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Irish biscuits: A definitive ranking from worst to best

What’s the best biscuit in Ireland? We have a final answer.
May 29th 2013, 1:00 PM 99,370 257

TODAY IS NATIONAL Biscuit Day.

In honour of this momentous occasion, we have painstakingly ranked all the varieties of Irish biscuit.* From worst to best.

This ranking is final and definitive.

* By ‘Irish biscuit’, we mean biscuits available in Ireland. By ‘all’, we mean ‘some of the main ones’.

16. Rich Tea

Flickr/jkblacker

Their colourful packaging promises flavour; sweetness; vague sinfulness. Instead, what you’ve got is pure biscuit-based sensory deprivation. They should have their biscuit status revoked and be renamed a rusk.

15. Bourbons

Flickr/nuttynat84

They look like chocolate, but are they chocolate? No. They are flavourless sandwiches of pure betrayal. Some say the only reason they still exist is to educate children in the cruel disappointments of life.

14. Iced rings

Flickr/abooth202

The bright colours promise so much, but deliver so little. Does the sugary crunch even mask the cardboard-flavoured, saliva-sapping foundation? What’s that? I can’t hear you. Your mouth is probably too dry.

13. Garibaldi

Flickr/Tattlemouse

If you were on a months-long sea voyage and weak from scurvy after eating the last of the fresh food back in February, these might seem like an acceptable snack with a drink of stagnant water. But WE HAVE CHOICES.

OK, I exaggerate – they’re fine with a cup of tea. But really, you’re just using that cup of tea to force the biscuit down. You’re fooling yourself.

12. Mikado

Flickr/Pete Burrows

Biscuits that look this much like genitalia may have a place, but that place is not in my kitchen cupboard.

11. Custard cream

Flickr/MmMmMmMatt

At least the custard cream doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. Two borderline-tasteless slabs moistened with a cream of indefinable flavour. The Ford Fiesta of biscuits.

10. Digestive

Biscuit photo via Shutterstock

An underrated powerhouse of biscuits. The unappealing exterior belies a sweet-and-salty punch that will kick your cuppa up a notch, no problem.

Add chocolate, and you’ve got a frankly killer snack on your hands.

9. Polo

Fiona Hyde/DailyEdge.ie

The sneak attack of the biscuit world. They just lie there on the side of your saucer looking bland, and then BAM! Coconut is all up in your grill.

Strangely satisfying.

8. Hob Nobs

Flickr/missy & the universe

Oaty, crumbly, sweet goodness. You know how you know this is a good biscuit? Because when you get tea and the biscuit is a Hob Nob, you have a moment of being extremely pleased with how things have worked out for you.

7. Kimberley biscuits

theirishshop.co.uk

A beautiful piece of biscuit construction: the marshmallow neatly balanced with a gingery tang in the sandwich. Some say that if Kimberleys had been properly marketed on a global scale, Ireland wouldn’t have endured decades of economic stagnation.

6. Chocolate chip cookies

Flickr/opacity

A difficult one. Obviously, choc chip cookies are in theory a chart-topper among biscuits. The buttery crust and melty chocolate chips? Heaven.

But here’s the thing: how often have you been disappointed by a choc chip cookie? How often has the dough been dry and flavourless, and the chips ‘chocolate-flavoured’?

An unfortunate case of a good biscuit dragged down the chart by frequently poor execution.

5. Jaffa Cakes

Flickr/Richard Cocks

Let’s leave aside the ‘are they a cake or a biscuit’ debate for the moment. You eat them with your tea.

That is, if you’re lucky you eat them with your tea. Not just a great biscuit, but probably one of humanity’s greatest creations overall. (Sorry, space travel.)

4. Jammie Dodger

Flickr/StuartWebster

It’s time to right an injustice. The Jammie Dodger has been tarred for too long with the stigma of kids’ birthday parties. This is a proper, adult biscuit and deserves to be seen as such.

Never has such a tiny splodge of jam gone such a long way. And the perennial frisson of doubt: which side of the biscuit will it have spread onto? Every bite is an adventure – as if this biscuit needed any more excitement.

3. Chocolate fingers

Biscuit photo via Shutterstock

Perennial winners. By abandoning the traditional biscuit shape, these guys have pretty much pulled off the holy grail of the biscuit world: being more chocolate than biscuit.

Yes, they get chocolate smudges all over your fingers and then all over your keyboard, mouse, wife/husband, etc. But it’s a small price to pay.

2. Ginger Nut

Biscuit photo via Shutterstock

Yes, it packs a powerful one-two punch of crunch and flavour that sends most opponents straight to the ropes. But the Ginger Nut’s real masterstroke is its humble, unassuming appearance.

How many biscuits could deliver this much satisfaction AND sneak onto the biscuit platters of your most puritanical, joy-hating relatives? Not many, that’s how. Secret Agent Ginger Nut claims the No2 spot.

1. Chocolate Hob Nobs

foodspotting.com

Here we have the winner. A biscuit so good that it demands its own entry, in addition to the chocolate-free version.

We really don’t know what to say, other than that seeing one next to a cup of tea brings on a surge of joy and love that few other experiences can match. Seriously, has any biscuit ever been as good as the chocolate Hob Nob? Ever?

No, it hasn’t.

What are your thoughts? Do you want to argue with this final and definitive ranking? The comments are now open…

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Michael Freeman

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