Friday, 13 January 2017

British Tea time biscuits and political persuasions

As a rule, I am not a big consumer of commercially made biscuits. However one of my kiwi friends who has just returned to the UK to live is an expert. We were discussing differences in food between NZ and UK and she bemoaned the fact that Malt biscuits are unobtainable here, and how can she make lolly cake without them? I have to confess I have never made lolly cake, a classic for Kiwi kids, and this failing must be rectified. I have promised to bring her a packet of malt biscuits when I return from New Zealand in March, and we will make lolly cake together. Happy Days!

Bourbon Cream and a cuppa

That conversation got me thinking about biscuits and then I was offered a Bourbon Cream at morning tea yesterday. It got me thinking about the classic British biscuits. Some of these biscuits I already knew of by name from references in British films and books. So it was interesting to see if the reality lived up to the anticipation.

Bourbon Cream: two oblong chocolate biscuits sandwiched with a cream filling. Not sure if there is a NZ equivalent. No, not named for, or flavoured with American whisky. it's named in honour of the ancient European royal house. The Bourbons out-lived their welcome in France, but still reign in Spain and Luxembourg. The biscuit was first made in London in 1910.

Marie biscuit: similar to a Vanilla Wine. Its the creation of a London bakery, and named in honour of Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia to the Duke of Edinburgh* (second son of Queen Victoria) in 1874. Really popular worldwide, apparently.

Garibaldi: Full o' Fruit would be our NZ equivalent. This biscuit, commonly referred to as a fly cemetery, was named in honour of the leader of Italian unification. Garibaldi apparently made quite an impression on the British public when he visited South Shields in the 1850's. The biscuit has been manufactured since 1861.

So, a couple of right wing, pro-monarchy choices, and a left wing populist biscuit, which might be slightly better for you. Could be a conversation starter at your next cup of tea?


* New Zealand link: Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh was the first member of the British Royal family to visit New Zealand. This was in 1869, on board the HMS Galatea, the Royal Navy ship of which he was commander. He had survived an assassination attempt the previous year while in Australia.

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