27.1.09

Scotland's soft, gooey centre

Tunnock’s teacakes: is there anything about them not to love? The retro-cool foil wrapper, the smooth chocolate coating, the vegetarian marshmallow filling, all supported by a soft, cakey biscuit. Sigh.

Much is being made of Homecoming 2009, the time when people around the world with connections to Scotland should return 'home' to help celebrate the achievements of Scots throughout history in general, kicked off with the 250th birthday celebration of Robert Burns. But to me, Tunnock’s teacakes are just the kind of thing that should represent Scotland – forget Robert Burns and haggis and whiskey. Give me Alasdair Gray and caramel logs and Still Game – that’s what Scotland’s expatriates and descendants should come ‘home’ for. The Tunnock's brand embodies the quirky, independent, tenacious qualities of Scotland. Tunnock's company has been doing what they've been doing for 119 years because they do it really well.

Though I make it a policy never to order sweets or crisps with my weekly shopping, last weekend I was seized by an unexpected need – NEED – to have some teacakes. I ordered a box of 6 of the dark chocolate variety, which my husband and I scarfed while watching old episodes of DangerMouse on Saturday. So happy and buzzing on sugar were we, that I found the Tunnock’s website to enquire about tours. There was no information about visiting the factory on the website, so I sent them an email, which they responded to a few days later. The news was not good.

There must be something in the air at the moment, some sort of nostalgia for real Scottishness, because I was informed that I would have to wait until 2010 to get a tour of the factory. 2010! I picture these tours as being a bit like Laser Floyd – a group of stoners standing around going ‘ooohhh…whoa…cool.’ I can’t wait.

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