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Just back from London for the second time this year, with another stash of Hobnobs. I vote for the Hobnobs in self-sealing tubes for purely selfish reasons: I haul them stateside and ration them throughout the year, so tubes are better for packing integrity and year-round freshness. This time around, I also purchased two copies of your book -- for a friend in another state and myself -- and plan to read it with a nice cuppa and some of my hard-won Hobnobs. My husband and I bought an extra suitcase to bring our dirty laundry back, and reserved the "good" suitcase for the Hobnobs. In case our precious suitcase was lost in transit, we also hand carried 13 tubes of Hobnobs. In total, we brought back 37 tubes this time. Next time, I will bring a bigger suitcase. A true test of friendship: I will share my Hobnob haul with my friend.
San Jose, California
|Nicey replies: Maggie,
That really is an awful lot of HobNobs, I'm sure the people at McVities will be dabbing away a small tear of pride from the corner of their eyes. It also sounds wise that you are sharing them with your friend. Also very pleased to see you bringing some PG Tips to San Jose, this will go a long way to redressing the balance for that cup of tea I had there in 1999 (chapter 1 of the book!).
I yield to no-one in my admiration for the (original) Hob Nob, especially as a (tea-)dunking biscuit. However, with coffee, rather than tea, I have long preferred the plain chocolate Hob Nob (obviously not dunked). I find these are becoming rarer and rarer, and now cannot reliably be sourced anywhere near here (I live in rural Derbyshire). None of the big supermarket chains seem to do them. I am reduced to buying them from petrol stations etc. when I find them.
Do you know anything about this shortage? Have they in fact reduced or (heaven forfend) ceased production? I noticed that before the unavailability problem there came the changed packaging - tubes rather than wrapped. I think they were trying to take them up-market. Can you or your other correspondents cast any light on this mysterious disappearance?
|Nicey replies: Yours is not the only message we have had about this, and indeed I was unable to find any when I last visited a Sainsbury's. Given the steadfast following that it enjoys it is a mystery as to why its failing to grace many a supermarket shelf. I'm assuming the demand is there, I don't imagine there is a problem with supply so I'm as perplexed as you.|
Please help. I am trying to persude my American fiancee that there is a difference between hobnobs and digestives. Seeing as we have neither in the house [just some of her delicious home made chocolate chip cookies] this is proving rather difficult. Can you give me a definitive explanation of why they are not the same thing at all.
|Nicey replies: Richard,
No I can't help as she has obviously gone beyond the point of all reason and rational thought. However, just go and get some then feed them to her, if she still can't tell the difference then check to see if she really is not only American but also an earthling.
|Here's a biscuit-related conundrum for you. I was in Waitrose at lunchtime and decided I ought to get the builder doing my door frames something to dunk in his tea. As he is a new builder, I have no idea of his tastes and preferences. So it was difficult to know what biscuits to choose. Nicey, what would you have done in that situation? (After wavering over the Waitrose own shortbread fingers, I got him some Hob-Nobs in the end - was I wrong?)|
Perhaps you could have a poll on builders' favourite biscuits, ie what people have found their builders like best
|Nicey replies: Katie,
I think you were right to swap the Shortbread fingers for HobNobs. I hope it was the original Hobnobs, as that would have been a good choice. If you went for the chocolate ones then as you well know he might have interpreted that as a bit of a come on, or possibly worse, that you are easily parted from your cash.
You can always knock him back with pack of budget price Rich Teas, but then again that's what most builders like.
We are definitely interested in what biscuits can be successfully deployed in builders tea breaks.
|After several trips to the UK, I grew to realize that my firm belief that Mulino Bianco made the best breakfast biscuits in the world was being seriously challenged by the chocolate HobNob. But, I've had to rearrange my priorities before - having grown to realize the superiority of overseas cookies vs the ones we have here in the USA. I was more than happy with the Stella Doro Swiss Fudge Cookie back in high school in the 70's, and moved on - as I'm sure so many others did, as well - to the Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano in the 1980's. It was during my first visits to Italy that I discovered the Pan di Stella Breakfast cookie and fell madly in love.|
Now, a cup of coffee just wouldn't seem complete without a handful of those crumbly, hazel- nutty delights on the side. But, tho' aware of the concept of afternoon tea, I still confined my snacking to morning-time.
But then - two things happened. I began to wean myself off the strong Italian coffee I'd been consuming, and gradually moved to drinking tea ... and I discovered that many tea "biscuits" had very little in common with my plain, dry perception of what a biscuit was. From Jacob's Ginger Biscuits to McVities Chocolate Covered Digestives, these were as far away from saltine crackers as I could have imagined. Then my good friend Pam in San Francisco introduced me to the Chocolate HobNob. Luckily, they were hard to get in the USA. Luckily, they were expensive. It didn't seem that they'd have a chance at knocking my beloved Mulino Biancos out of first place, as any time a visiting relative would fly over from Abruzzi they'd always know to bring several bags along with them. I was even starting to find a few stores in the Chicago area that stocked them ... all seemed safe.
And then, my local supermarket added some English products in a specialty section. Creamed Rice, Branston Pickle, Malt Vinegar - and, yes - several rows of McVitties biscuits.
Tho' still pricey enough to be considered a treat, I would treat myself - and stock up like crazy whenever I was lucky enough to take a trip over to Great Britain. But then - an amazing thing happened. My supermarket began to undergo a remodeling. Bins began to appear at the back of the store stocked with products they no longer intended to carry. Malteasers. HP Sauce. Lyon's Tea. Somehow, I had a feeling HobNobs would be next, if I could just remain vigilant enough. It took patience - and several visits. But one day I made my way to the back of the store & stumbled upon a sea of delicious blue cardboard tubes - Yes, Chocolate HobNobs!! And Chocolate Digestives, as well as Plain - plus Jacobs Ginger Biscuits, to boot. All for 69 cents each. Which is roughly 38 p, for you all. I abandoned all forms of self control & bought every package they had. Even tho' I'll actually be coming to London this fall, where I may - presumably - buy a few more packages of HobNobs. Because it is possible I could eat my way through the 25 tubes I have in the next 7 weeks. They're just that delicious.
Greg Di Loreto
|Nicey replies: Righty ho then. Maybe you want to let McVities know when you are coming over and they'll make a couple of thousand extra, which should take them 20-30 seconds.|