25 August, 2016

British Biscuits - by Cat Proulx

Hello Future ICLC Students,

Isn’t this so exciting?? You are going to be coming to one of the coolest cities in the world, surrounded by other amazing historical, culture, and holy-crap-beautiful places, and on top of that you are going to be introduced to the wonderful world of biscuits. EXCITING. This post is dedicated to all you sweet lovers out there that are literally going to spend half of their budget on food. I am you, you are not alone, I understand.

So, to help y’all out, here are my top five biscuits (which I have legitimately taken the time to compare and review.) LET’S BEGIN.

Note: Due to taste preference, these biscuits are rated in no particular order, they are just my five favorites.

Another note (sorry): With all of these biscuits, I tasted them with Tetley English Breakfast Tea with whole milk. However, these biscuits also work GREAT with other teas (sometimes better). I was just going for consistency.

1: Fox’s Jam and Creams

Okay, out of the two main jam brands out there (Jammie Dodgers is the other one) Fox’s Jam and Creams are far superior. I can rant for a long time about it, but practically on every level, from taste to absorbency to texture, Jam and Creams take the cake. These are great with tea, great without tea, and the jam looks like it’s actual jam. Jammie Dodgers can take a hike with their fakety fake fake jolly rancher-esque jam that never really quite works with tea. If you like jam cookies or fruity cookies in any way, definitely go Fox’s. They will not disappoint. You can find these at most market stores, I found them at Tesco.

2: McVitie’s Ginger Nuts

Okay, so I know that ginger is not the easiest flavor for some, but I love ginger, especially with tea. If you also like ginger, you have to try McVitie’s Ginger Nuts and not Fox’s Ginger Crinkle Crunch biscuits. I am very particular about this, because it is all in the texture. McVitie’s has perfected the art of balancing the ginger and molasses in their biscuits so that when dunked in tea, you only get biscuit texture: and it’s smooth and great. Fox’s, on the other hand, has not perfected that balance, and when you dunk those in tea? You get this wimpy biscuit surrounding a hardened layer of molasses, and it’s just plain weird. It’s not what you want in a biscuit. You want Ginger Nuts. Please, go for Ginger Nuts. These are usually at Sainsbury’s, but actually due to flooding in December they were off the shelves for a while. Luckily, by the time y’all get here, they should be back in full swing.


3: McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes

Ok, ok, ok, I know, these clearly say ‘cakes’ in the title, and I understand your wariness, because if you’ve tried Jaffa Cakes you’re probably like: ‘Cat, you’re an idiot, these are soft and cake-like and I don’t believe you when you say it’s delicious with tea.’ Well, friend, please hold onto your hat and let me take you for a ride. For those that aren’t in the know, Jaffa Cakes are orange flavored cakes with orange jam on one side, and covered in dark chocolate. They’re brilliant on their own, but when you are ever so careful and give them one nice dunk in tea? You got a whole lot of ‘!!!!!!!!!’ emotions coming your way. Too long a dunk and it’s a little risky, but hey, you gotta risk it to get the biscuit, am I right? Find ‘em basically anywhere, I got mine at Tesco.

Last thing about this: even though it’s great with English Breakfast, do yourself a favor and try this with Earl Grey or Chai.

4. McVitie’s Penguins

I have to thank Hannah, aka one of the ICLC HBIC’s (Head Brit In Charge) for the Penguin representation in this blog post, because she is the one that gifted me that sweet, sweet chocolate snack. Available pretty much anywhere, a Penguin is a chocolate biscuit covered in chocolate. Yes, double chocolate for all you fiends out there. Though Penguins aren’t the most environmentally friendly because they are all individually wrapped, they kind of make up for it with the completely awful jokes that come on the back of each wrapper. Many puns, many cringe-worthy laughs. Penguins are great on their own, and if you want to be basic you can just dip it in your tea (hold it for a long while—they thick) and be done with it, OR, you can be an adventurer. You can choose to sacrifice your reputation (because you WILL look ridiculous) for taste bud glory. Which path do you choose? If you choose glory, continue reading the next paragraph. All you other cowards can skip it.

When you begin to eat your Penguin, the first thing you must do is make sure you have a full cup of hot tea. This is imperative. When that’s done, bite off one northern corner of the biscuit, and the opposite southern corner of the biscuit. If you need a mental image, you want to have a diagonal path with the entrance and exit being the bit corners of the biscuit. Now. Place one of the bit corners into your tea, place your mouth over the other bit corner, and suck on the biscuit like you are trying to get the tea to your lips. Do not give up if you don’t think it’s working: it is. Now, this is the tough part. Based off of pure instinct, find the perfect time to stop the straw action and flip the biscuit up and into your mouth. No need to get the whole thing in there, just mainly go for the bit that got a lot of the tea all up in it. As you’re eating, revel in how delicious it is, but more importantly, how superior you are to your classmates who probably only eat their Penguins by dunking them like lemmings. You have swum against the current, you have boldly gone where few go because they are worried about being laughed at! And now, you feast…victorious.

5. McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives

The holy grail of biscuits. Nay, I daresay, the biscuit. With milk chocolate on one side and a graham cracker type deal on the other, Milk Chocolate Digestives are the only biscuit that you HAVE to try if you go to London. Unless it’s against your religion, you’re allergic, or the spirit of McVitie himself came to you in a dream and forbid you from eating them, it is your obligation as an ICLC student to go to whatever convenience store is nearest your flat, find yourself the McVitie’s MCD (cool kids use acronyms), pay for it (cool kids don’t steal), brew yourself a cuppa, and prepare for your life to be forever changed. Eat these biscuits plain. Eat ‘em with tea, with milk, with coffee, whatever it takes, just go and eat them. Bless up, you’re welcome, mic drop.

End Note:

I realize this post is all about biscuits, but honestly, try every new food you can (based off of your dietary restrictions, and choices, obviously). Food is a great way to learn about a culture, and you’re going to be experiencing lots and lots of cultures while abroad. Bring yourself out of your comfort zone when it comes to food, because you never know what food might change your life. Cheers!

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