McVitie’s Digestives & Tea & Sympathy Rosie Lee: Just Married!

Today’s British Pantry is something of a wedding party. For we are celebrating the harmonious union of a biscuit to a cup of tea. Now don’t laugh just yet. Hear us out first. We’ve preached the wonders of dunking in the past, and following the launch of our brand new teabags last week, there was only one grocery item we could feature today. The McVities Digestive biscuit!

The first digestive rolled off the biscuit press at the turn of the 20th century. There’s been no looking back since and we’d wager that you’d find a pack in 90% of British store cupboards. Not sure how we’d get to the bottom of this one, but the offer’s on the table! We do know that 52 Digestive biscuits are consumed every single second in the UK, which more than speaks for itself!

The distinctive name derives from a belief that acid in the biscuits aided digestion, while that even more distinctive flavor (the one that lends itself so well to being dunked in a mug of tea), is a mixture of brown wheat flour, malt extract and wholemeal. If you’ve never tried one, where have you been?! And if you have tried one, you’re yet to experience the perfect marital bliss gained from dunking into a mug of our new brew.

McVities are available in-store, as are our new teabags. We can ship both. Just get in touch at info@teaandsympathynewyork.com, or on 212-989-9735.

Biscuit Dunking

Ah, dunking. It really does make a cup of tea. If you haven’t tried it yet, you are well and truly missing out on one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity.  Grab yourself a pack of Digestives (milk chocolate, if you’re feeling sophisticated), and a cup of tea (We recommend PG Tips or Yorkshire Gold) and indulge! A few years back, the great art of dunking also became a point of serious (ahem) scientific investigation as a team of scientists embarked on a mission to find the best biscuit for dunking. Here’s an ode to the joys of dunking, along with more details of that ground-breaking experiment, from ‘Rules Britannia: the 101 Essential Questions of Britishness Answered’.

The best biscuit to dunk in a cup of tea is, by near universal consensus, a McVitie’s Digestive. There are some who disagree on this point but statistically speaking, they are unrepresentative of the UK dunking fraternity as a whole. You may also encounter individuals who abhor the whole biscuit-tea-dunk experience. They are clearly misguided…

The digestive is the dunking biscuit of choice for generation upon generation of tea-imbibing Britons primarily because it has what scientists have quantified as the highest WFI quotient (Won’t Fall In quotient) of all the commonly available British biscuits. This was calibrated in a series of exhaustive tests in which all the biscuits being examined were dunked in a cup of tea for periods of time that increased in half-second increments. Then the biscuit was removed from the tea. The test was deemed to have been completed when the lifted sodden biscuit, emerging Mary Rose-like from the depths, fell apart and sank to the bottom of the mug of tea to sludge about unpleasantly waiting for a soul hardy enough to drain the dregs of the drink…

Tea may well be the liquid refreshment that sustains this great nation of ours, but the biscuit that accompanies it is very much the icing on the cake of the drink. A cup of tea is the pause that refreshes, but the biscuit is the added treat that elevates the whole experience into one of everyday indulgence. No one ever truly needs the biscuit, but in our mind’s eye we all deserve the biscuit….

To dunk the biscuit takes the whole experience on to a higher level of enjoyment. And meaning.

Christmas Gift Guide #2

SIX DAYS TO GO, SIX DAYS TO GO. Yes, you heard us right, ONLY SIX DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS. Goodness me, it gives us palpitations just thinking about it. With over 40% of shoppers leaving their gift buying to the last minute, we know we’re not alone in our anxieties. To try and ease the strain a little, here is the second compilation of the best festive goodies we have in stock. While it’s too late to ship, come in-store to pick up anything you see here, or throughout our Christmas section.

Quality Street are a true Christmas classic back in Blighty. A fetching tin, or smaller box, packed with individually wrapped chocolate morsels. Your favorite may be the strawberry fondant, but granny prefers the praline. Pass round a box on Christmas day and discover the joys of the best of British candy!

Cadbury, Cadbury, Cadbury, ah how you make our lives complete! We've just got in this selection of goodies from the UK's most popular chocolate house. Milk chocolate-covered cookies, and monster-sized bars of what they do best: chocolate straight up.

Our china selection is extremely popular. While a grandma, mother or aunt may be the first person who jumps to mind when thinking who to buy a teapot for, younger gals and guys also love a bit of porcelain just as much. Predominantly imported from England, as you can see we have a wide variety. From plain colored, to dogs and cats, to the Tower of London, we have chinaware in every shape and size. Add to a loved one's collection, or start one anew, this Christmas.

The Tea & Sympathy bible! Penned by our Nicky and the very talented Anita Naughton, "Tales of an English Teashop in New York City" is packed with all the recipes we feature on the blog and many more. It also contains a whole host of great anecdotes from T&S's history, including love, loss and triumph. Whip up a Shepherd's Pie, snuggle up in front of a fire and loose yourself in tales of your favorite teashop.

Christmas certainly ain't complete without cookies. Alongside the aforementioned offerings from Cadbury's, we've got McVitie's holiday tins in stock. Overflowing with a whole selection of Brit 'biscuits', there's something for everyone in each tin.

More to follow in the next couple of days!

Sarah Jessica Parker on British food in NYC!

The ever-lovely, quintessential Manhattan gal Sarah Jessica Parker appeared on Jonathan Ross’s new talk show in Britain last week. She discussed the Royal wedding, declaring she watched the proceedings with a cup of PG Tips, a packet of chocolate McVities and a sausage roll.

As Ross went on to quiz her on British delicacies, we clutched our mugs of tea close to our chests and edged toward the side of our seats. As a loyal T&S customer, we felt our reputation was somewhat staked on SJP getting this right. We weren’t disappointed as she immediately declared “I know what that is!” pointing jubilantly to a scotch egg.

*^^Skip to 4 minutes 25 seconds for the juicy bits!^^

SJP went on to talk about a British restaurant in Manhattan run by a female chef. As we waited with baited breath for a name check, Jonathan demonstrated his reputation for being a big mouth with a tendency to drown out his guests. After a few replays though, it seems Sarah is in fact refering to April Bloomfield, the extremely talented and deserving chef over at The Spotted Pig on West 11th. Despite that, we’re pretty sure where she got those PG Tips and McVities from…