• 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 Worcester Dunker

Previously  here on Encounters I wrote of our lost opportunity to try out the record breaking Worcester Dunkers biscuit. My cries of woe were duly heeded and Fiorinda, the wife of the biscuit’s creator, Felice Tocchini kindly arranged for samples to be sent for me to try out 😀

They arrived just before Christmas, but an excess of feasting around that time plus a further necessary pause in order to cleanse the palate meant I didn’t get to try them until early January.

Appearance

The biscuits are hand-made and come attractively packaged in well-sealed cellophane complete with hand tied raffia and a designer label with Felice’s signature. There’s 10 biscuits per packet and I received one each of Worcester Dunkers (ginger, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and lavender flavours) plus a special packet for Christmas with Cranberry and Mixed Spices flavours.

The biscuits come in a variety of shapes – square, circle, hexagonal, round with a hole in the centre and heart shaped. Some have an attractive two-tone colouration. All have an attractive sheen and little bits of cranberry and lavender could be seen in the biscuits of those two flavours. Yum – all look good enough to eat and smell most enticing.

Testing

Both dunkability and taste tests were conducted.

Dunkability

The absence of a documented scientific protocol for the dunk test meant I devised my own. The Worcester Dunkers were comparison tested against a dark chocolate Hob Nob purchased especially for testing. The Worcester Dunkers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavours and a Mixed Spices biscuit was duly selected as being similar in size and volume (though not shape) to the Hob Nob.

Each biscuit was immersed half way into a mug of piping hot coffee (a ceremonial pot of Lavazza having been brewed specifically for the occasion) and remained there until the immersed half of the biscuit fell into the coffee. Each biscuit was also inspected at the 1 minute mark.

At the one minute mark the immersed portion of the dark chocolate Hob Nob had bent into a curved shape. It fell to the bottom of the mug at 1 minute 25 secs. Inspection of the Worcester Dunker at one minute revealed the immersed portion had swollen but it was retaining its shape. Immersion time was an impressive 5 minutes and 10 seconds. The immersed portion of biscuit floated on the surface of the coffee after it had broken off and could easily be taken out and slurped up with a spoon, rather than forming the usual biscuit sludge at the bottom of the mug.

Taste and Texture

A little of each Dunker was snapped off to assess texture and flavour. They all had the expected biscuit texture in both looks and how they felt in the mouth when chewed. Owing to Felice’s Tuscan heritage, I was expecting the Dunkers to be ultra-hard just like the biscotti which appear with coffee at the end of an Italian meal. Whilst they were hard, they were still chewable and unlike their biscotti cousins aren’t reliant on being dunked in order to be rendered eatable.

Having said that, Fiorinda’s taste notes suggest Worcester Dunkers are good to dunk in coffee or tea and the Cranberry Christmas Dunker goes well with sparkling or mulled wine and the Mixed Spices Dunker is a good companion with hot chocolate, with or without alcohol.

All the biscuits tasted wonderful (both dunked and undunked) and went well with my coffee. I particularly liked the Mixed Spices, Chocolate and Ginger Dunkers. But then that’s probably because I usually go for those kind of flavours. The Lavender Dunker is more unusual, but worked really well. I could see it and the vanilla one accompanying home-made ice cream at the end of a meal. I liked the added chewiness in the Cranberry Dunker, a nice contrast with the firm texture of the rest of the biscuit.

I had to fight off my husband to conduct this trial properly, particularly when it came to the Ginger Dunkers. Thankfully there was more than one of each flavour to try, so marital harmony was swiftly restored 😉

My thanks to Fiorinda and Felice for sending me such a delightful treat to cheer up a dreadful January. For more information  click here.

The Orange.Michelle Chapman *

*Huge rounds of applause and tumultuous cheering for Michelle. She becomes the second of our valued contributors to reach The Orange level. You will find clarification of titles and awards here.

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4 Responses

  1. How come living in Worcester I have never heard of these or is it Worcester in the US? Where do I get some from?

  2. Good grief, you are taking this whole biscuit malarkey rather serious, aren’t you Michelle? So serious one would suspect you to be Dutch. The Orange also points in that direction. 😉

    Well done, it was great fun to read. Happy future dunking!

    Yolanda, strictly non-dunk

  3. Helen – you can get them if you eat at The Fusion Brasserie in Worcester and probably at Felice’s new restaurant too. The last link in the post is to Felice’s website.

    They were used by Worcester’s Lord Mayor as part of the Food Festival opening ceremony last year too.

    Yolanda – I do have Dutch ancestry on my dad’s side of the family apparently, though I haven’t found any hard evidence of it – yet

  4. Hooray, again, for becoming Orange, dear VP. You have done a great service to biscuit eaters the world over. Five minutes is quite impressive and the floating a good trait. I love that they come in such a variety of flavors. 🙂

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