipe from his mother. She in turn said that it had been handed down to her. McVities probably bought the
recipe after the company closed down, and a picture of the Abbey still appears on packets today.
I remember my father making these biscuits, and friends back in Colchester also remember grandparents, aunts and uncles baking them, making the Abbey Crunch a big part of Colchester's history.
Keep up the good work with the site, I look forward to reading more reviews.
Abbey Crunch Review
I can only endorse your approving comments on the Abbey Crunch - the finest of biscuits. Instantly comforting, a great dunk and undeniably nutritious. The only real problem is that once you've eaten a whole packet (and it's difficult not to, after the first few) the massive sugar content hits your gums, puckering, shrinking and retracting them to the point at which premolars drop out.
Still, it's worth it.
My other point is another definition of the difference between biscuits and cakes. Put technically: biscuits are hygroscopic - cakes are hydrophilic. Put simply: biscuits need to stay dry, while cakes need to remain moist. Store a biscuit incorrectly, and it will go soggy (bad!); store a cake incorrectly, and it will dry out and become stale - also bad, but with the potential to be at least partially rectified by dunking.
Anyway, thanks very much for the site - Sports Biscuits, eh?
|Nicey replies: Yep, your biscuit/cake observation is of course one the tenants of the McVities Jaffa Cake defense in the famous case against the Inland Revenue.|
Abbey Crunch Review
|What a wonderful website - the Biscuit Of The Week segment on the Abbey Crunch moved me to tears. And I write as one, who, left briefly alone in the house on the morning of her wedding, ate a whole packet of Abbey Crunch whilst waiting for the hairdresser to arrive. It was a highly charged and deeply symbolic act - a farewell to childhood, my mother's semi, the 1970's, indeed to everything outmoded and most dear. I know they still make them, but I feel their supremacy was long ago surrendered to the Hob Nob; a similar construct, but which lacks muscularity and has a somewhat cloying mouthfeel.|
Does anyone have news of the Lemon Puff? Are they still in production? I have particularly fond memories of the sweet, slightly tarry, singed-effect outerside, which was offset to perfection by the surprisingly authentic citrus top-note of the filling. I seem to recall that they suffered something of a decline before disappearing from our supermarkets - they became noticeably less highly baked, and the texture of the actual biscuit was rendered almost flabby in consequence - redolent of nothing so much as a slightly sweetened Cornish Wafer. This was obviously not at all acceptable. Nevertheless, I would love to think that they are still obtainable from some arcane source, especially as I never got to eat as many of them as I would have liked. In our house they were only purchased on special occasions, and we were told to Leave Them For the Visitors. (Hence my enforced passion for Abbey Crunch.)
|Nicey replies: Heidi,
I'm thrilled you found the Abbey Crunch review engaging. We have a packet in the cupboard right now.
The lemon puffs of old were made by Jacobs I think, and were rectangular with the biscuit edge being little semi circles. The biscuit itself had a sticky glaze, and appeared a dark golden brown. Personally I never like the lemon puff, however, as you say todays lemon puffs are a sad shadow of their former self, round, pale and not at all sticky. Tescos do them but they are really quite dismal.