The British take biscuits (not cookies!) pretty seriously. I put this down to our tea drinking habit – tea and biscuits go together like, well, tea and biscuits!
If you ever find yourself with multiple British people and you feel the need to get the conversation going, just try bringing up the subject of biscuits. For example, you could mention that you heard that the best biscuit in the world is the chocolate digestive (a fine choice). Before long you would have people arguing over the relative merits of Hobnobs, custard creams and ginger nuts. We even had a big court case between the government and the manufacturers of Jaffa Cakes over whether their product was a biscuit or a cake (no seriously).
There are many sub-divisions of biscuit and one close to my heart is the ‘biscuit-bar’. The English biscuit bar of choice would surely be the Penguin. In Scotland they have a chocolate, caramel and wafer affair called simply Tunnock’s. The Australians favour something called the Tim Tam which can be ingeniously employed in something called the Tim Tam Slam (everyone should try this at least once).
Before I get carried away with all this biscuit talk, let’s come back to Brazil shall we? In Portuguese, the word for biscuit is biscoito. Now I thought I was fairly knowledgeable when it comes to biscuits, but it wasn’t until I arrived here in Brazil that I was told about the origins of the word. Apparently it can be broken down to “bi” (2) + “coito” (coitus) – the er, ‘union’ of two biscuit layers! Can this really be true?
OK, let’s look at Brazil’s favourite biscuit bar and today’s Brazilian Brand:
Name: Bis (sounds like Beesh)
Product: Wafer and chocolate layers covered in chocolate.
Description: Is this truly a biscuit or more of a chocolate wafer bar? I don’t know, but let’s put biscuit semantics to one side and look at the product itself. The picture you see on the right is actually like a Bis mothership, containing 20 individually wrapped Bis bars. As you will see below, each bar is actually rather tiny and individually wrapped.
Inside the wrapping you find a fairly lightweight rectangular cuboid, consisting of four wafer layers, sandwiching layers of chocolate. The whole thing is also covered in chocolate and fits conveniently into all but the smallest mouth without the need for multiple bites.
Verdict: When I asked Mrs Eat Rio if she had any interesting anecdotes or information about Bis, she replied simply “Everyone loves them”. Well that’s pretty unequivocal isn’t it?
For me, when talking about biscuits, “love” is a strong word – I’m not sure I can go quite that far with Bis. What I will say is that it is frighteningly easy to get through 6 or 7 of these tasty treats without even thinking about it. And Bis go very well with a nice cup of tea – the Brazilian biscuit passes the ultimate British test. Is there a better Brazilian biscuit than Bis?
Bis’ tag-line is probably best translated as ‘ Trust no one’ – that’s how much Brazilians love them!
Many thanks to Alessandra França de Moraes who very gently pointed out that I’d completely missed out on the fact that the word “Bis” means ‘encore’ or ‘repeat’ – people shout it at the end of concerts when they want to performers to come on out for one more. Seeing as these little biscuits are rather addictive (at least for some!), it’s a very appropriate name! Thanks Alessandra!