Part of the fun of moving to a new city is exploring a whole new retail landscape. On a recent stroll through a strip mall in northwest Calgary, I stumbled across an amazing little U.K. import shop called British Pantry. True to the name, it’s packed full of delicious sweets and treats from Great Britain, a land known for delicious candy and quirky culinary tastes. From tea and scones to lemon curd and raspberry butter, I’d say I’m a wee bit of an anglophile. (And don’t even get me started on James Bond.)
Now that I have such a fantastic resource of U.K. yummies within easy reach, you might want to get used to seeing a few more British things on NEAROF!, starting with these Tunnock’s Milk Chocolate Tea Cakes.
The Pitch: “A delicious biscuit base topped with marshmallow and covered with real milk chocolate.” Sounds a little bit like what I’d call a wagon wheel, though these are smaller and more bulbous, maybe more like a Viva Puff. These little beauties hail from Uddingston, Scotland.
The Look: Spectacularly old-school packaging. Subscribes to the theory of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Design nerds will understand what I mean when I say it has a spot-colour look. I’d place it in the 1960s, with some modifications for present-day requirements. (Nutritional info, a “Suitable for Vegetarians” label, etc.) The teacakes are round domes of mallow on top of a cookie, then coated in milk chocolate. They’re wrapped in retro foil with red-ink printing.
The Taste (#1): For a marshmallow centre, it isn’t all that springy. Sweet, with more crunch than I thought there’d be, courtesy of the cookie base. Chewy, too. Considering how light they are, I thought they’d be more airy.
The Taste (#2): But wait! I just sampled a second one, and it was much more moist and soft. The top collapsed around my teeth as I bit into it. Nice mix of soft, smooth and scratchy textures. Still very sweet, but the cookie is less dried out in this one. The first teacake must have been a dud. They’re not past expiry date, so I’m not sure what happened with teacake #1.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $4.29 for a six-pack at British Pantry in Calgary.
Value for cash money: Good.
Availability: Very limited around here. Look for them in import shops. I think I spotted some several months ago at the new U.K. import room at Hub Cigar in Edmonton.
Nutrition?: Per tea cake (24 grams): 106 calories, 4.6 grams of fat, 50 mg of sodium, 0.6 grams of fibre, 1.2 grams of protein.
Vegetarian friendly: Yes, surprisingly. That’s what the box says. One of the main ingredients in marshmallows is typically gelatin, but it’s nowhere in the ingredients listing.
The verdict: I like it. A bit too sweet, yes, but the chocolate and sticky mallow should go perfectly with a hot cup of tea. If you can’t handle sweet sweets, you have no business mucking about in U.K. import treats.
It’s actually not marshmallow, but Italian meringue. Hence the much softer, lighter texture.
I have actually bumped into these delicious scrumptious fantastic tea cakes throughout my life and i have just crossed paths with them again and all i can say is they are better now than i can ever recall lush