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There is a bit of a tradition in the Waterhouse Homestead. Sundays involve a couple of newspapers, a milky coffee for me (black for Alun) and a few biscuits to dunk! Tange’s biscuit of choice at the moment is the one described by Peter Kay as the Marines ~perfect for dunking, he says they are “like the bloody SAS of the biscuit world.” My Sunday favourites ARE McVities Hobnobs!
**How much & where from?
We either get ours from Farmfoods, where you can get two 300g packs for a pound, or from the local Spar (across the road) where the same 300g pack costs 83 pence for just the one. The former is the ideal, the latter option is for when we get desperate and the biscuit tin is bare (this happens frequently because we’ve been sneaking them during the week)! McVities Hobnobs are easy to find and you should be able to purchase them in most Supermarkets.
Top tip here is to look around for offers and get the best price ~ two for ones crop up quite a lot.
**What are they?
Biscuits! My choice is the plain, non-chocolate coated variety ~ although I won’t turn down the plain choc ones if offered! Hobnobs are round, made from rolled oats (apparently 38% of the ingredients ARE these rolled oats) and sugar syrup. They first came on the scene in 1985 and I have been dunking them ever since! The plain ones came first and there are now chocolate coated ones (plain and milk) and Hobnob bars as well. The oats are good roughage too! I’ve also just discovered the wonderful ones that have hazelnuts in them ~ absolute class!
**What do I think of them?
I think you can probably tell that I am a bit of a fan of the Hobnob. I love the way they crunch when you bite them. They are quite robust and don’t collapse when you bite, but you do have watch for bits of oats falling off ~ I find a cupped hand under the mouth collects any escaping crumbs!
**The look, the aroma & the taste
First look at your biscuit ~ it is round (about the diameter of a coffee mug) with the oat flakes easily visible. If you sniff your Hobnob before eating you will find a honey and oat scent; not strong but quite distinct. Take a bite and the flavour comes through straight away. They taste sweet, but the sweetness is more of a honey flavour with a little bit of brown sugar mixed in (a bit like when you put brown sugar in a coffee instead of white granulated). Despite this they are not sickly and have a flavour not unlike a flapjack ~ oaty, slightly chewy and a little like porridge. The syrup and oats are dominant and mix really well. There is a good combination of sweet and savoury ~ both are evident but none dominate.
**To dunk or not to dunk....
Whether you are dunking or not dunking completely changes the texture of your Hobnob!
DUNKING ~ If you dunk the biscuit will retain the same flavour, but will go softer as the oats soak up the liquid. The sugar syrup will melt slightly but still retain a bit of chewiness, thus holding the biscuit together. They melt in your mouth nicely after dunking too. Top tip is to dunk them for a second or so and then suck ~ don’t leave them in your drink for too long or they start to get a bit slushy and the substance goes.
NOT DUNKING ~ Dunking is not compulsory! Non-dunked Hobnobs are hard, crunchy and the oat flakes separate in your mouth and the biscuit becomes slightly crumbly at this stage. Here comes my only criticism of the Hobnob! The flakes of oat can get stuck in your teeth and can sometimes be slightly sharp if they get in your gums. The biscuit will stay quite hard and have a nice crunch as you bite!
**My Final Thoughts.
I’m with Peter Kay on the Hobnob! They have flavour, texture and are nice for dunking. They don’t collapse in your coffee cup and they have a pleasant combination of sweetness and oatiness in the taste.
• Tasty • Good Crunchy texture • Excellent for dunking • Can get good offers on price
• Oats can be sharp in your gums • Some shops overprice them • If you dunk too long they collapse
I am leaving the last word to Peter Kay….
“Rich Tea are bad for dipping – you got to be like lightning with Rich Tea. HobNobs now that’s a biscuit for dipping. HobNobs are like the Marines!”