Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake vs Weston's Jam Fancies
|Friday 24 Oct 2003|
|Well a little while back a made a slight whimpering noise about the lack of jam based biscuits, as I was personally going through a big jam episode in my life. The Wife had just made six pots of Raspberry Jam and I had made four pots of wild plum, blackberry and apple jam. Ace biscuit hunter Simon Smith heard my pleas and sent up some Aussie jam sandwich style offerings for sacrificial deployment in the NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown front-line biscuit tin.
We pitted Weston's Jam fancies, whose strap line is 'a fruity indulgence!' against Arnott's Raspberry Shortcake, strap line 'Sweet and interesting'. Now those of you who read the review of the Weston's Wagon Wheel may already be one step ahead and asking is there a connection to the Jammy Dodger? Well there are strong family traits visible here and a fascinating throw back to earlier incarnations of the Jammy Dodger. As discussed in the Wagon Wheel review we know that the Weston brothers deployed their recipes in the UK, Australia and Canada. Today's Jammy Dodgers seem much paler and the shortcake biscuit softer than in the past, however a Westons Jam Fancie is like a mini biscuity time machine, taking us back to darker crisper biscuits. There are of course differences the most striking of which is the five different designs of swirls and holes, none of which are heart shaped. The jam is Raspberry flavoured plum jam as we would expect, but the addition of vegetable gum failed in making it quite as viscous as the Burtons Jammy dodger jam. Were they a fruity indulgence? no not really, but they were a very authentic Jammy Dodger clone.
Arnotts Raspberry Shortcakes provided no end of surprises. The biscuit was a strange reddish colour, and the lower biscuit had six small holes in it through which the filling had become extruded. The filling was not really jam but more like a sweetened fruit pulp, appearing pink and opaque. The most alarming aspect was the seemingly needless inclusion of coconut in the biscuit, which caught me off guard. The flavours were put in the back seat by the coconut. Having said that by the end of the pack I had become accustomed to it and was vaguely sorry to finish the last one off. Was it 'Sweet and interesting', well 'Sweet and unsettling' is how I would have put it.
Which one would I go for again? Well probably the strange Arnott's one just because its odd, but the Jam Fancies won over the rest of the team.
|Tuesday 14 Oct 2003|
|Well a couple of weeks back I was asked to do a bit on the telly about chocolate biscuits giving an overview of the whole genre in seven minutes, and for effect I investigated the percentage chocolate content of many biscuits. For those of you who like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit there are a few heavy weights around today that in sheer chocolate content would have made even the Club biscuits of yore blush. McV have their chunky choc bars at 67%, but way out in front are our old friends Foxs with their super indulgent Creations range, one of which had a mind boggling 79% chocolate content.
Now before we go any further lets clear the air a bit. I've never made any secret of the fact that I don't much like vast amounts of chocolate on a biscuit. Right at the low end of the scale, the 24% to 30% chocolate domain of the various half coated biscuits lies harmony and balance. Cross over the 50% boundary and the chocolate can quickly drown out any contribution that the biscuit content has to make to flavour. So if a manufacturer is going to enter the murky waters of the very chocolately they really need a good plan to differentiate their product from the next lump of chocolate on the shelf.
With the Creations range Foxs have set about to make some unique and high quality biscuits that are as visually striking as they are choco juggernauts. We picked just a few of the species available from a Foxs Creations selection tin to illustrate this. The octagonal marbled chocolate whirl has been in the range from the start, and is a stunning piece of biscuit design that combines white and plain chocolate on a cocoa flavoured biscuit in a very original and contemporary way. The strawberry dream sundae is like an escapee from a box of Milk Tray. Under its thick crust of milk chocolate is a core of sweet pink strawberry cream pinning down a hopelessly out maneuvered piece of shortcake. The Nut Swirler pitches a hazelnut biscuit against a generous slab of dark chocolate, which again dominates the partnership. Finally we choose the Jaffa Viennese as taste wise this easily had the most personality of the whole collection. The soft gooey orange filling was nicely complemented by its milk chocolate lid whilst the viennese biscuit could actually be appreciated for its own qualities being only half covered.
Much of the rest of the tin used coloured foil, in red, purple, silver and aquamarine to enhance some otherwise visually identical biscuits. It would be nice if slapping coloured foil over things to enhance their allure worked for other everyday objects such old cars, out of date PCs or tropical fish. Wrapping your tatty old angel fish up in smart purple foil would certainly draw your eye to them and put the neon tetras noses out of joint.
So if you are a frustrated chocoholic who likes to pretend that they enjoy biscuits then Foxs certainly have something for you. If not then keep an eye on the range as Foxs continue to produce some innovative and premium products some of which are sure to tempt you. As for which one had 79% chocolate, it was the shortcake ring.
Your feedback 1 message
|Sunday 5 Oct 2003|
|Well our recent tea tour to Cornwall gave us the chance to sample Cornish Clotted cream teas, a must for any visitor to the county, or country if you're from Kernow. We would, however, have been very remiss if we hadn't had a crack at the flagship biscuit of Cornwall the Fairing.
Baked in Redruth by Furniss (est 1816), packs or tubes of Fairings can be found in any shop in Cornwall that could remotely sell something sweet and edible, which makes for a fairly high percentage of them. Redruth also seems to be the operational base for Roddas the clotted cream barons, which might be a useful piece of information to know. Ok, its not important, but if you ever find yourself on a TV game show and that comes up as a question, it won't seem so trivial then.
Fairings are a close cousin of the Gingernut, however, some of the ginger has been replaced with cinnamon and mixed spice to give an a flavour that is in some ways similar to a continental cinnamon biscuit like the Speckaloo. Fairings should be quite hard and brittle, with a reddish golden appearance caused by the sugar and syrup caramelising during baking. The inside remains paler, whilst the surface has pleasingly rustic fissures caused by their rapid rise in the oven.
The Wife decided they were good dunkers, and being of quite substantive size they held their own during some concerted efforts to thin out their numbers. One word of warning, much in the manner of a Foxs Crinkle Crunch they will quickly go stale if left to fend for themselves. So eat them in one go or find a tin to keep them in.
Your feedback 3 messages