Thursday, June 07, 2007

packshot Thursday number 3: Tunnock's teacakes 

Here's a thing. Your supermarket, not content with being your grocer, wants to be your dry cleaner, your bank, your insurer and your broadband provider. Your phone company also wants to be your broadband provider, and maybe sell you some TV channels you'll never watch too. Your bookshop sells coffee, your coffee shop sells CDs, your record shop sells books. What place in a world of such diversification and multi-pie-fingering for your honest to God specialist? What place for a company that after over a hundred years in business still manufactures only half a dozen product lines? What place?

34 Old Mill Road, Uddingston G71 7HH.

Thomas Tunnock Ltd (Est. 1890) make six different types of bad for you chocolatey treats (or eight if you count milk and dark chocolate variants of the same thing separately - I don't and nor should you). I have never seen an advertisement for any of these products. They sell bloody millions of them. They're doing something right.

One of the things they're doing right is the Tunnock's teacake. Introduced to my purview a few years back by a wise and lovely friend this is essentially an igloo of particularly soft and gooey mallow on a biscuity base covered in a thin shell of milk chocolate. It is a simple, indeed unsophisticated, confection and all the better for it. It comes packaged in gorgeous foil like this...

...and tastes of your childhood. Sod your Proustian reveries over madeleines, get a Tunnock's teacake down your neck and you'll be back in short trousers and watching Tom Baker era Dr Who round your Nan's* in no time (at least for the duration of the sugar rush). It's an indulgence, it's a treat and it's a way of regressing to childhood that doesn't involve Paul McKenna. That has to be a good thing doesn't it?

*Dr Who actors and relatives may vary according to personal experience.

Have you seen the biscuit website Nice Cup Of Tea and a Sitdown?

Here's the link, and an article about the near-miraculous manufacture of Tunnock's teacakes.


Ah, the joys of smoothing out the foil from a Tunnock's teacake...

Steve - I'd heard of Nice Cup of Tea... but never taken much of a look at it. Did kind of think that it almost certainly made my own post about the mighty Tunnock irrelevant but decided to go ahead anyway.

Jonathan - it has to be done. Like running a fingernail down the foil between fingers of a Kit Kat, an irresistible pleasure. Not that I ever buy Kit Kats these days having successfully boycotted Nestle products for some years. Can't in all honesty remember why - something to do with them making baby milk out of real babies or something I think, it's a bit hazy - but I boycott them nonetheless.

I often wonder why Tunnocks Tea Cakes have the ingredients listed in Arabic on the box. Are they popular in Saudi?

Rather, I wonder about this from time to time. It's not something that keeps me awake at night.

Not like the idea of Tunnocks being a broadband provider does.

From the Tunnock's website:

"Nowadays containerloads of product are shipped to destinations as far apart as the Caribbean, Kuwait, Canada and Japan. No matter the climate - hot or cold - Tunnock products have a universal appeal. Thirty countries across 6 continents just can't resist their enduring flavour."

This is just below the bit about Tunnock's winning "Europe's prestigious Candy Kettle Award" (which I really ought to have mentioned in the post).

"No matter the climate - hot or cold - Tunnock products have a universal appeal."

I beg to differ, at hot temperatures they melt and become difficult to control.

Must admit I wasn't entirely convinced by that claim myself though didn't have any undue troubles with my last batch which spent their (few) days in a shady part of the warmest room in the house. How are they if refrigerated? Does the mallow retain optimum soft and gooeyness or is its viscosity increased to the detriment of the eating experience? Time for experiments, graphs, charts... There's a PhD in this for someone I reckon. Probably not quite a Nobel prize though.

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