Londoners, today is International Tea Day. Check out tea expert Angela Pryce's notes on how to pick the perfect biccie to enjoy with your chosen cuppa.
Apparently Brits chomp their way through 100 million McVitie’s biscuits in particular and sip 165 million cups of tea every day.
Of the classic combination, Angela says: "Consuming food with tea has been a custom in Britain since the 19th Century, and the biscuit has become one of the nation’s most popular food choices to enjoy with a brew.
"Sitting down with a cup of tea and a biscuit is now a cornerstone of British life – and with very good reason!"
MILK CHOCOLATE HOBNOB
Nose: Creamy milk chocolate – smells like a smile.
Taste: The gentlest of bites, with a crumbly finish. Smooth chocolate covered oats, gives a full, wholesome mouthfeel. Guaranteed to tease your taste buds, this is a sweet biscuit that will make your mouth water.
Mood/occasion: A biscuit for sharing, something to be savoured – elegant and also rather special.
This tea and biscuit moment calls for your finest bone china.
Tea Matches: A Darjeeling black tea, with its inherent crisp, muscatel finish, cuts perfectly through the creamy milk chocolate of the Hobnob. The Darjeeling tea cleanses the palate, shortening the creamy taste and offsets the sweetness of the chocolate – leaving a fresh taste in the mouth.
The Hobnob biscuit is only suitable for short dunks because it is an oat-based biscuit, so the larger oat particles provide less structural strength to the biscuit
Nose: Smells buttery and creamy – an enveloping ‘hug’ of a biscuit.
Taste: A satisfying crunch, short and sweet. A lovely full-bodied, lingering mouthfeel with a creamy vanilla taste. Uncomplicated, simply satisfying.
Mood/occasion: The name says it all! Best served with good, old-fashioned tea.
A biscuit for dunking – preferably into a large steaming mug of a traditional ‘Builders Brew’ British black tea. The rounded, creamy taste combined with warm milky tea offers comfort, warmth and a reassuring feeling of home. Best served up in pyjamas, under a blanket, alone or with friends.
Tea match: A rich brown liquor with a coppery infusion, ensure it’s served with milk as it enhances the biscuit’s creaminess and rounded mouthfeel.
If you’re feeling fancy, try it with an Assam – the malty character of Assam tea complements the maltiness of the biscuit – a perfect match.
Rich Tea is the most robust biscuit for dunking, ahead of Chocolate Digestives and can withstand multiple dunks.
MILK CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE
Nose: Creamy chocolate, with just a hint of wheat
Taste: A gentle bite with a satisfying finish. Creamy milk chocolate covered wholemeal, a savoury-sweet delight.
Mood/occasion: There’s something straightforward about this biscuit – it is guaranteed to deliver, whatever the circumstances. You’re in the mood for something solid, nothing too fancy, but a delicious treat.
Tea Matches: A Sencha green tea, with its crisp astringency and natural grassiness, cuts through the creamy milk chocolate, forming the perfect accompaniment. Be warned though, this is one combination that shouldn’t be dunked – simply enjoyed together! The green tea cleanses the palate, shortening the creamy taste and offsets the sweetness of the chocolate – leaving a fresh taste in the mouth.
Always serve green tea without milk, brewed in boiled, cooled water (around 80ºC) will give best results.
Chocolate Digestives are the second best biscuit to dunk in tea. The chocolate coating gives the biscuit additional strength and melts in the hot tea, gluing the surface of the biscuit together. It lasts over six times longer than the naked Digestive when dunked
Did you know Chocolate Digestives are actually meant to be eaten with the chocolate side facing down, as this is actually the bottom of the biscuit?
Nose: Dried fruit, bakey, ‘fresh from the oven’
Taste: A sweet, crumbly bite. A complex mouthfeel of soft, buttery biscuit, chewy dried fruits and crunchy, crisp sugar.
Mood/occasion: Definitely a livener, if not already fully immersed in the chaos of the day. Guaranteed to perk you up, refresh the senses and avoid a potential mid-morning slump.
Tea matches: English Breakfast, which is blended especially to take milk and sugar well, is a perfect match in terms of flavour and strength to stand up against a the rich fruit flavours of the biscuit.
Nose: A zingy, lemon fragrance reminiscent of sticky sweet lemon drizzle cake – with just the hint of ginger.
Taste: A powerful crunch – you won’t find more bite in a biscuit. An immediate hit of citrus, lemons and lime, followed by the mouth-filling warmth of ginger. Palate pleasing, with a length of heat that remains long after the biscuit has gone!
Mood/occasion: Uplifting and stimulating – suited to mid-afternoon when you’re feeling the slump, and in need of a reinvigorating lift.
Tea matches: Earl Grey is a classic partner for the Ginger Nut biscuit thanks to its scents of oil of Bergamot and citrus fruits. Citrus and ginger is a popular exotic flavour combination and complement each other beautifully.
Felling playful? Try a Ginger Nut biscuit with a Peppermint herbal infusion. The fiery heat of the biscuit contrasts with the pure coolness of the mint – creating an intense flavour sensation!
Ginger Nuts are the third best McVitie’s biscuit to dunk in tea, behind Rich Tea and Chocolate Digestives.
With thanks to Shauna Leigh Robinson for the photo.