Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Biscuit Head To Head 1 - Nick Nairn v Island Bakery.

I eat a LOT of biscuits.  I am one of those people who needs to have a cup of tea every hour or so (and it's decaffeinated so it's a psychological addiction, not physical) and with a cup of tea you need a biscuit. I very rarely make my own biscuits although it's something I would like to do more of.  So, I'm a bit of an expert on the biscuit ranges out there.  I thought I would have a bit of fun and actually taste two different kinds each time I have a cuppa so I can compare and find my favourite biscuit.

So, this is the first of my head to heads.  Nick Nairn's All Butter Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread vs Island Bakery Organics Oat Crumbles.

So, battle of the Scottish brands.  This wasn't intentional - they are just the biscuits I happened to fancy in Tesco the other day.  Although I notice that the correspondence address for the Nick Nairn biscuits is in London. Hmmm.

So, starting with Nick Nairn's biscuits.  The very first thing I notice and you can maybe see this in the photo is that there is a big difference between the thick chocolate drizzles on the picture of the biscuits and the thin, almost non-existent drizzles on the real biscuit.  You cannot taste any chocolate at all when eating the biscuit which is very disappointing.  Yes, the biscuits look pretty and would look more like a treat if serving to guests than the oat crumbles, but, if I fancy a biscuit with chocolate on it, I would like to taste the chocolate! 
So the shortbread does melt in the mouth like it says on the box but it didn't have the buttery taste or the satisfying denseness of Walker's shortbread.  I hardly noticed I had eaten one, unfortunately.  Great dunking biscuit, though - lovely soft meltingness when dunked in the tea.
I appreciated the nutritional information on the box.  It gave you all the info per 100g but also per biscuit aswell whereas the Oat Crumbles only had the info per 100g.  I am sure it is much easier for people counting their calories but it is also easier for people like myself who are diabetic and adjust their doses of insulin depending on how much carbohydrate they are about to eat.  So, brownie points from me for that.
So, speaking of the nutritional info - these have 133 cals per biscuit and fare worse than the oat crumbles for sugar, fat, and saturated fat.  They do, however, have less sodium. 
The first four ingredients (it is compulsory in this country to list ingredients ranking them in order of volume) are butter, wheat flour, cornflour, sugar.
And lastly, price is £1.59 for 155g.

On to the Oat Crumbles.  I really enjoyed them but you need to have a minimum of two at a time.  They had a very satisfying texture - initial crunch then oaty chewiness.  A lovely oat and honey taste too.  Kept a good bit of texture even after dunking.  I think these biscuits are much more satisfying and have more taste too.
The downside is that they are more expensive.  They cost £2.35 for 150g which is pricey.  I think it is because of their organic status (which I am not particularly fussed about) and the fact they are a relatively small bakery on an island.  (I suspect Nairn's biscuits are made in one of these giant food factories which make stuff for all the big brands).  And, as I have said, they only include nutritional information per 100g.  I weighed the biscuits and they are 20g each so not too difficult to do the calculations and work it out.  So, to that end, each biscuit is worth 98.4 calories and they obviously come out as being generally healthier than the Nairn's ones per 100g apart from the salt which is higher.  Their first four ingredients are oats, wheat flour, butter, honey.  

So, in conclusion, I preferred the Island Bakery Oat Crumbles for taste and texture but they are pricey!  The search for the perfect biscuit continues...

(Oh and just to let you know, I bought these biscuits myself from the supermarket and have no affiliation with either brand.)


  1. Love these type of posts. I'm a Walkers girl when it comes to shop bought shortbread!

    Bet those Oat Crumbles aren't available here - I'd love to try them.

  2. What rubbish dribbles of chocolate on that biscuit! I like this review and I especially like the idea of you diligently tasting these biscuits for a review instead of a quick dunk and gone.

  3. It's a hard job I do, Kath, I'm afraid but I do it selflessly. ;-)

  4. Brownieville Girl - Yay - I'm a Walkers Girl too!