• 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.

The Future is Oblong? Really?

DSC00408There are two things that we know to be true of Jaffa Cakes.

1. They are cakes – but we forgive them

2. They are round

You can only imagine my abject horror when, on the 8th of October, I saw a post on this venerable blog concerning the introduction of oblong Jaffa Cakes. I quickly surmised that this could only be the work of either Satan and all his little wizards or The Mad Arab and the Elders of Cthulhu.

Turns out, it was the Germans.

Obviously, further investigation was needed if I were to work out what those ruthlessly efficient, Teutonic devils were up to. So, bravely, I arranged for a box of the un-round terrors to be sent my way.

I waited, both in nervous anticipation and in a rather fetching Brown Derby hat which I wore at a jaunty angle.

Eventually they arrived and it quickly became apparent that these were not the Jaffa Cakes I had been used to. The box, for example, is a slim stylish looking affair and the name – Bahlsen’s Messinos – tells you immediately that something foreign is afoot.

Intrigued, I decided to open them and see how these square cornered Messinos would compare to my beloved circles of orangey goodness.

The first thing that struck me was how thin they are. This was most disappointing as I was expecting something more akin to the thick sponge of our native Jaffas. But maybe there was more to them, after all the Messinos main selling point is its orange centre which, they tell me, goes all the way to the edge.

DSC00409It does too. And it appears to be a horse of an entirely different shade of orange. It’s stickier, than the Mcvitie’s jelly centre and orangier too. Bahlsen describe it as a marmalade. It goes right to the edge of the thin sponge giving them a surprising moistness.

Does this make them better than our own lovable Jaffa Cakes? No, it does not.

Our beloved Jaffa Cakes are thick and robust and can take a decent dunking if they have to. They are a great example of how a cake can become a favourite biscuit. The Messinos are more cake like, but they have their place.

If, for example, you are a Jaffa Cake lover and find yourself inviting your posh neighbours round for coffee and you wanted to show them how posh you were but still be able to serve your favourite biscuits/cakes, then the Messinos will fit right in. They are a posh Jaffa Cake. Stylish to look at, delicate to hold and with an orange centre that says, “I’m posher than you.”

It’s just a shame that they are entirely the wrong shape.

Mr Uku

The Future is Oblong

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14 Responses

  1. Im still reserving judgment on the oblong – Im trying not to follow instinct and cast them aside, so allow me a few more days of prevarication. However, let me make my perhaps controversial starting point clear: I dont much like Jaffa cakes. I think they’re the most overrated of biscuits. It may well be that I couldn’t give a tuppenny toss whether they’re round or oblong, given that they’re all shite. But I’ll reserve final judgement for a little while

    • Let’s face facts, if you don’t like the whole dark chocolate/orange goo combo of the regular Jaffa Cakes, you won’t like the Messinos. They are like Jaffa Cakes Plus.

      On a side note, Mother Uku informed me that M&S have been selling something remarkably similar for a while. Even the packaging seems rather familiar.

  2. I’m a people person, I shall have no oblong I’m-better-than-you jaffa cake imposters in my house. Be it my best friend or Her Majesty Herself, it shall remain ROUND JAFFAS in my abode. If that isn’t good enough for you, well then, you can bring your own biscuits or better still, don’t bother coming anywhere near me, I can’t bare to look at you.

  3. Ode to Jaffa Cakes.

    Bleurgh.
    ‘Nuff said.

  4. JAMES!!!! They’re picking on Jaffa Cakes!!!!

  5. I also had a sample packet.
    Mine did not last very long as I ate in the company of my sons: before whom Jaffa Cakes fall like leaves in a typhoon.
    They were, we decided, acceptable in taste and presentation. The chocolate was pretty good, the orangey bit orange etc etc
    But there just were not nearly enough of them. We had to open a further two packets of very common Tesco Jaffas to fill up the gaps.
    No point in harnessing a thoroughbred to the hay cart: as they say in parts of rural Hungary.

  6. Oi, MarkD and you WildelyCreative.
    Any more of that cheap slutty talk about Jaffa Cakes and I’l have you barred…

  7. You can’t do that *checks BiscuitBlog constitution*

  8. Clause 346. subsection 12.Paragraph 5.
    “Thou shalt never diss the Jaffa Cake – include generic supermarket versions”
    also
    Clause 1.Subsection 1.Paragraph 1.
    “Whatever Commissar wants, Commissar gets”

  9. Yes James! Whack it to ’em x

  10. I have been converted.

    I bought a packet (actually two for £1.29 special offer!) of the M&S dark chocolate oblong jaffa cakes.

    It was the first time any blog had directly affected my buying choices – I sampled them purely because of the discussions here and can now scientifically report….

    I now dare not venture down that aisle again for fear of continuous temptation – they were most excellent!

  11. Lindt Intense Orange is my favorite chocolate, so a “Dark chocolate orange goo combo” sounds wonderful to me. Not too many of the biscuits you write about turn up on shelves near me but I hope to run into either Jaffa Cakes or Messinos.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  12. It’s wrong, so very wrong.

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