Bath Olivers

You know what it’s like, there’s a product that you really like but your favorite supermarket/on-line store doesn’t stock it, so after a while, because you’ve found an alternative which is more readily available, your stop buying it.

Then you are in an amazing food store think Partridges in London or Dean and Deluca in New York and you see you favorite product on the shelf. Is is me or do you get a warm glow like the feeling of coming home after a long trip? For those who crave respite from routine the familiar is sometimes very welcome.

Take, for example cheese biscuits. I love Bath Olivers but am, well ….almost as happy with oat cakes, Matzos or water biscuits. But they just aren’t Bath Olivers!

Bath Olivers have a texture and an unobtrusive taste that they might have been a core mess item on HMS Victory, they may have accompanied a Spitfire pilot on a sortie over Northern France and almost certainly graced Victoria and Albert’s Christmas table. They are that traditional and a delicious hard, dry cheese cracker made from flour, butter, yeast and milk.

Bath Oliver’s were invented by Dr William Oliver, a Bath (Somerset, UK) based inventor around 1750. Upon his death his coachman, Atkins was left a gift in the good Doctor’s Will which comprised the recipe for Bath Olivers, £100 and several sacks of flour. The recipe passed through a variety of hands until the 19th century when it came into the ownership of James Forte the manufacturer of Bath Olivers until late 20th century.

Bath Olivers are now produced by United Biscuits. Someone had the smart idea of covering Bath Olivers in dark chocolate thus producing, I believe successfully, an unsweetened version of a kind of digestive.