Can We Clear Something Up?

A Nice Biscuit

This is a 'Nice' biscuit, and there's something about them that's been bothering me for a while. First, some background:

As several wise people have often pointed out, the Nice biscuit is important as it's the threshold biscuit. Everything above is edible and quite nice, and everything below it is animal feed. It's the last biscuit that you'll eat on a tray, and without that mean smattering of sugar, exotic stippled edge and 'Nice' logo, it actually would be animal feed.

The question is, do you pronounce it 'Nice' as in the town on the French Riviera, and conjour up all sorts of images of high living which the biscuit certainly doesn't deserve, or do you pronounce it 'nice' as in the opposite of 'nasty', which strikes me as the biggest ironic joke of the biscuit world?

If you have first-hand knowledge of Nice biscuits or even any knowledge of biscuits, I'd certainly like to hear from you.

I'm on: jasper (at) jasperfforde.com

The response has been huge!

A. J Plotke says:
"...Nice biscuits are a type of coconut flavoured biscuit.

The biscuit is thin and a near-rectangular shape with rounded bumps on the edges, lightly covered with a scattering of large sugar crystals, with the word "NICE" imprinted on top in sans-serif capital letters. It is often served as an accompaniment to hot drinks, such as Tea or enjoyed as a snack.

Nice biscuits were listed in an Army and Navy Co-operative Society price list in 1895[1]. British company Huntley & Palmers made Nice biscuits as early as 1904.[2] According to the Australian firm Arnott's Biscuits Holdings, one of a number of companies worldwide to produce them, the biscuits are named after the French city of Nice and so should be pronounced "neese"

Thus sayeth Wiki. I prefer Jaffa cakes, myself. Also, Bourbon Creams...."

Barbara from somewhere confirms that they are for human consumption:

"....I think you are responsible for the extra hits on their website ;-) Arnotts Biscuits I quote "Named after the city in the south of France, Nice biscuits were considered to be a sophisticated treat to have with morning or afternoon tea." It's going to take an expensive campaign to get people in this anglomaniac world to pronounce it that way..."

She didn't say whether she liked them or not. But to give the question a truly international flavour (which Nice don't have, incidentally) we have this from Stephanie:

".....Hi Jasper. Here in the land of Oz, it's pronounced as in the town on the Riviera. I wholeheartedly agree with you that they're not 'nice' and I wouldn't eat one for quids - not even if it were the last biscuit in existence..."

Page written: March 8th 2009