• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

Three Beautiful Biscuits

1. Plain chocolate digestive. These are far superior to the milk

chocolate version because the sweetmeal biscuit needs that thin

coating of bitterness. I prefer a small packet of chocolate

digestives: the end of a large packet leaves me feeling uncomfortable

about the number of consumed. They are best purchased from the corner

shop around Saturday teatime, and I should be the one to open the

packet. I like to unpick the end very carefully so it doesn’t tear.

2. Boasters. Crisp (faintly salted) biscuit. Savoury toasted

hazelnuts. Luxurious cubes of soft chocolate. Chocolate chip cookie

perfection. I had a boss who used to buy an inferior version for us as

a treat. The packets looked similar, and I would thrill with

excitement; only to find that the biscuits were softer, sweeter and

strongly vanilla-flavoured. I still hate her.

3. Iced Gems. I am always pleased to see this combination of chalky

sugar and bland biscuit. There is some debate in learned circles about

whether the colour of icing denotes a flavour. It may just be

suggestion, but I have definite memories of the magnolia ones tasting

of pretend orange. The best thing to do is to bite off the biscuit and

eat that first. Then let the icing sit on your tongue. After a couple

of seconds, give it a vigourous suck and it will disintegrate into

granular fragments. At a children’s party, however, crunch up the

icing, give the biscuit a bit of a lick and then leave it on the side

of your plate. Well-bred persons do not waste valuable belly space on

plain biscuit. Never pick off the icings from a number of gems and

place them on the side of your plate in anticipation of a sugar orgy.

Your neighbours would be quite justified in stealing them off you.

Clare Grant

*If I might be bold enough to refer interested parties to this follow up post about opening biscuit packets.

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10 Responses

  1. Nice to see Boasters in there -criminally underratted. Somehow all manner of second rate (but ok) biscuits like Hobnobs have grabbed the nations affections. Hurray for the Boaster!

  2. Went to Tescos today and saw they offer a multi pack of Chocolate Iced Gems. I declined to buy them and am now regretting my decision.

    On a plus note, the Firefox spellchecker does not recognise “Tescos” as a word and offers “Testes” as an alternative. This amuses me.

  3. I was only thinking about Iced Gems yesterday when somebody showed me a picture of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow

  4. Whenever we go to my aunt-in-laws in Poole, there’s always a packet of Boasters available for afternoon nibbling. So Mark, we also a have a Boasters champion in the family!

    BTW when I was doing my biscuit recce in Sainsbury’s last week (which you may recall ended in my lamenting the loss of their coconut creams), I noticed they didn’t have any Boasters either. Shocking!

  5. Mr Uku – you’ve reminded me of the spellcheck game we used to play at work with the spell checker. Of the multitude of alternatives offered for my name, Machete Tampon always made me giggle uncontrollably.

  6. After writing this, I went out in search of Boasters. There were none in Tesco. I came back instead with:

    Jammie Dodgers
    Jammie Dogers with custard cream
    Two foot-long packets of ginger biscuits.

    Bloody supermarkets.

    MarkD — I can’t understand Hobnobs at all. Yuck.

  7. The Chinese supermarket we go to in Leeds (Wing Lee Hong) has little biscuits very, very similar to the biscuit bit of Iced Gems but they’re subtly lemony instead of just bland. They’re terribly moorish and guaranteed to absorb every last bit of moisture from your mouth.

    Plain choc digestives HAVE to be McVitie’s – own brands don’t get the digestive bit right. I too am an end-of-pack picker, although recently I discovered that if you use the tear-tab, you can sometimes take off the intact end, consume a large portion of the pack’s contents, carefully fold in the excess wrapper then replace the end over the top — from a distance, in the dark, holding your eyes half-shut, it looks like the pack is still sealed. This is an excellent prop to help convincing yourself that you haven’t just eaten half a pack.

  8. […] I randomly stumble upon Clare’s “Three Beautiful Biscuits” and think, not for the first time, that Clare and I might actually be the same […]

  9. […] from Encounters with Remarkable Biscuits asked me to prove I’m not actually the same person as Clare by writing my own post for their […]

  10. […] I randomly stumble upon Clare’s “Three Beautiful Biscuits” and think, not for the first time, that Clare and I might actually be the same […]

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