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21st Century Fig Festival

Since time began mankind has tried to harness the power of the Fig. The Egyptians built massive Fig plantations all along the River Nile to satisfy their massive fig appetites, I expect. The Greeks on the other hand probably captured Phoneacian Fig ships in mad Jason and the Argonauts style ships, and took all the Figs home for enormous fig parties. The Romans simply invaded your country enslaved the populace and forced them to pick Figs, I would guess.

Today in the Twenty First Century, we have many wonders, super glue, the interweb, teflon, geo-synchronous satellites, extra absorbant kitchen towels that stay strong even when wet and of course the Fig Roll. The Fig Roll has all the goodness of figs and the convienence of conventional biscuits.

In our own homage to the Fig Roll NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown has undertaken the most comprehensive Fig Roll review in history, involving a team of specialist biscuit hunters who travelled thousands of miles and put themselves at some considerable personal risk to secure the review biscuits.

Fig Rolls Width (mm) Depth (mm) Height (mm) Mass (g) Fig% Country
Asda 31 42 16 19 27 UK
Sainsbury's 31 42 16 19 30 UK
Jacobs 36 52 13 19 22 UK
Figolu 24 45 9 11 25.5 France
Newton 34 40 12 16 Unknown USA
Crawfords 42 42 18 15 26 UK
*Also reviewed Lyons, Coop and Spar

A Fig Roll is an elegant balancing act between fig and crust, lets take a closer look at our review biscuits.


Here we see a very traditional fig roll. Baked then cut to size from a long strip, and packed vertically in a cardboard box. This design gives uniform fig delivery in each mouthful. This biscuit claimed the highest fig content of any of our review biscuits.


Jacobs prefer to cut their fig rolls prior to baking, which gives them a distinctive shape. The drawback is the uneven fig distribution, and the overuse of crust in this design.


American technology has been applied to the Fig Newton, baked across the USA by Nabisco. Newtons have crust which is more like compressed sponge than biscuit, and as such are very soft. Their fig content also appears to have been modified, with the addition of corn syrup, malic acid and artificial flavouring. Of course if you read the Nabisco site you'd get the impression they invented the entire fig roll genre.


A very handy little item when in France, the Figolu can be used as a very passable substitute for proper biscuits. Baked by Lu, the diminutive Gallic contender is baked then cut to size. Compared to its bigger competitors the Figolu seems a bit dried out, however this proved popular with some.


Crawfords are another established Scottish biscuit bakers, now part of the United Biscuit empire along with McVities. The exotic square fig roll has the palest colour fig filling of all our review biscuits and uses the same cut before baking approach as Jacobs.


Included in our tasting as a control biscuit, the Asda fig roll, dispite claiming a 3% lower fig content, is the same as Sainsbury's, Spar, Coop and Lyons, all of which were studied. We wanted to see if a panel of testers would be fooled. UPDATE we have just secured a pack of Morrisons fig rolls and although undoubtedly from the same family they had a pitiful 20% fig paste. Thus its clear that Burtons's foods who make all these fig rolls are able to vary their crust to fig ratio to suit their customers price point.

We assembled a panel of biscuit tasters to give you a balanced overview of the biscuits. Here's what they had to say.

Status Part time biscuit eater, Tony tries not to eat too many biscuits
Asda Slightly greasy pastry, fig paste too smooth
Jacobs Nice parcel appearance and smell, crunchy pastry let down by too little figs
Newtons Acidic smell, too uniform in shape, pastry too soft, chemical taste
Figolu Nice smell,very crunchy, sweet, not enough filling
Crawfords Crunchy, slightly chemical taste, feels traditional
Sainsbury's Lots of fig

Status Enthusiastic Full time biscuit eater, Andrew has a great deal of experience with most biscuits
Asda Figgy
Jacobs Thin crunchy, not enough fig
Newtons Soft, nice smell, fig rolls for adults! Citrusy
Figolu Chewy but biscuit is very crispy, more like a cracker, disintegrating leaving the fig almost intact
Crawfords Big flat tasty crispy. Big fig flavour
Sainsbury's Meaty yet cakey

Status Coming from Avignon, Mathieu is best described as French
Asda A bit too dry, great shape
Jacobs Way too dry, not enough fig paste, don't like the shape
Newtons Very tender, great taste, very fruity
Figolu A bit disappointed by the size but the taste is the best so far. Very rich. The biscuit texture is surprising not very tender but again the taste is excellent
Crawfords Taste is a bit artificial aswell as the fig paste colour
Sainsbury's Best shape, best size a little taste of baking powder

Status Lead biscuit hunter, Eddie sustained head injuries in a car park in New York requiring stitches just to get a pack of Fig Newtons, and kyacked down the Dordogne to secure the review pack of Figolus
Asda Stodgy and generally tasteless
Jacobs Good biscuit crunchy and chewy but lacking in Figiness
Newtons Very soft biscuits and very treaclely filling
Figolu Very good biscuit, good filling to, tasty
Crawfords Big and tasty, but lacking something
Sainsbury's Exactly as Asda

Status Another casual biscuit eater, Paul travelled to Nice in France of all places secure a pack of Figolus in the run up to the Fig Fest
Asda Good reasonable filling, doughy consistency, slightly bitter taste
Jacobs Crispy (perhaps slightly over cooked), sweet well balanced flavour but not enough fruit
Newtons Very soft almost cake like texture, hints of ginger and treacle with a slight chemical after taste
Figolu Very crisp and biscuit like. More realistic fruit consistency, although limited in size and depth
Crawfords Very sweet, well balanced all round taste, but lacking in distinction. Unusual shape is worthy of note
Sainsbury's Not noticeably different from Asda


Special thanks to the following fig hunters
Eddie Hobson, Mike Mitcham, Paul Tedds