Hello and welcome to the first Digestive Press’ guide to all things biscuity – today lifting the lid (or at least pulling the wee strip of plastic that lets you open the packet) and having a peek at some very interesting, not to mention delicious, biscuits.
OREOS It may have escaped your attention but after years of being available in only tiny quantities at exorbitant prices in newsagents or in larger quantities at even more exorbitant prices in expensive shops Oreos are finally available and, it seems, are EVERYWHERE. Our local supermarket has been selling them at 37p for a pack of 24 at the moment, not just affordable but better value than many other biscuits. So, what is it about Oreos that is so appealing? Is it just because we were denied them for so long, catching glimpses of them from afar and nibbling them as an occasional treat? When I try to analyse what’s so great about Oreos I struggle to explain it. I have a suspicion that it may be the cream. This is probably because the best way to eat them is to remove the top part quickly and enjoy the cream within slowly (I estimate that I take around 0.5 seconds on the biscuit part and 5 seconds on the cream). Even though my brain questions whether they are all that good I still find myself drawn back to them over and over again. I suppose that time will tell if the novelty wears off or Oreos stay to become a staple in the British biscuit diet. (Look out for further explorations of Oreo variations in forthcoming biscuit guides).
GYPSY CREAMS My housemate and fellow Oreo nut Helen recently spent the Easter Weekend up in Scotland and came back with some very interesting biscuits from Irving’s Bakery in Castle Douglas. The biscuits that Helen brought back were Gypsy Creams, a variation on their Gypsy Single and a sandwich biscuit in the classic construction. The most noticeable thing about Gypsy Creams however is the size. You really have to strain your jaw to get your mouth around it but once you do you are rewarded with a tastier sandwich biscuit than most. I think this is because the biscuit and not the filling is the main focus of the biscuit unlike others – they have a wonderful malty taste and crumbly texture and are big, thick biscuits unlike the thinned out types usually used in sandwiches. Needless to say they did not last long in our house, my only disappointment is that it is possible to view them on the internet but not buy them. (A full range of the the biscuits available at Irving’s Bakery can be seen here – http://www.irvingsbakery.co.uk/output/bakery_products.asp?Category=1)
CHOCOLATE CHIP DIGESTIVES If you’re looking for a bargainous biscuit that’s not too shoddy then let me point you in the direction of Sainsbury’s 37p-for-500g Chocolate Chip Digestives, a plain digestive livened up with chocolate chips. These biscuits have managed to enhance the classic digestive without making it sweeter than normal, a mistake which can often spoil digestive innovations. These are steady biscuits, the kind that you won’t get carried away with eating but won’t bore you either, a tricky tightrope of biscuit appeal to balance along. There’s not much more to say about them really – not really suitable as a treat but perfect for everyday eating and can even be used in baking too. Here’s a picture of me posing with one I met on a beach. Be warned that they are not all that big.
Photographs in this article by Ric Carter