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exemplary review of the once-great Breakaway. However, I'm somewhat surprised that you neglected the red-jacketed plain chocolate breakaway. Same look, but a red wrapper and plain chocolate, which meant they were only eaten when the milk chocolate ones ran out. These hardy specimens could congregate quite happily in the arse of a schoolbag for months. I don't know if Caramac breakaways only existed in Ireland (clearly the biscuit Shangri-La), but they were revolting. replace the choc with a layer of Caramac and you get the picture. Dis-gus-ting, and the wrappers were the colour of vomit as well.
Amazing how the mention of Uniteds spurred hitherto forgotten memories. They were fab. The biscuit bit was really crap, bland and crumbly and dry as hell, but the honeycomb bits made it all worthwhile. And the chocolate was admirably thick. As a bloke who clearly appreciates the merits of oranges, you'll be delighted to know that they also came in orange flavour, which basically substituted the honeycomb bits for orange flavoured honeycomb bits. They were a bit spesh by any standards; I must have eaten hundreds of them when I were a nipper.
Vic Ockmore is spot-on when he identifies the (fairly) recent phenomenon of Coconut taste being found in the mighty Breakaway biscuit, though I have no idea when or why this came about. As your review states the Breakaway used to have an oaty Digestive at it's heart and it was this, combined with an enrobement of real chocolate (yes - real, not that pretend gunk like you get on Waggonwheels and Clubs!) that made this superb biscuit a firm favourite with me. I (unlike yourself-it would seem) have no problem with Coconut and it's use in biscuit manufacture, but in this case I strongly believe they have got it wrong. There was nowt wrong with the original so why mess with it?
Though not as good as it once was, it's still a decent biccy and yes I too mourn the passing of the foil wrap - lets face it the good old Kit-Kat hasn't been the same since it received the same treatment, has it?
Coincidentally, in the early Eighties both the Breakaway and Kit-Kat had the same 'hidden chocolate bonus potential' that so many of us enjoyed, and it was this reason - as much as any other that caused me to eat so many of the things.
The trick in those days, was to do a bit of light 'brass-rubbing' of the foil on the underside of said item, to try and determine if it was solid chocolate or not - (both biscuits had only a thin layer of chocolate at their base so any biscuit or wafer enclosed was easily identifiable). Now I know what you are thinking and the answer is No - I didn't spend my formative years fondling confectionary in the local shops ! (well - no more than your average snotty-nosed kid with a few pennies burning a hole in his pocket) - I was lucky. After leaving school I worked for a few years in the catering industry and therefore had unlimited access to the things before they were put out on display for sale or in vending machines. So I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologise to all those people who's only hope of brightening their day lay in the chance discovery of the odd 'rogue' Kit-Kat - folks you didn't stand a chance - I got in there first !...Sorry...
Anyway Nicey, great web site - great subject - can't believe I've only just found it (many thanks to MSN). I spent hours yesterday reading all the reviews etc.. trouble is - what on earth do you tell the missus you've been doing till 2 in the morning when you crawl into bed ? - reading about tea and biscuits on the internet ? . . . no - I don't think she believed me either !!
Fraser (jollygoodfellow) Driver
|Nicey replies: Fortunately my Wife is very understanding and broadminded about the whole tea biscuits and the internet thing.
|Dear Nicey, |
As one who fondly remembers the launch of the Breakaway ("nudge, nudge, wink, wink...") all those years ago, I'm sure the digestive innards have changed.
Tasting one now there seems to be a taste of coconut in there somewhere, which I'm sure wasn't in the original. Has anyone else noticed this?
Also, whilst writing, I got given some Peruvian biscuits and I put them somewhere safe, planning secret munching and a possible review for you.
Imagine my horror to find that ''Er Indoors' had found and scofffed them. Not only that, but she said she didn't enjoy them anyway!
|Nicey replies: Vic,
I'm sure that the digestive was much more Digestive like in Breakaways of old, it seems a little derivaive now but I wouldn't go as far as saying coconuty, although I haven't had one in a while.
As for your Peruvian biscuits this is the eternal problem suffered by those of us who thirst for biscuit knowledge, and I've seen it happen time and time again. They get eaten by the other half, and then they give you a hard time for getting in some strange biscuits that they don't like. One of the benefits of running NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown is that Wifey now actually observes and respects my review biscuits and holding tins. Unless of course I have more than one packet of something then its open season.
|I just thought I would drop an email to say how much I agree with the emails so far regarding the breakaway. I found this site whilst researching the breakaway bar solely because only this week I was lucky enough to have the experience of eating a half biscuit, half just chocolate breakaway. Subsequently that proved to be a very good day. I am feel even more privileged because this bar was obviously post-wrapper/design change.|
All this talk of buying chocolate biscuits at school break times brought back fond memories of my particular childhood favourite, the glorious 'United' biscuit. Plain and rather crumbly biscuit covered with low-qualityish chocolate which was thick on top and - wait for it - mixed with impossibly small honeycomb pieces. The best part though was the design: a single biscuit was shaped into three distinct pieces which could be snapped off and eaten separately, allowing
for a deeply satisfying KitKat-style ritual. A triumph of the biscuit whole being somewhat greater than the sum of its parts.
In later years I believe the United was redesigned and became a standard uni-biscuit. Of course, the novelty thus removed, it soon dropped from favour and I can't recall seeing one for many years.
The other thing about Uniteds was that the chocolate on top was dimpled, allowing for excellent 'brass rubbings' to be taken using the foil wrapper. Breakaways also once had this property in spades with their excellent criss-cross patterned top, but once again the design was meddled with, and biscuit brass rubbing was dealt a cruel blow. In fact I'm unaware of any current biscuit that readily lends itself to the practice.
Do biscuit executives really have so little a grasp of what makes a particular biscuit great?
|Nicey replies: Never had a United alas, but thanks for that vivid description.
Also a point well made about the brass rubbing on top of Breakaways, we mention that in our review of them. Its these things that elevate a biscuit from an also ran into a classic design, and engage the eater.