I've written about biscuits before, specifically Tunnock's wafers. But it was this exchange earlier that reminded me that, in all of our minds, there is a hierarchy of biscuits:
She's right, of course. Jaffa Cakes beat Hob-Nobs, there's no sensible debate to be had there*. Jaffa Cakes win. But it got me thinking. Exactly where do Jaffa Cakes, and Hob-Nobs for that matter, fit in the biscuit hierarchy? If you were playing biscuit poker, a pair of Viscounts would clearly defeat a Rich Tea. But what about a Trio, or a Taxi? And how to separate out all those different varieties of Club?
That's where you come in. I'm going to try and establish a rough framework here in this post, but I'm bound to make mistakes. There are some rules - generally biscuits are higher up the food chain if they have a wrapper, particularly a shiny one; and of course, the addition of chocolate improves anything. Now, you may well disagree, but I'm just trying to get things rolling. Feel free to add your own suggestions.
1. Viscounts. Orange or mint. I'm not fussy. All right. I am - make it orange. And bring the fuckers here, right now. I know this may be controversial, but I'm going for Viscounts. I used to call them Viss-counts when I was a kid. What the fuck did I know?
2. Tunnock's Wafers. Of course. How can you go wrong? Lovely pink-and-gold wrappers only hint at the wafer-caramel joy beneath.
3. Choco Leibniz. The ruthlessly efficient Teutonic teatime treat. Shitloads of chocolate are the key here, but you're only getting the kind of flimsy biscuit you'd normally associate with a Choc Dip. Still, nice writing on the back, you can't knock that.
4. Kit-Kats. I'm talking in particular about the Peanut Butter Kit-Kat chunky, although as many of you are aware, there's a whole myriad of different Japanese Kit-Kats. The elusive wasabi Kit-Kat is kind of the Holy Grail there, I'm pretty sure. Wasabi... and Kit-Kat... in one handy biscuit? Oh yes! Points down for it no longer being in foil that got stuck in your fillings and made you hit the ceiling like you were licking a 9v battery.
5. Clubs. More specifically, the raisin ones. Do they still do them? I mean, fuck the ordinary chocolate ones. Too biscuity, not enough fun. Stick raisins in there, though, and you've got something great.
6. Jaffa Cakes. You may find it surprising they're here at all; you may be surprised they're not higher up. Jaffa Cakes are moreish, of course, but there's something too spongey about them. The smashing jaffa orangey bit is, as far as I'm aware, slightly less smashing than it used to be, as well. You may well have travelled overseas and found Jaffa Cakes will all kinds of delightful fillings - the strawberry, the lime, all kinds of joy - but the orange is the original and still the best.
7. Tuc. Shit name for a biscuit (is it tuck? took? TUC?) and this is a savoury, not a sweet. But you can forgive these little blighters that. Slight problems with the crackers splintering away from the cheesy fondant centre, but apart from that, a tremendous all-rounder.
8. Bourbons. Ah yes. There are only two sensible ways of eating a Bourbon: a) remove one biscuit finger from two separate Bourbons, then place them together for one enormous chocolate-cream filling of wonderment, or b) get rid of one biscuit finger then scrape off the good stuff with your teeth. No other ways are permissable, I'm afraid.
9. Wagon Wheels. You may regard these as being beyond biscuits, but I think they still count. As a child, they seemed to last a few seconds. Now, I probably wouldn't be able to eat more than an eighth of one without being sick all over the floor. There's something satisfying, though, about a biscuit that's so fucking vast that you can't even get it in your mouth.
10. Jammy Dodgers. In a lot of ways, you could see the 'dodger' as the impertinent cousin of the Wagon Wheel, but without the mallow. The jam appears to be some kind of red melted glass suitable for road surfacing, capable of ripping apart even the most elaborate dentistry, and the biscuit itself isn't amazing. But still. It's a bloody jammy dodger.
11. Custard Creams. The baroque engraving on the side of the biscuit, the satisfying crunch-squelch-crunch of the texture, the sheer opulence of the little fuckers. You can dunk these and keep them intact, no worries.
12. Gypsy Creams. Goodness me. These take me back to my childhood, maybe about five years old, when I first started experiencing feelings that made me feel a bit strange. The first time I noticed this was watching Kate Bush doing Babooshka on Top of the Pops, thinking to myself "I don't know why, but I feel a bit weird." Another one to chalk away under 'first stirrings' was the lady in the Gypsy Creams advert, all 80s glistening hair and backlighting, riding a pony or something. It didn't have much to do with gypsies. But ooh. (I'm pretty sure I didn't make this up. Can anyone confirm this actually happened?)
13. Garibaldi. Seriously, this is my crack cocaine. I can't just have one bit. Sure, you can break a bit off and pretend that's all you're going to eat, but then all of a sudden it's half an hour later, and you're covered in crumbs and bits of raisin, and are the approximate size of a small house. For this reason, though, I can't buy Garibaldi any more. Which is a shame.
14. Party rings. These toroid nuggets of sugary love offer the doughnut experience without a doughnut - more two-dimensional, yet still garishly pink and yellow in colour, with a hole in the middle so you can play hoopla with the cat's tail. Not that I'd do that with my cat, as I'd get my face ripped off.
15. Chocolate Hob-Nobs. Of course, chocolate makes anything better. But Hob-Nobs still lurk down the lower reaches.
16. Taxis. Promised so much, didn't it, the Taxi. Ooh, I'm in Manhattan, in a yellow cab, about to bump into Woody Allen. No! It's just a bog-standard biscuit, very little to enjoy here, but hey, it could be worse.
17. Penguins. Nice pictures of penguins on the wrappers, mind.
18. Malted Milk. To be quite blunt, if it weren't for the stencil on the side, I wouldn't touch these fuckers at all.
19. Hob-Nobs. The trouble with dunking these crumbly little jokers is that you end up with separation in your tea, and a resultant oaty sludge in your final couple of mouthfuls. Danger here.
20. Chocolate Digestives. The plain chocolate are clearly the important ones here. Don't fuck me around with Cadbury's muddy sludge on there.
Unranked: Nice biscuits (they clearly are nothing of the sort).
You may well disagree with these selections, but bear in mind we've all got favourites. Where, for example, is the Blue Riband? In the fucking bin where it belongs, is my answer. But you may be dismayed by that attitude.
* I realise that some of you may not regard Jaffa Cakes as cakes and not biscuits. But for the purposes of the biscuit hierarchy, a 'biscuit' is something (generally) disc-shaped snack you eat, often with a cup of tea, with the approximate diameter slightly smaller than a normal-sized mug, for dunking purposes. I realise that not all biscuits fit this description - the Tunnock's wafer, for example, or the Choco Leibniz. But you get the general idea. Jaffa Cakes, yes; pork pies, no.
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