The best British biscuit

Biscuits are a staple item of the kitchen cupboard. Picking up a packet of biscuits is something I find myself almost unable to resist when in the supermarket. However, which biscuits I buy seems to be largely down to momentary cravings rather than any awareness of which I genuinely prefer. That realisation got me thinking: what is my favourite biscuit? Even more controversially – what is my least favourite biscuit? Which packet would I never pick up, even if it was the last one on the shelf? 

In response to these ground-breaking and earth-shattering questions, I decided to do a tier list of British biscuits and then share my final decisions, opening myself up to the criticism and judgment that inevitably arises whenever this debate is raised. I used the website to do this and the five tiers involved range from D ‘those left to go out stale’ to S ‘the saints of the biscuit tin’. I will discuss one biscuit per tier, but my full ranking is available below. 

Starting at the bottom in D, is Bourbon biscuits. My reasoning behind this placement is, I hope, understandable if not relatable. These biscuits, particularly in the packet of three, physically repulse me. While I cannot speak for anyone else’s school days, mine were filled with a mad rush to the various biscuit options at break time. Bourbons sat at the top of the school biscuit pecking order. Everyone wanted to get their hands on the Bourbons, I imagine because they were the only biscuit involving chocolate. At the time, this was understandable and I was one of the students desperate to snatch up the Bourbons to avoid the – even worse – Custard Creams. However, years of reaching for them on a frequent basis has turned my perception of them on its head. A Bourbon biscuit for me now tastes dry and ashy, sending me right back into the mental state of dreading going to Mathematics class in the next period.

Moving on to tier C, dubbed ‘desperate times’, I have possibly the most controversial placement from my list: Oreos. They do not fill me with quite as much nostalgic dread as Bourbons, but they are not far off. I know many people genuinely love Oreos, and I will grant that they deserve some credit for the value for money one packet gives you. I can eat one, no problem. I enjoy that one. But who wants to eat just one biscuit? Once the second one is in my mouth, I realise exactly why they are so far down this list. They never hold their shape – they crack almost as soon as they are touched and then disintegrate into chocolatey dust. This means that they easily stick to the gums and teeth. I have pieces of Oreo in my mouth hours after consuming them and an aftertaste that lingers for just as long. I stand firmly by their placement in this tier list.

Tier B demonstrates biscuits one would select when their favourites were not available. In this tier, I have put Hobnobs, which warranted a little more deliberating than some of my other decisions. I actively like Hobnobs, and if they had been chocolate Hobnobs, they would have found themselves further up this list. There is nothing objectionable about a plain Hobnob, but I would never choose a packet of these if the chocolate variation were available. With that being said, I could happily eat two or three plain Hobnobs and feel that my craving for a biscuit had been sated. I feel as though this is a biscuit that could either be in the top or bottom spot without much controversy, so ranking it in the middle is an acceptable, if predictable decision. 

Shortbread fingers triumph over Hobnobs for multiple reasons. Though I am a big fan of oats, the delicious combination of butter and sugar makes these an instant win. It is not a question of ‘could I eat the whole packet?’, it is a question of stopping myself from eating the whole packet. The fact this is rarely successful demonstrates precisely why these biscuits could not be any lower down the tiers. Additionally, shortbread fingers have longevity behind them, unlike Oreos. They are a timeless classic as opposed to a trendy phase, and their only shortcoming is that they can occasionally be slightly crumbly. 

Finally, for ‘the saints of the biscuit tin’, I have chosen Chocolate Leibniz biscuits. While perhaps a niche choice, these are heavenly. They give that satisfying crunch that makes a biscuit exceptional and the ratio of chocolate to biscuit is judged perfectly. They are not too soft, too crumbly, or too sickly. The presence of a box of these in a cupboard alone can turn a bad day into a good one, or a good one into a great one. 

If you would like to create your own tier list you can do so here, and I have included a full list of their biscuits in their tiers below.  

The saints of the biscuit tin: Chocolate Leibniz, Lotus biscuits, Chocolate digestives, Maryland cookies and McVities sandwich biscuits. 

The second choices: Jammie Dodgers, Malted Milks, Shortbread fingers, fruit shortcakes and Gingernuts. 

Ran out of the above: Hobnobs, Digestives and pink wafers. 

Desperate times: Oreos, Rich teas, party rings and Penguins. 

Those left out to go stale: Bourbon, Custard Creams, Fig rolls and Nice biscuits. 


Featured Image: Judy Dean on flickr with license

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