Oh goodness, I do love a biscuit me. Not as much as the good people of the Brunswick Shopping Centre mind you, who have staged a three day festival in homage to the humble biscuit. Perhaps they feel that too often the biscuit plays second fiddle to the tea it so often accompanies, or even to its flashier sister cake. Spouse ruminated on this.
“Cake is the main event. If you were to have a slice of cake every time you had a cup of tea, then you’d have a major problem. But a biscuit with a cup of tea, that’s a good balance of celebration and restraint.”
It was in this vein that spouse and I went to the Great British Biscuit Festival yesterday. As we arrived, the hourly biscuit show was starting, and we joined in, waggling our biscuit fingers, and performing the dunk manouevre as our leaders showed us.
As the only adults to do this, we swiftly got to chatting with the magnificent Dai Gestive, with whom we swapped views on dunking vs nibbling. I myself am no advocate of the dunk: I like a crunchy biscuit. Spouse feels the same: he can’t abide soggy lumps at the bottom of the mug, although he tends towards the biscotti in these situations. Dai’s face went pale at the thought of such a foreign sweetmeat at this celebration of this most British of celebrations. I rallied, and quickly explained my approach to nibbling a bourbon: nibble off top layer, then consume whole bottom layer (this has a more pleasing chocolate cream to biscuit ratio I find). Dai listened to all this patiently, and said this was one of the most fulfilling conversations she’d had about biscuits so far that day, and invited me to join in one of the Terrific Biscuit Tin Tournament games.
And so it was that I found myself on stage competing with three children trying to nibble a digestive into the shape of a British icon (in my case Big Ben, but earlier in the day Her Majesty had been immortalised in biscuit form).
What with the great British dunk off (performed to the theme of Eye of the Tiger), and the eating a biscuit without using your hands competition, I honestly didn’t know you could have that much fun with a biscuit. I am now seriously considering having a biscuit fun and game themed tea party.
My Big Ben clock face came second, btw, mainly because I heavily milked the audience participation. I could have quite cheerfully wept when Dai Gestive gave the packet of Jammy Dodgers to the child who came third.
It was a swift matter then to tour the stalls, build our own biscuits, and even sample biscuit related cocktails. It turns out that the mini Jaffa cake is a damn fine thing when popped in a glass full of cava and chocolate orange liqueur.
Pausing only briefly to sample a fabulous chocolate brownie, Spouse and I tottered off into the sunset, any woes forgotten, our love of the biscuit renewed.
The Great Biscuit Festival is being held from 12 noon to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, 9 and 10 June at the Brunswick Shopping Centre. The nearest tube is Russell Square and full details of the event are available from here: http://brunswick.co.uk/index.php/20-news-scroller/119-biscut-111