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Plainly easy to Digest...
Tasty biscuit and Chocolate . Reasonable price and commonly available . They are a British brand !
A bit high in Sugar content .
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In Britain, If someone say to you, "Think of five biscuits that instantly spring to mind", One of the first you would undoubtedly think off would be the digestive. Along with Rich Tea, Bourbons, Custard Creams and Hob Nobs (No giggling at the back!), digestives are one of the most recognised biscuit names, and certainly one of the most widely consumed. Many different manufacturers produce digestive biscuits today, and most of them also provide a chocolate covered variety. Arguably the king pin of the chocolate digestives are British food producer McVities, so here are my thoughts on their Dark Chocolate covered digestive biscuits.
McVitie's - A Readers Digest
A brand name of United Biscuits, McVites are one of the most well known biscuit brand names in the UK, with many people knowing at least one of the products they produce. United biscuits headquarters are based in Hayes, Middlesex, and have other well known snack brands under their umbrella, such as The Real McCoy's crisps and Jacobs Cream Crackers. They were formed when Scottish biscuits companies McVitie & Price and Macfarlane, Lang & Co amalgamated in 1948 to become United Biscuits. They currently have many production plants over the UK, mostly taking over old confectionery factory's or bakeries. One of the ones I personally was very aware of is their Harlesden plant in West London, having worked in the area, smelling that sweet baking smell of a cold Monday morning, brought a cheery grin to my face.
Although they commonly known to be credited with the original recipe for the digestive biscuit in 1892, there are records that refer to the digestive going back to 1876. Sometimes known by an alternative name as Sweetmeal Biscuit, It reportedly gets its Digestive name from a claim to it helping the digestive system of the body due to the high content of antacid ingredient sodium bicarbonate. The sugar content can differ from country to country, but in the UK it can be higher on average compared to that of digestive biscuits made in the USA. McVitie's only started selling the chocolate
covered variety in 1925, and followed up with numerous different incarnations, such as a chocolate orange and mint flavour type, and the incredibly delicious caramel version. American Writer Bill Bryson once went on record describing the chocolate digestive as a British Masterpiece, a nice sentiment but a little overblown I feel with all things considered. After all, it's still just a biscuit.
Due to its amazing popularity throughout the UK, the digestive has been adopted into recipes for desserts, most usually cheesecake bases, and also a mainstay on the selection tray in many hotels, restaurants and guest houses up and down Britain. It is also one of the most widely sold, with over 50 million packets sold in a single year, (all brands, all varieties), which in total equates to a value of £35 million. This breaks down to an average of 52 digestive biscuits eaten per second.
Price and Packaging
As with all standard biscuit packaging, what we get with these is the plastic wrapper, sealed at both ends in a cylindrical shape with the biscuits stacked up against one another. The 400 gram packet contains 24 biscuits, which unusally is not stated on the labelling. The seals are quite air-tight however, and keep the biscuits nice and fresh, but upon opening must be either placed in a cool and dry place such as a biscuit barrel or equivalent cupboard. The packet is just over seven and a half inches in length and two and a half inches in diameter. This is the 400 gram type, but you can buy a double pack (800 gram), which is two of these wrapped together in a similar wrapping. The average price you will expect to pay is around £1.55 for a 400 gram packet, and strangely in some supermarkets, the 800 gram 'double' pack can cost more than buying two 400 grams packs, but this isn't the case with all retailers.
The outward design is instantly recognisable, with the McVities brand logo prominent on the label above the Digestive title in a unique white and yellow wording. The packet is coloured dark brown, with red and yellow details and a cutaway picture of one of the biscuits. The variety type of 'Dark Chocolate' is printed underneath this, but can be missed easily. This was demonstrated by my girlfriend, having accidentally brought the Milk chocolate variety instead. This design is repeated twice on the label, with the usual information printed in easy to read boxes. The whole design really can go unnoticed on the supermarket shelves, and tends to blend in with not only the other digestive varieties, but other biscuits as well, so you really should look closely in the aisles if you wish to find them.
Taste and Texture
The sweet fragrance upon opening the packet is a little bit nondescript. The sugar and wheat is certainly prevalent, but mostly you can smell the bitterness of the cocoa within the chocolate. This is pleasant albeit a little surprising, but is quite appetising to a chocolate lover, and gives you a certain anticipation in to tucking into your first biscuit.
The biscuit is light to hold, and the chocolate doesn't instantly melt in your hands, giving you time to eat without messing up your fingers. You can also snap the biscuit in half with very little crumbs, the bake holding together nicely with the additional glue provided by the one millimetre chocolate coating. Upon biting, the biscuit crumbles quickly in your mouth, the wheat and sugar gains becoming obvious on the tongue. The chocolate melts in quick succession afterwards, and mixes together as your about to swallow. If you are particular to 'dunking' your baked sweet treats, be aware that digestives tend to fall apart rather quickly after being submerged in hot tea. So either eat very quickly or use a saucer to catch the falling sodden biscuit fragment.
The sweetness combined with the lightness of the biscuit is a lovely taste, the wheat and sugar providing a nice balanced flavour, possibly with a ever-so-slight salty hint in the background. The chocolate takes a second seat at first, with just the smoothness coming through, but while the last of the sugar and flour dissolves away, the bitter dark chocolate after-taste comes to the forefront. Again, this is a nice taste, and lingers cheekily in the mouth, temping your taste buds for another. That's what I believe people love about these biscuits, you feel as if you can eat more very easily indeed, and it takes a degree of will power to not sit down and eat four or five in rapid succession.
Ingredients and Nutritional Information
There are lots of healthy eating tips written over the wrapper, mostly focusing on that they contain no artificial flavours or colours, and no hydrogenated vegetable oil, but does contain E476 and varies raising agents.
Allergy Information: Contains Milk, Soya and Gluten.
Quantity per Biscuit. Energy - 353 kj / 84 kcal Protein - 1.0g Fat in total - 4.2g Of Saturates - 2.2g Carbohydrate in total - 10.7g Of Sugars - 4.7g Fibre - 4.0g Sodium - 0.1g
Some biscuits we buy just seem to have that effect on us. We habitually buy them to stock the cupboards, and they either get consumed within a few days or left for weeks, forgetting they were even purchased. Digestives are one of these mainstay, stalwart cupboard fillers, but the chocolate ones are normally snaffled up pretty quickly. Having been around for ages and well known, most people already know weather they like a digestive to accompany their afternoon tea, and if they are a biscuit lover, these McVities Dark Chocolate ones would be welcome on the tray any time.
Reasonable priced, widely available, not all that bad for your waistline with sensible consumption and with the added forethought that you know what your going to get, it's not a surprise these are a big seller, and popular with many people. Great to eat with hot drinks, and also never look out of place on the tea-time table, McVities set the benchmark on these biscuits and rightly so for a recipe which has altered little in over 100 years.
Commonly known and commonly loved, they are a pleasure for your taste-buds and stomach to digest. (Erm...)