Friday, February 09, 2007

The way the cookie crumbles

This morning I just happened to hear the trailer for an interview with Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, and the burning question was ‘what is your favourite biscuit?’ and we hear Noel pondering this very seriously and trying to recall his most preferred biscuit. We don’t actually hear the answer to this career defining question, that will apparently be put to rest on Monday but as many (global!) listeners called in to suggest what might be Noel’s choice it got me thinking how I would answer such a question.

I don’t generally have biscuits in the house but if I did they’d probably be McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Homewheat – now renamed to Plain Chocolate Digestives. I would always have to go for dark chocolate but I know many who would favour the milk chocolate camp. Their website (now United Biscuits) informs us that 52 chocolate digestives are consumed every second in the UK (that amounts to a whopping 71 million packets, in case you want to know). I have never considered dunking a biscuit into tea, as only an occasional tea drinker I can not imagine how either the tea or chocolate biscuit could be enhanced by having bits of damp biscuit floating in your tea or just the total danger of the soggy biscuit collapsing into a sodden heap on the floor. Not a pretty sight!

I also have very particular childhood family memories concerning Marks & Spencer’s dark chocolate ginger biscuits. The deal was each packet contained a mere twelve of the finest ginger biscuits enveloped in thick and very tasty dark chocolate.

And there were three of us so that meant we were fairly assigned four of these delicious biscuits but the cunning of a female when the chocolate is at stake knows no bounds.

So M and I would wolf our allotted four fairly quickly whereas (the original) D would maybe eat one and hoard the other three. However, with guile and stealth known only to chocolate-loving females we were normally able to encourage D to hand over one of his to each of us, thus giving us a much fairer(!) share of the packer of five each and D had the remaining two. Perfect! And we were very good at this! You would have thought that D would have cottoned on and got quicker at consuming his portion, but no. Them were the rules with a dozen M&S dark chocolate gingers on offer, we got the lion's share!

My main contact with biscuits now is the occasional plate at client meetings though they are much rarer than they used to be, cutbacks I guess! Now these plates normally have a little selection of standard British biscuits and the one I’d always have my beady eye on is a Chocolate Bourbon. Though I’m pretty confident I’ve never gone out and secured a packet of these but as a option out of a random plate, they are a very good bet. When I was contemplating this question of preferred biscuits I consulted the great oracle Google and was not slightly surprised to see the number of sites dedicated to the consumption of biscuits, notwithstanding the excellent " A nice cup of tea and a sit down". For example, the rather unconventional guide to life, the universe and everything - h2g2 (the web version of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy) website has the following words on Bourbons: “The chocolate bourbon cream is the single most perfect object known to man.” And I do kind of understand and will try and explain the lure of a Bourbon. First of all these are pleasingly oblong shaped and should have ten holes, the word Bourbon and just a slight scattering of sugar crystals. Two of these dusky chocolate rectangles are sandwiches together with a neat oval of very particular Bourbon cream. Now in private, I would want to eat a Bourbon in the same way I would consume a Jaffa Cake. I would want to attempt to eat one chocolate rectangles, scrape off the cream with front teeth until the second rectangle is totally naked and then this can finally be consumed. But I promise you, not in a client meeting. Even though I’m sure I am not alone in this I don’t really want to share it in a business meeting! The other Bourbon bit of trivia is that Gary Rhodes used to serve up a giant Bourbon biscuit dessert (much like the acclaimed giant Jaffa Cakes) but I’ve never tried this, it is just a legend in one of my old Gary cookbooks.

As I’ve never had a yen to buy a packet of Bourbons (possibly because they are rather sickly and I don’t think I’ve ever had one than one in one sitting) I’m not sure if I can officially declare it my favourite. I'm also not positive what Noel would favour in the biscuit world (finally, update here!) but I think I’ll always have to save a special place in my heart for both the iconic dimpled Plain Chocolate Digestive and the M&S Dark Chocolate Gingers (all twelve of them!)


Linda said...

these look amazing. thanks for the review :) i'll have to go searching for these!

Anonymous said...

Dear J

I think your beloved D who is sadly missed enjoyed the game with the chocolate ginger biscuits. He could have eaten his share of the biscuits with the same alacrity as we did or refuse to succumb to our manipulations. I think it gave him pleasure to have us pestering him and also gave him pleasure to give us that little extra treat. We could have had a packet each, but what would be the fun in that. It never occurs to me to buy a packet of the beautiful biscuits for myself; I only get them when you visit.

Love M

J said...

Dear M,
I too believe that my beloved D was savvier than he pretended to be about the coveted chocolate gingers and enjoyed our tactics of persuasion. I too don’t get myself my own packet even though I could – I guess they are really only at their best when shared!