In Conversation With A Biscuit Sommelier

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 20 months ago
In Conversation With A Biscuit Sommelier

One of London's weirdest nights is back. Frog Morris's occasional, yet semi-legendary, shows at The Montague Arms in Peckham have witnessed everything from a band of psychotic cowboys, to pub quizzes where it's impossible to get the wrong answer. At the next show — on 12 November — the headliner is self-taught biscuit sommelier Alwin Solanky. We had some vital questions to ask him.

What first inspired you to become a biscuit sommelier? I've been going to the Edinburgh Festival for the last five years and appearing in a few shows. I bought some biscuits and shared them with friends commenting on the suitability with tea and coffee and before you knew it, it happened.

Are studies to become a biscuit sommelier quite rigorous? A love of biscuits, willingness to try less than common types and inspiration from the Great British Bake Off. There is no formal way yet.

What are you looking for when you taste/smell a biscuit? The aroma must hit you straight away but not be overpowering, depending on the temperature the firmness and crunch factor. Taste wise, does it match the mood and atmosphere?

Which London landmark reminds you most of a biscuit? The London Eye is reminiscent of a Jammy Dodger whilst the Gherkin makes me think of a pink wafer.

What's your favourite Peek Freans biscuit? They made great garibaldis and bourbons which are fond memories from childhood.

The London Eye is reminiscent of a Jammy Dodger whilst the Gherkin makes me think of a pink wafer.

What's your favourite biscuit ever? Stem ginger — melt in the mouth, sweet and spicy together. Honourable mention to dark choc chip and cherry.

And finally, the biggie: why isn't the Jaffa Cake a biscuit? It has been the subject of legal debates especially over VAT. The bottom line, which I subscribe to, is as cakes become stale they harden and when biscuits go stale they soften. A Jaffa Cake hardens, hence it's a cake.

Alwin and his biscuits aside, there'll be music from Daren Callow (teaming up with artist Daniel Lehan to perform a few songs inspired by Daniel's new exhibition 'British Wives of Aliens'); comedy from the enigmatic Ben Target (shortlisted for a Foster's award at Edinburgh last year); Lady Lovely Lute, who performs songs about being an Essex girl in London in a Renaissance era style; #PlausibleClaim as performed by a secret special guest poet and comedian; and regular favourite Mark Quinn, who returns from Edinburgh, clutching some outstanding reviews for his new show.

You can see Alwin and the others perform at the Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, New Cross SE15 2PA, on 12 November. Doors open at 7.30pm. Rather than tell you the price of tickets, here's an image:

Last Updated 08 November 2015