This is the first in a series of posts I’m writing about quintessentially British food. Enjoy!
Ah Tunnocks! Let me count the ways I love thee!
I think it was my Dad who first introduced me to their wares and from the first time I slid my fingertips under the waxed paper of a Caramel Wafer I was hooked. Since then I’ve enjoyed The Tunnocks Teacake and, for some reason only during the festive season, the coconut dusted Snowball.
Tunnocks (http://www.tunnock.co.uk) are based in a little town called Uddingston, just outside Glasgow. It’s near my friend Rach’s house and it’s on my bucket list to visit the factory – although I gather the tours sell out quickly!
Thomas Tunnock opened a factory there in 1890 and spent many years baking on that site until in the 1950s they brought out a small range of products, in an attempt to market something with a longer shelf life. The introduction of the Teacake, the Caramel Wafer, The Caramel Log and the Snowball meant that business boomed and continues to do so today. On their website they say that ‘Indeed, it is funny how the more things change at Tunnock’s, the more they stay the same.’
Can I talk about packaging at this point? Just look at those yellow boxes. I couldn’t swear to it, but the boxes, the fonts, the waxed paper, the foil – none of it has changed in my lifetime and possibly not since they were first introduced. How many companies could say that? I love the vintage stylings – it’s like buying 1950s groceries. And who wouldn’t love that?!
The caramel wafer is a delicious multilayered sandwich of wafer and caramel covered in chocolate. I can eat them in multiples. The wrapper boasts “MORE THAN 4000 OF THESE BISCUITS MADE AND SOLD EACH WEEK”. No offence here Tunnocks, but I think it was Nigel Slater who commented on liking the flavour of some things because they always taste slightly stale, and I feel like that about these! I don’t know what it is, but they’re delicious and the kind of thing I would dream of finding in my lunchbox. Running my thumb over the red and gold foil undulations before unfolding the wrapper and sinking my teeth in…
For me the other behemoth of the Tunnocks empire is the Teacake. With their distinctive slier and red dome, they are once seen never forgotten. These were a staple at birthday parties when I was a child. Nestled in amongst Penguin bars and chocolate fingers they were a special treat. If you’re really clever you can nibble off the chocolate shell, lick out the marshmallow and eat up the crumbly biscuit in one. Not that I’ve ever done that…
I must admit to being a newbie when it comes to the delights of the Caramel Log. I fancy they were not as readily stocked in my childhood, or perhaps I was always dazzled by the Wafers. I think the Caramel Log is my new favourite. It’s a bit like a Caramel Wafer but one that’s been rolled in toasted coconut, rendering it utterly delicious. A bit messy, as I am generally finding morsels of coconut in my bra up to 48 hours later, but so worth it!
Again – packaging. I went outside in the sun to take these and they shone and sparkled like the most precious treasure. No filter needed.
I can’t really do a post about Tunnocks without mentioning Nikki McWilliams (http://www.nikkimcwilliams.com). Nikki is an artist who is very much influenced by a nice cup of tea and biscuit – that most British of pastimes. I own several of her cushions, including a pair or Tunnocks Teacake cushions. You must check her out!
I’m going on a school trip tomorrow (in my real life role as Primary School Teacher) and I will definitely be treating myself to a Caramel Wafer in my lunchbox. A cheese sandwich, an apple and a little taste of Tunnocks heaven. Winning combination. Make sure you include some in your summer picnics…
It is with a sugar rush I say:
It’s only Vintage but I like it!
*Disclaimer: I paid for the products reviewed here and this vintage adventure is all my own…*