Thursday 6 May 2010

A Fundemental Choice

Bourbons and Custard Creams. This classic pair of biscuits are acutely English and the choice is more than a choice of biscuit; its a series of delicate choices that define who you are. I'll begin this blog entry with the the question, do you prefer boubons or custard creams? Your answer is likely to be an instant one, in which you polarise the two types of biscuit into a strong sense of like and a strong sense of 'awh man, im not really enjoying this biscuit so much.' Traditionally it seems that the bourbon and custard cream go hand in hand.... but why? Although fundementally they are biscuits which sandwich a sweet fondant filling, i believe they are nothing alike.

The bourbon doesn't taste like chocolate as you might first expect, and neither does the custard cream taste like custard. The general consensus, it seems, is that the custard cream is more popular. I personally prefer the custard cream, and so it seems Tesco does too. Figure 1 depicts a packet of Tescos Custard Cream biscuits and Bourbon Cream biscuits. The Custard cream pack weighs a respectable 400 grams, whereas the pack of Bourbons weighs just 200 grams. Prejudice against the Bourbon?.... or just good research? In this absolute 'Politically Correct' nanny state, it wouldnt' suprise me if Tesco are ordered to make both packets of biccies the same weight, as it may be deemed that the bourbons are recieving an unfair representation as an ethnic minority in the kingdom of biscuits. In the majority of biscuit tins you will most notably see the two biscuits sitting side by side, but Tesco understands that the ratio of Custard Creams to Bourbons is an important aspect and expect that the custard cream is twice as popular as the Bourbon. Why is it deemed more popular? If you observe figure 2 you will see that the custard creams design is far more intricate than the bourbons. This could be a key reason for it success. Another point which I believe to be worthy of note is the fact that bourbons jus dont taste much like chocolate. They probably aren't supposed to tase particularly chocolatey, but you still expect a creamy chocolatey delight, yet you are left dissapointed, and pondering a slightly dungy taste.

The best thing about the bourbon and custard cream is the fact the quality never differs. Think about it... have you ever had an exceedingly good or bad bourbon or custard cream? Although both biscuits make good tea dippy, i believe that the custard cream has the edge over the bourbon when it comes to dipping. According to Prof. Conor McGuiness of Sothampton Solent University, the buttery vanilla fondant melts when dipped in the tea, and this, he believes, is why the custard cream is a classic dippy biscuit. "I like to let the biscuit rest on my tongue and let it melt to really get the taste"
How you eat a custard cream or bourbon differs from person to person, but i have noted a few key idiosyncrasies that are classic among bourbon and custard cream eaters alike:
  • You will attempt too open the biscuit in half without damaging the biscuit or fondant filling in any way. (this tends to happen when you are becoming bored of the biscuit)
  • You will bite the corners off the biscuit, creating a relatively flush edge of biscuit and fondant, as aposed to having biscuit overhang.
  • You will search feverishly for unbroken ones... a broken bourbon or a crumbly custard cream just 'takes the biscuit'. haaaaaaar!

So it seems that these two most humble of biscuits have some talking points, but for whatever reason, they are true classics... biscuits which i grew up eating and still eat now. Take that Jammie Dodgers and BN's!...wankers.

Thanks for reading.


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