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Coffee and a chocolate biscuit

"when the going gets tough the tough take a coffee break"

I don't often take a coffee break, not like I did when working, when it was a vital break in routine. I don't generally need the stimulus for either continuing with the routine stuff, or thinking of new and exciting things to do. But every now and then in the afternoon I feel that my brain needs a bit of a boost, and a couple of days ago this happened, and so the picture at left is the result.

It wasn't a coffee break though because I just kept on working at my blog. The break bit was making the coffee in the first place. And the going was not what you would call tough. I was just a bit uninspired and needed a bit of a boost.

But it did involve a guilty chocolate biscuit - a McVitie's dark chocolate Digestive. An English - no Scottish - classic.

It looked so aesthetically appealing to me, that I took a photograph and now that I look at the photograph I realise that it must be yesterday because the art in the desk diary is this week's Saturday/Sunday painting - or painting detail. The Met cheat a bit by just having one picture for the whole weekend. Also the paintings are cut to fit the space available, which sometimes means you lose the whole beauty and meaning of the original.

But I digress. Although I suspect this whole blog may be a bit all over the place.

My first problem was my Google search for 'coffee chocolate biscuit', which of course brought up all sorts of recipes for coffee and chocolate biscuits or biscuit associated things - viz - just a selection: Coffee and chocolate cups from Gordon Ramsay - which are really a kind of chocolate mousse; Maggi Beer's Chocolate and coffee vino cotto biscuits; Cocoa dusted coffee cookies from Donna Hay; Chocolate and coffee brownie biscuits from Good Food

All pretty delicious sounding, if not always delicious looking I have to say. Coffee and chocolate do seem to be a perfect match.

And then I came across an article in The Spruce Eats, by Syrie Wongkaew about the Tim Tam Slam. Now The Spruce Eats is an American website so there was a view that this was all very weird and uniquely Australian. Which I guess it is.

I did know about Tim Tams, although, being English we have never really got into them for some reason. Maybe I should start now, although I do try to avoid chocolate and am not really a chocolate freak. I was dimly aware of the Tim Tam ritual but not really, so it was quite enlightening for me. Apparently this is also known as the Time Tam Bomb, the Tim Tam Suck and the Tim Tam Explosion. Arnott's chose the Suck option for their publicity apparently even though the article says, quite correctly I think:

"Tim Tam Suck" sounds more like the title of a complaint letter rather than a sensual assault-by-chocolate."

So what is the Tim Tam Slam - or am I educating the knowledgeable? According to The Spruce Eats, this is it:

"The Tim Tam Slam is a fun way to enjoy your afternoon coffee break. It's an interactive process that lets you enjoy a sweet treat along with a tasty hot beverage. The ritual is done in a very specific manner and if it isn't done right, things can get messy.

  1. Prepare the hot coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and have it ready.

  2. Bite off each end of the Tim Tam.

  3. Place one bitten end of the Tim Tam in your mouth, and dip the other bitten end in the hot drink.

  4. Now suck, using the Tim Tam as a straw. As the hot drink is pulled through the biscuit, the structure of the biscuit and cream collapses.

  5. Once the drink reaches the tongue, pop the Tim Tam in your mouth before it explodes!" Syrie Wongkaew/The Spruce Eats

I cannot visualise how this could be anything but messy. I mean "Once the drink reaches the tongue, pop the Tim Tam in your mouth" . I see melted chocolate all over your fingers, and collapsing biscuit scattering everywhere. I reckon you would need a bib of some kind. So tell me Australians, is this for real?

I did like this closing comment though - (for you David):

"there are only 11 biscuits per packet. Eleven is a prime number, and someone is always going to be short a Tim Tam. In that case, try picking up two packages when grocery shopping." Syrie Wongkaew/The Spruce Eats

But back to the Brits and McVitie's. McVitie's are an Edinburgh firm that was founded back in 1832 when Robert McVitie and his father opened a grocery shop and began making baked goods. The company grew and in 1892 began making the digestive biscuit:

"Made with whole-wheat and baking soda, it promised to aid digestion, for which read reduce flatulence." Polly Russell/FT Magazine

Hard biscuits such as these were perfect for the British custom of dunking their biscuits in their tea - or coffee.

"What Americans call biscuits, soft and risen, are more like scones, and the cookie, biscuit’s close cousin, is not designed for dunking which, from a British perspective, is the whole point." Polly Russell/FT Magazine

And, as an aside, did you know that the Romans had a kind of biscuit - panus biscotus which literally means bread twice cooked?

The chocolate digestive biscuit though was not invented until 1925, although Cadbury's had taken out a patent for one in 1891. However they really didn't market them well, and so they were not a success. Apparently today the McVitie's chocolate digestive is top of the pops for dunking in your coffee whether it be a cappuccino, a long black or a latte - or any other increasingly long list of kinds of coffee. Chocolate and coffee are just one of those natural pairings. Once both luxuries and now not - although with the rising price of both chocolate and coffee maybe they will be once again. So make the most of it now.

We keep our - no David's - chocolate biscuits in an old Arnott's biscuit tin. Last random fact - Decorative biscuit tins were invented by Huntley and Palmers way back in 1832.

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