November 21, 2012

Flying high with Biscoff on Boeings

These cookies didn't last long enough to photograph, so a picture of the wrapper will have to suffice.
You may have heard something about today being one of the biggest travel days of the year. I have no idea whether that's true or not -- I refuse to gamble my Thanksgiving meal on avoiding a traffic jam or overbooked airplane -- but this seems like the perfect time to share a flight-themed food review for all you hungry passengers awaiting a frisk in TSA security lines. Fortunately, I've been hanging on to just the thing since I last participated in terminal hopping a month ago.

Just the thing, in this case, is Delta Air Lines' "Gourmet Center" Biscoff. That's what its label calls it, anyway. Its probably better known as the cookies on offer when the flight attendant stops by your seat to ask if you want peanuts, pretzels or cookies.

The correct answer, obviously, is cookies.  I'll tell you why in just a moment, after we pause for some Biscoff background. The cookies actually come from Lotus Bakeries, and their wrappers identify them as a product of Belgium. You can buy them in relative bulk online here. There's even a Biscoff spread available, though I've yet to experience it.

Back to that in-flight quiz: peanuts, pretzels or cookies? It's an easy choice on Delta flights, and not only because the pretzels possess a salt deficiency and the peanuts lack quantity. Biscoff cookies would be good enough to merit selection over more rigid snack-time competition.

They're just sweet enough to impart a sugar thrill without crossing over into cloying territory. And they finish with a cinnamon flair that manages to cover up the fact that butteriness isn't present.

While the flavor's good, the cookies' real strength rests in their texture. First bite brings a crunchy, crumbly sensation begging for second and third mouthfuls. Everything seems so solid when you first sink your teeth into a cookie, yet a moment later it's dissolving to avoid scratching the throat. So impressive is the texture, it scarcely matters if the attendant sheepishly serves up a pulverized pack of Biscoff. Shoveling the cookie crumbs into one's mouth rivals funneling graham-cracker crumbles for sheer enjoyment.

I report only two incidental shortcomings to Biscoff on Boeings (or Airbuses, for that matter). The first is pack size. Two cookies seems scarcely enough to whet an appetite when we're talking about a food this fine. But two cookies is all you'll get in your airline pack.

More glaring, Biscoff doesn't always make the list of options for in-flight snacks. I always ask, and sometimes attendants simply don't have cookies available. This, to understate things, is a travesty. Jettison some luggage, downsize the navigational equipment, vent some fuel, do something, anything, to make room for backup Biscoff!

Maybe you're flying Delta today. If so, I wish you well in your bid for Biscoff. If you're not flying Delta, I apologize for making your mouth water with no satisfaction in sight. Maybe you can find something to rival the cookies on your airline of choice or in an airport canteen. Because they net five sporks out of five.

It seems those of us who avoid travel around Thanksgiving have reason to rethink our stance.

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