When you hear the word ‘biscuit’ what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A digestive? A cookie? Perhaps a good old HobNob or gingerbread man? I’d always thought of the humble biscuit as a comfort food, something to satisfy my sweet craving or to dunk into my tea, but when I discovered Biscuiteers, a London-based biscuit gift business and boutique, my entire outlook changed.
Biscuiteers has reinvented the idea of the biscuit, as something that’s glamorous and something that should be cherished. It has, basically, pimped biscuits – all Biscuiteers’ hand-iced treats are not only yummy, but beautiful, too. The collections are spectacularly inventive; there’s everything from superhero-themed biscuits to designs featuring cats, flowers, butterflies, cupcakes, tiaras, balloons, high heels, teddy bears, tea cups, wine bottles and more (plus personalised ones on request).
Ever since Biscuiteers opened its biscuit boutique and icing café in Notting Hill back in 2012 – a gloriously cute shop where you can browse and buy the biscuit collections, enjoy them over a cuppa, or ice your own – I’d told myself I’d make time to visit, or take a friend for a special occasion. [Regular readers will be well aware of my fondness for girly, cute places to hang out in London, such as Homemade London and The Doll’s House.] Shamefully, I didn’t make it down to Biscuiteers till this week – two years too late – but I visited for a special two hour vintage birthday icing class and came away with a pretty box filled with biscuits I’d iced, a big cheery smile and a desire to make sure all my friends knew about it.
The icing class
I arrived at Biscuiteers bright and early to browse all the pretty collections they had in the store. I was welcomed with a hot cup of tea before being led downstairs to the ‘School of Icing’ where the class would be taking place. All I knew before I arrived was that I’d be icing a variety of jellies, french fancies, doughnuts, sundaes and a battenburg or two, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
There were four other ladies also taking the class – a tourist from Japan, a mum planning to make cookies for her kid’s birthday, on the hunt for inspiration, and the other two ladies were sisters celebrating a special birthday – and by the end of the two hour session we’d all had a good laugh and I’d made a couple of new friends.
We were each given a lovely cotton Biscuiteers apron to wear (which we were able to take home with us) and our teacher – and head icer at Biscuiteers – Lorena, was a great coach. She whizzed us through simple and slightly more advanced techniques, and taught us the correct way to hold a piping bag, and how to do ‘flooding’. She was always happy to lend a hand or answer our questions and it was great to get to know her too; she told us her background was graphic design, and that she mainly resided at the Notting Hill boutique to work on any bespoke orders, while the rest of the Biscuiteers icers are based at a bakery in Kennington, and they usually get through about 150 biscuits a day.
We each iced 10 biscuits and one gingerbread man in the workshop, and we got to take them all away in a lovely collectible tin and decorative box.
The workshop required a good amount of concentration, and it was fairly quick paced, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours, and – after my perfectionist tendencies were put to the side – I found it quite relaxing. The group size was perfect as Lorena was able to pay us all attention and correct any mistakes we were making. We all came away really satisfied and proud, and with a few surprisingly simple decorative techniques up our sleeves. The certificate we were given at the end, along with the gift bag, apron and tin, were nice touches and make for great keepsakes.
In the spirit of the Great British Bake Off, I’m pleased I can now say I’ve got in on the action and had my turn at creating a few mini masterpieces! But equally, the classes are ideal for special occasions, or rainy days!
If you don’t want to push the boat out and go for a full on icing class, you can drop in to the Biscuiteers icing café, where you get to ice three biscuits unaided for £15 (probably ideal for days out with kids, or a quick pick-me-up) – it’s a great way to switch off from the world for a little bit, except at the end where you’ve simply got to Instagram your beautiful creations! Find out more at biscuiteers.com.Follow @kavishah1