27th
Sep
2013

Posted in Kafevend Blog

I remember a song from an old cassette tape we used to have that contained a line about 'Oreo cookies and purple Gatorade' and wondering what on earth that was all about. Well it was nothing more than fizzy pop and biscuits; things always seem to lose their glamour in translation. Nevertheless, it's the Oreo biscuit/cookie that we'll have a look at today.

Although Oreos have only become widely available in the UK since 2008, they've been produced in the USA for just over a century making them something of a national institution. They were an invention of the National Biscuit Company, later shortened to Nabisco, and made at Nabisco's original bakery in New York City at West 15th Street, which has since been renamed Oreo Way.

For those who remain out of the Oreo loop, they're a circular sandwich cream biscuit. The biscuit sections are chocolate and have a very dark colour, while the cream in the middle is vanilla flavoured and white – so a very starkly contrasted sandwich cream compared to the old British stalwarts, Bourbon and Custard Cream. Another continental contrast concerns the drink you're encouraged to dunk them in; while biscuits are generally dipped in tea here, Oreos have always been advertised as perfect with a glass of milk.

The recipe for the UK market remains basically unchanged, but for some markets the change has been substantial. In China for instance, the sugar content has been reduced and there's a green tea ice cream version, while in Argentina dulce de leche and banana Oreos are popular. Changes have been made in the USA too with Oreos becoming Kosher in 1997.

As is so often the case the origin of their name is shrouded in mystery. One suggestion is that the  'O's are from the two 'O's in chocolate and the 'RE' from cream, but who knows? That's something to ponder as you next dunk one in your tea.

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