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Anna's Ginger, Blueberry and Lemon Thins

Monday 14 Jul 2003

Scandinavia, bastion of Euro pop. Denmark gave us Aqua, Norway A-ha, Finland erm erm not sure, oh and from Sweden Abba, Stakka Bo and Roxette. Yes Sweden is out in front there, although I have got a lot of time for the Barbie Girl video, and the 'Sun always shines on TV'. Why it isn't a karaoke classic I don't know. Cars, yep Sweden again with their Volvos. Lets try Sports heros, well when we subtract the whole Alpine/Nordic winter sports thing, we are left with Bjorn Borg, and Sven arn't we. Mind you Norway has some really big cliffs, and Finland has stacks of Reindeer, and Santa lives there, Yay. And just when it seemed the rest of Scandinavia was drawing level, the plucky Danish with their Bacon, Mermaids and tins of Butter biscuits, Sweden plays its trump card... Ikea. Not only can this Swedish superstore furnish your house but it can also fill your biscuit tin. What with? Anna's Swedish thins.

Now as you can already tell from my opening paragraph I know precious little of substance about Scandinavia, so when we move to the question of who exactly Anna is? don't be surprised to hear I haven't got a clue. However, she seems to be based in Tyresö Sweden, and manufacturers a range of thin biscuits with their distinctive nine point shape. Each biscuit looks like a little flower, which gives it a very cheerful demeanor, almost joyful as its puny and delicate body submits to the crushing force of your dental equipment. Yes, initially I felt quite brutal as I set about chomping my way into the review pack. It didn't seem fair, my teeth versus frail little biscuits. However, by biscuit number six or was it seven all such moral misgivings had been banished. It had now become fairly obvious that thinness is merely a ploy to make you eat more biscuits, and thats how they liked it.

It was about now that we opened up the Blueberry thins. Now the Ginger flavour in the Ginger thins was really very mild, the whole effect being not dissimilar to a very thin Caramelised biscuit in the style of the Benelux Speckaloo school of biscuitry. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise to find that the Blueberry thins really did have a credible blueberry taste. Again the Lemon thin had pleasant and subtile Lemon flavour.

It was about now that I realised I had completely lost track of how many thins I had 'tasted'. Resorting to the tape measure it appeared that 11 cm of thins had disappeared, which by my estimate was some twenty seven biscuits... Quite.

What parallels there are between this range of biscuits and the furniture in Ikea I'll leave for you the reader to surmise. Although we have received one email on that subject already. I would merely urge caution. What starts as simple, innocent biscuit eating pleasure may so easily turn into something more serious, leading appalling numbers of losses in the biscuit tin from a simple cup of tea incident.

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Bakers Iced Zoo

Sunday 6 Jul 2003

Hoorah! Springbok, Duck, Springbok, slug/whale/fox hybrid thing. Actually there was a splendid Dolphin but it got polished off very quickly by a younger member of staff. Yes this week we have returned to South Africa for our biscuit of the week again by Bakers. The evocatively titled Iced Zoo, sounding very much like the sort of crime Batman finds himself up against on a regular basis. 'Holy frozen fauna Batman' somebody's Iced the Zoo. 'Thats right Boy Wonder and they used an awful lot of food colouring in the process'.

Iced Zoo are little 57mm by 40mm sweet crisp biscuits, onto the back of which has been deposited a generous amount of highly coloured icing. On top of this sits a little white icing animal, which instantly put me in mind of those grecian freezes on Wedgwood pottery. The icing appears to employ some other ingredients apart from the obvious sugar and colour. These would appear to be sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid. This explains the light texture as the small bubbles of carbon dioxide must by caught in the sugar matrix. Also on opening the pack a sweet and slightly astringent waft of chemical biscuitry assails the nostrils. The smell is contradictory, familiar like your favourite childhood sweet shop yet foreign and strange. Overall the effect is not dissimilar to large and friendly Iced Gem.

The icing isn't afraid to use bizarre colours. For instance blue, that most unappetising of colours, suitable for vitreous enamel on bathroom suites, but not something that tends to connect the pathways from your visual cortex to your taste-buds. There also seems to be more icing towards the left hand side of the biscuit. Presumably this is where it is first applied. This would also indicate that I have the slug/whale thing upside down.

Now on to those little animals. I've never visited South Africa let alone its Zoos, so I was keen to find out what a country whose native wild life includes elephants, lions, zebras etc would be putting in its zoos. Well it looks like there are a lot of ducks banged up in South African Zoos, several gazelle based things, some monkeys, the odd dolphin, and the as yet unidentified slug/whale/fox hybrid. As our Zoos are full of South African wildlife shouldn't their Zoos be full of ours? Shouldn't there be a hedgehog enclosure, and a Pigeon and Starling avery?

Our thanks to Hal Couzens for providing us with the review pack, and if any people with good Iced Zoo experience know what the last creature is please let us know.

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