Perdition

By Rob Packer

The chocolate digestive

If Pandora was alive today and living in Britain, the chances are that her famous box of troubles would have a different shape: a roll about 20cm long and about 5 in circumference with a red plastic wrapper. This all sounds pretty harmless, but once opened, rest assured, it would be Hesiod all over again: everything all escapes in one go and impossible to shut—or put back in the cupboard to save until tomorrow. Every house in Britain has at least one of these Pandora’s rolls and it’s really no surprise: the things are delicious.

I’d always thought that the digestive biscuit was invented to keep you regular, but according to Wikipedia, it was probably named for its antacid properties, which isn’t nearly as fun. All I know is that with few suggested dosages and looking at the rate that most of us any sane human can get through a pack, millions of guinea pigs are testing the digestive’s antacid properties to destruction in mini-medical trials every day up and down Britain.

In the interests of “method writing” (anything for you, dear reader), I opened the cupboard this afternoon and popped the tin where the “semi-sweets” are kept. Somehow the packet was mostly intact then some delusion or naïveté made me think I’d just have one. But, like the commuter who knows that “there’s always room for one more” and that announcements about full trains are for other people, several more were eaten. This sounds like reserve, but isn’t: I really have no idea. And as I write this now, I can hear a low rumble emanating from the biscuit tin (or maybe from the biscuit’s supposed digestive properties) inviting me to have just one more. They are—as you might have guessed by now—extremely addictive.

I imagine more enlightened macaron-eaters might look askance at the plain digestive, that brown disk-shaped cultural icon. They might be more like rusks than pâtisserie, but dip a plain digestive in milky tea and it’s strangely delicious. At least, that’s what I remember from my milk-drinking days. In these lactose-free days, the workaday variety no longer cuts it*. Basically, plain digestives and milkless tea is a no-no.

The chocolate digestive is another story: the same wholemeal biscuit with a thin coating of chocolate. The type of chocolate might vary, but the dark chocolate ones are easily the best. (Milk chocolate ideologues are free to “contribute to the discussion” in the comments section—that’s what it’s for, after all.) But regardless of flavour, the king of biscuits is, quite simply, divine: slightly sweet, slightly umami, delicious on its own, dipped in tea and illicitly moreish. That might be the biscuit tin calling me now…


  * I was going to write “cuts the mustard” here, but recoiled in culinary horror at the thought of anyone having sweet milky tea, plain digestives and mustard

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