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I was wondering if you or a well travelled reader could give us antipodeans a little clarification on British chocolate terminology. Here in New Zealand we have Milk chocolate (which we would consider "plain chocolate") and Dark Chocolate. There is also white chocolate but that is a whole other topic really.
Anyway, in your Hobnob poll I see there is a Milk Chocolate variety and a Plain Chocolate variety. For a New Zealander these would amount to exactly the same biscuit, yet I am sure this is not the case. Ooh, the mystery!
|Nicey replies: Jackson,
We call Dark Chocolate, Plain Chocolate, when we aren't calling it Dark Chocolate.
re: white chocolate. I have a consignment of Kiwi Snow Toffee pops on its way to me ETA Wednesday, although they might be a bit melted and smashed.
I was just sitting here in the US as a Scouser in exile, having a nice cup of tea and a sit down at work, when I came across Peter's email regarding Dundee biscuits.
I remember them clearly as well from my childhood days in Liverpool, and they were gorgeous, huge, chocolatey biscuits! I can't remember the last time I had them, but now they've been mentioned, I remember with fondness their taste.
In the US we can get some decent British biscuits (like chocolate McVitie's and Hob Nobs), but most of what is sold is sub-standard cookie-like efforts. It may be worth your while to take a visit to the US to see the state of the biscuit and tea situation; almost inevitably, you get offered "tea" in dodgy cups with the teabag still in it, and the milk (or, horrors, cream) on the side.
The Americans are, by the way, fascinated by my electric kettle (you know, the type every house in the UK has!) ... they still use whistling kettles on top of the oven - how 19th century!
Anyway, your site is great - a nice way to remember England, and I steer both English and non-English friends to it (for educational purposes, of course).
|Nicey replies: Yes we had a big discussion about electric kettles and America back in September. The conclusions were that even those electric kettles that did exist in the States weren't able to boil water as fast as our Brit kettles due to their weedy 120V electricity. Hoorah! for proper dangerous power supplies. This seemed to explain the barbarous practice of making tea in microwave ovens, prevalent in the US.
As for dodgy American biscuits, Biscuit Enthusiast Mandy has just brought me back a packet of something with peanut butter in, from New York. I have to have a sneaking regard for the Americans ingenuity in getting rid of their mountains of surplus peanut butter. Perhaps anybody driving one of those odd looking Chrysler Roadsters around the UK might want to get the door panels off just in case the Yanks have stashed a few gallons of spare crunchy peanut butter in there.
I just thought this might be news some other NCOTAASD readers might like to know?
For any US-based British-expats in the Boston or Massachusetts area who might be hankering for some "real" biscuits, I've just discovered Hobnobs on sale at Zathmary's on Harvard St not far from the Harvard Medical School. They have other McV's products, namely digestives and ginger nuts but I've yet to find or learn of any Penguin bar sightings so far in America. The Hobnobs (plain or milk chocolate) are ~USD4.50 per tube but I figure it's cheaper than flying back to the UK to replenish my supply. :-)
Cheers from an ex-Cantabrigian,
|Dear Nicey, are you sure that the biscuit name has nothing to do with The Giant and Hob Nob at Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum? Hob Nob is a kind of hobby horse - a pageant figure of the Salisbury Guild of Merchant Tailors. The Giant is first recorded in 1496 when, accompanied by the Mayor and Corporation and morris men, he was taken to meet Henry VII at nearby Clarendon Palace. The path of the Giant was cleared of people by Hob Nob, who chased and snapped at people in the crowd. I expect he could also be appeased with a happy old brown nice oat biscuit.|
|Nicey replies: Zoe,
Oh yes that all sounds a perfectly plausible explination, well done.
|Where did the name HOB NOB come from?|
|Nicey replies: Would it be glib to say a marketing person at McVities? Alright its an acronym 'Happy Old Brown Nice Oat Biscuit'.
Or it might be from the expression to 'Hob Nob', implying you are obtaining gratification by mixing with your social betters, which captures the aspirational aspects of the biscuit. No, I'm going for the acronym again.