Posted in Kafevend Blog
Having written about the rich tea biscuit a couple of weeks ago, it seems only fair to give due consideration to its main rival in the biscuit dunking stakes; I'm talking, of course, about the digestive. Although digestives are present in every supermarket these days as an own brand staple, most of us aspire to buy the 'proper' McVities version if we can. The company has been producing digestives since as long ago as 1892. The recipe was devised by Alexander Grant and is still used to this day.
The naming of the digestive would appear to be linked to the inclusion of baking soda in the recipe. Baking soda was in regular use as a remedy for indigestion and so the biscuits were considered to have a beneficial effect too. As time went on people realised that there was no medicinal advantage, but the name stuck. I have to admit that as far as I'm concerned digestives still retain an air of well-being about them. The use of wholemeal flour gives them a coarser texture and this coupled with the fact that they are not overly sweet lends them the air of a biscuit you can indulge in without feeling guilty. Talking of guilt, we now turn to the chocolate version.
Chocolate digestives represented McVities first foray into the fusion of biscuit and chocolate. 'Homewheat Chocolate Digestives', as they were known to begin with, appeared in 1925. The 'homewheat' part of the name was a way of proclaiming that the wheat used to make them was grown in Britain and appealed to people's patriotism at a time when other companies were in the habit of using imported ingredients. Their appeal remains just as strong today and refusing a chocolate digestive surely requires twice the willpower as refusing the plain alternative!