Tunnocks Tea Cake
|Sunday 30 Jun 2002|
|When in Ireland the other week we visited the closest point to Scotland, and as we gazed out across the Irish sea towards the Mull of Kintyre, my mind turned to thoughts of Scottish fayre, of deep fried mini pizzas and Mars bars and of Tea Cakes.
The overlord of the Tea Cakes is the Tunnocks which registers a Victoria Plum, possibly a Clemetine on the fruit and nut scale of measurement, intimidating its Walnut sized competitors. While on the subject of competitors, they all seem to need intricate plastic trays to protect their puny chocolate shells, whilst the Tunnocks makes do with a bit of tin foil and cardboard box.
What really sets the Tunnocks apart from its Tea Cake brethren is its marshmallow which is based on egg white rather than gelatine. This gives it a consistency somewhere between shaving foam and bath sealant. The process that actually places this stuff on the biscuit base and then covers it in chocolate must be a miracle of biscuit engineering given the super sticky nature of the mallow. The fact that the Tea Cakes exist means that there isn't a machine somewhere Scotland buried under a mountain of proto-tea cake gunge.
Finally we must note that the Tunnocks contains no jam, which again I assume is a level of extra gunge that would push their manufacture into the realms of fantasy.
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Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley
|Sunday 16 Jun 2002|
|Fantastic, here we are on location in Ireland with the whole NiceCupOfTeaCupOfTeaAndASitDown staff. Several nice Guinness's and sit downs have already been enjoyed, and we look forward to frying various types of bread in lard and feasting upon it in the name of breakfast. The rain is lashing down, and any grass which isn't submerged is growing vigously, converting carbon dioxide and water into complex carbohydrates, which after passing through a cow and participating in a number of metabolic pathways may utimately contribute to the baking of a biscuit. Such a biscuit may well be the Kimberley.
Kimberley the legendary biscuit of the Emerald Isle, its reference standard being baked by Jacob's. I had been told of the importance of the Kimberley to Irish culture and the affection in which it is held. I heard of its gingery biscuits enclosing a marshmallow centre encrusted with sugar, and thought yes this is a biscuit I would like to track down and sample. So it came as some what of a shock to find that tasted a bit like rotting mdf (medium density fibre board) with a squirt of bath sealent. I paused, shocked and alarmed and gathered my taste buds, maybe they were more remanisant of digestives that had been carelessly left in the garden for week?
Still reeling I checked to see if the packet was out of date, but found that it was good for another six months at least. The locals inform me that it is the nature of the Kimberley to be variable in its texture and that I had probably got a particularly soft batch.
Undaunted I set out to find another packet, and soon happened across the rarer and slightly frowned upon by the purists, chocolate variety, again by Jacobs. The crust of sugar granuals over the edge of the marshmallow centre has been completely replaced by covering of real milk chocolate. Although not apparent from the outer box each biscuit is individually wrapped, and upon eating I was delighted to find the these extra layers of protection had given rise to a Kimberley that had a slight crumble to them and in all respects was an excellent biscuit worthy of a place on the greater world stage of biscuits.
So am I put off the standard Kimberley by this experience? No not at all, having seen this majestic biscuit its native habitat I'm determined to track down a non-fusty packet and witness this Celtic wonder in its full splendor.
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|Sunday 9 Jun 2002|
|Many events have conspired to bring you this biscuit review, a bit like the recent alignment of planets. Maybe this was even one of them! Having never before eaten a Boaster I had a certain inexplicable adversion to them, perhaps due to their name, which seemed somewhat self assured. However the main contributing factors were a big recommendation from biscuit enthusiast Mandy, several tip off emails, and mainly the fact that the NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown.com Wife (email her as thewife) bought a pack.
So what are we to say of these biccys? Well they are clearly luxury jobs and have the inevitable air that you are going to eat the lot in one sitting. One of the most impressive things about them is surely their individual shaping, with each biscuit looking like its been hand made. Generous large chunks of Belgian chocolate embedded in their crisp buttery biscuit, just contribute to the systematic consumption of the whole packet, which after all only contains a paltry nine biscuits. There were a few raisins in there as well which would have worked well on their own regardless of the choc chips.
So all in all a very tasty treat, but certainly not an everyday biscuit.