Guiding biscuits

June 3, 2010 at 14:26 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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Today, something different. Notwithstanding my faint disquiet about an organisation that exhorts its members to ‘do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country’ (not much there for an atheist republican anti-nationalist) I had the opportunity to try a Girl Guide biscuit today.

These are sold by the Australian Girl Guides in May and June, and is their major fundraiser. Apparently they sell around twenty million of them – around one per Australian (as they note). I had two, so I guess someone else will have to miss out. Sorry it that was you. The Guides provide a wealth of exciting facts about the biscuits, including that put end to end they would surround Uluru 73 times and that they have been made to the same recipe for 55 years.

Each packet contains fifteen biscuits, each measuring 69mm across. An aficionado of these biscuits insisted that ‘they have got smaller’. This phenomenon is well documented in economic circles as the ‘biscuit anti-inflation index’; a fluctuating figure that tracks how fast consumers perceive their biscuits are shrinking. Theories abound as to what drives this index; like a lot of economic theory it is not fully understood. However, experts on the matter generally fall into two main camps, the ‘insisters’ (who believe the index is linked to the actual size of the biscuit) and the ‘externalists’ (who believe it is chiefly linked to external factors such as hand growth and happiness quotient).

I only had the opportunity to try the ‘choc’ variant, although there are also plain an ‘mini choc’ lines. The packet is green; I’m not quite sure why as the Guides corporate colour seems to be blue. I somehow expect biscuits in a green pack to be mint flavoured. So strong was this association in my mind that I thought I could smell mint as I opened them, and only later realised that this was some form of nasal illusion.

They consist of a shortcake-style biscuit embossed with the Guides logo, with chocolate flavour coating on the back. These biscuits are designed to be placed chocolate down – somewhat unconventional, but showing off the logo is obviously the point. The biscuit itself is kind of OK – plain, quite short and crumbly. It contains no butter, and is nothing special – just a fairly cheap plain biscuit. Perhaps a bit ‘institutional’; but then it is institutional, so lets not hold that against it.

The whole thing is ruined, however, by the ‘choc’ coating. It’s not actually chocolate; it’s emulsified vegetable fat flavoured with cocoa powder, and it tastes exactly like that. It’s really quite nasty; I’m not sure if this part of the recipe is also 55 years old, but if it is it needs updating with more modern chocolate technology. As they are, you should think twice about who you offer them too, in case the poor quality ‘chocolate’ offends them. I’d really think twice about serving these to the Queen, for example, notwithstanding the Guiding promise. Perhaps it’s safer to stick to the plain variant. Only a two out of ten for these, I’m afraid.

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