This veritable selection always makes an appearance in our home during Christmas. Paired with virtually any cheese, you'll find these crackers to satisfy most tastes (be they classic, sophisticated, simple etc) but one taste I am almways disappointed to find is sweetness.
Make no mistake, these crackers are delicious and no doubt they will still be found on the table by the cheeseboard this December, but in my eyes (or mouth I suppose) I find them to be flavoured with far too much sugar.
When I think of crackers I think of savoury bites made for cheeses, soups, or just plain to perk you up a bit, not with something I feel should be dipped into my cup of tea (besides the Digestive). I have become more sensitive to sweet flavours since dieting, however the nutritional information and ingredients list do seem strange to me.
The selection contains 6 different varieties: Cheddars, Digestives, Choice Grain, Water Biscuits, Cream Crackers and Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Bakes.
The ingredients for the whole box are as follows:
Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Dried Powdered Cheese, Wheat Germ, Raising Agents (Ammonium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Disodium Diphosphate), Salt, Wheat Bran, Barley Malt Extract, Kibbled Wheat, Kibbled Rye, Barley Flakes, Dried Autolysed Yeast, Dried Whey, Black Pepper, Wheat Protein, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavourings, Poppy Seeds, Yeast, Vegetable Fibre (Inulin), Barley Malt Flour, Emulsifier (E472e)
Automatically I'm put off by how high sugar appears on the list though some crackers are sweeter than others. For example, the cream cracker totals 0.1g sugar per cracker whereas their choice grain has 0.5g per cracker. Digestives and Cheddars are also expectedly quite high in sugar per cracker, but to me and my sensitive sweet tooth, it's all a bit too much.
I would rate these 3.7 stars out of 5 if it was an option but as it's not I'll award them a 4.
===Why I Got This===
I received both the large plastic tub plus a smaller box of these 'Biscuits for Cheese' as Christmas gifts. Usually my husband takes all of them but this year I made sure I got in first.
The Jacob's Biscuit Bakery was founded by two brothers - William and Robert Jacobs in 1885 in Ireland. They are now owned by United Biscuits.
Comes in a cardboard box for the 250 gram size or a large plastic tub for the 900 gram size (the information that follows is for the large tub):
Comes in a square bright orange plastic tub with a lift of lid.
There is a large label on the lid plus two labels fused onto the sides of the box.
On the base is another fused full size label giving more details of the contents.
The image on the lid shows some of the biscuits with cheese.
The centre of the lid has the large black diamond shape which is the Jacob's logo - 'JACOBS, Simple Baked, Since 1885'.
A selection of eight crackers/biscuits containing approximately 130 biscuits.
The side of the box lists the eight varieties.
Has a long shelf life - mine was until October 2013.
The biscuits are in two layers - each layer housed in a strong moulded plastic tray.
Suitable for Vegetarians.
Contains Milk and Gluten.
May contain Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Egg or Soya.
===The Biscuits/Crackers Varieties===
'Cheddars' - round - made with Cheddar cheese.
Digestive - oblong - only available in the 'Selection'.
Choice Grain - square - with wheat bran, kibbled wheat and rye and barley flakes.
Water Biscuits - round - baked to give a light crisp texture.
Cornish Wafers - round - flaked puffed crackers.
Cream Crackers - square - the original crackers.
High Fibre Crackers - square - with added wheat bran.
Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Bakes 'Savours' - round - crunchy wheat crackers
(The biscuits are all available to buy separately in their own packets apart from the Digestives.
The 250 gram cardboard box only has one layer of biscuits and just 6 varieties - Crackers, Cheddars, Water Biscuits, Choice Grain, Savours and Digestives.
These were gifts are do not seem to be n sale at present after Christmas so I cannot give the exact figures.
Every year we get a tub of these biscuits for cheese off mother-in-law - but unless I get my hands on the tins first I do not like eating from tins that other people have been rummaging in - so this year I got in first!
The tubs are really strong and sturdy and actually quite hard to get into and you have to snap one of the corners which allows the lid to be removed.
The first biscuits I went for were the ones I knew I liked best - the Cheddars of course, as I have often bought packets of them, and also the digestives which were nice after a meal and dunked in my tea.
Everyone knows what the ordinary Cream Crackers are like but I really liked the other two square varieties which were more high fibre and, to me, had more flavour. I like eating the crackers with margarine or butter spread on them.
Of course it was not long before my son and his girlfriend discovered our tin - I did not know the other varieties much but they fell onto the Black Pepper Savours - and I had a job to get any to even try - they were so popular - so much so that we will be buying them in their own packet if I can find them.
I was never really sure what 'water biscuits' were - but liked eating these with just margarine and a cup of tea. It turns out they are made with just flour and water and are what used to be called 'ship's biscuits'.
The large tub did not last very long with us - it is probably because we do not buy many biscuits or crackers through the year that when we get a lot at Christmas we just keep eating them!
There was a good amount of biscuits in the tub and I was surprised that I actually liked them all - as with any selection box there is usually something horrid left at the end.
The biscuits had a long shelf life which was unnecessary for us but would make them a good item to keep for snacks or surprise visitors. The sturdy tub would also keep the biscuits fresh and is so strong it can be re-used afterwards for cakes or other items.
===Would I Recommend?===
Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Wheat Bran, Salt, Raising Agents (Ammonium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Disodium Diphosphate)
, Dried Powdered Cheese, Wheat Germ, Wheat Starch, Vegetable Fibre (Inulin), Barley Malt Extract, Kibbled Wheat, Kibbled Rye, Barley Flakes, Dried Pepper, Yeast, Lactic Acid, Poppy Seeds, Natural Flavourings, Barley Malt Flour, Emulsifier (E472e).
While having a sort out in my pretty empty Christmas cupboard, I discovered an unopened box of these "Jacobs biscuits for cheese". We had been through 2 other boxes already, but somehow these ones slipped to the back of the cupboard. Always a favourite after our Roast Dinner and Pudding, if it is possible to eat anything else then these crackers with some good strong cheese or a variety of different cheeses always goes down nice with a glass of Port.
Now I like to buy my crackers like this as you get just enough of each different cracker, without having to open up several packets that then go on to go stale. This particular box weighs 450g and has 8 different crackers with a total of approx 65 crackers.
On opening the familar orange Jacobs box you will find a black plastic tray containing the crackers, with a clear plastic cover keeping them nice and fresh.
Now the 8 different crackers are;
~~~Jacobs Cream Crackers~~
This is probaly the most common known cracker about, being almost 125 years old after being made in Dublin it is still one of everyones favourites. With it being square in shape covered in tiny pinpricks perfect for that wedge of cheese.
These are slightly thicker than a cream cracker and almost have a soft feel as this round cracker gently breaks when snapped in half, with a butttery taste. With it's familiar criss cross pattern on the top.
These are very similar to the cream cracker in shape and size, but have a much saltier taste and a distinct taste of their own. One of my favourites.
This is a round very thin cracker with a very dry taste to it, goes well with blue cheese or any soft cheese. As this is quite a bland cracker you get to taste the cheese thats put on it.
~~~High Fibre Cream Cracker~~~
Exactly the same as a cream cracker, but with a brown speckled colour to it, this would be the wholemeal that is in it. A nice rich taste, which means these are nice to eat on their own as well as with cheese.
This is my favourite one of all as I think that digestives and cheddar go really well together. This cracker is an oblong cracker with the word "Jacobs" written across the front. Nice and thick and very tasty.
These are a fairly new cracker and is the smaller cracker out of all of them. With a slightly salty top, this is another cracker that can be eaten on its own or with cheese.
~~~Savours Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Bakes~~~
This is another very thin cracker with speckles of black, which of course is the black pepper, this gives it a lovely taste.
Now although these crackers say that they are for cheese, many different toppings can be added for a change, but for after a meal these are perfect to finish off any meal!!
I can't remember what I paid for these as I got them some weeks ago when they were on special offer, but you can also buy these in a larger plastic tub as well.
Every christmas the diet goes on the back burner and I like to indulge in a few things I like, so when I spotted these boxes of Jacobs Biscuits for Cheese on offer at Morrison for £1 I threw a couple of boxes in the trolley.
I enjoy these best with generous slices of mature cheddar and branston pickle or a variety of chutneys.
I don't know why they call these 'biscuits' for cheese because on the box it describes them as 'A selection of your favourite 6 cracker varieties'
1. Jacobs famous cream crackers
2. Round Cheddar biscuits ( like large mini cheddars)
3. Choice Grain ( square crackers made with wheat, rye and barley)
4. Water Biscuits ( a light and crisp biscuit)
5. Digestives (rectangular shaped with 'Jacobs' marked on them)
6. Savours ( salt and cracked black pepper round crackers)
The crackers are packaged in a 200g rectangular orange box with Jacob branding and a picture and description of the products.
What I like about these
These are ideal for christmas and party time, or as a treat for supper.
The choice means there is something for everyone.
It is easier to buy a box of these than packets of all 6 types ( although probably more expensive)
They are usually on offer around christmas time.
They keep fresh, just close the lid on the box and put them back in the cupboard.
You can sample the crackers in small amounts to see if you like them. Jacobs also do big packets of all six varieties if you find you really like them.
They are also suitable for vegetarians. But do contain milk, egg and gluten for those who suffer intoleranes. And may contain nuts, sesame seeds and soya for those with allergies.
They are also versatile snack, you can top with all kinds of hard cheese, cottage cheese, soft cheese, pate, smoked salmon etc
The only thing I would say is that they don't have any nutritional values on them, just the ingredients so you'd probably have to consult the bigger packs to find calorie values.
All in all, they are very tasty crackers and good value for money and it's always handy to keep a box in the cupboard as they have good use by dates on ( I bought mine December 2009 and the best before end is August 2010).
Happy Snacking x
Every now and again I get fed up of having sandwiches and opt for cream crackers instead. I always tend to buy a small selection box so there is a variety of different shaped and textured biscuits which is why I always buy Jacob's Selection pack.
Now Jacob's was established in 1885 and is part of the United Biscuit group based in the UK as well as Jacob Fruitfield Foods based in Eire.
The crackers are in an orange and black cardboard box which when opened at the side reveals a dark brown, plastic moulded tray containing the crackers, a clear sealed plastic wrapper.
There are six varieties in the 200g box giving a good selection to chose from:-
Cream Cracker - this is the basic square cream/light brown coloured cracker. It is quite hard and crispy to eat but very dry on its own and is the classic Jacob's cream cracker.
Choice grain cracker - this is again square. It is brown coloured, with specks inlaid, it is crispier than the cream cracker, snaps when broken and has a wheaty flavour when eaten on its own. It contains wheat bean, kibbled wheat and rye and barley flakes.
Water Biscuits - these are very hard, light, thin and round and very dry and crunchy when eaten on their own and only contain 23 calories.
Digestives - these are rectangular in shape and have the words Jacobs written on them. They are brown coloured, have a slight sweet taste and are more of a biscuit than a crackers.
Cheddars - these are thin, slightly smaller than the other biscuits and circular. They are golden in colour, crispy and have a distinct cheesy flavour, as they are made with cheddar cheese and could be quite easily eaten on their own.
Savours - these are again round like the water biscuit but they have a much more appealing taste in my opinion due to the salt and cracked black pepper. They are very hard and crunchy.
Each cracker has a different flavour and texture, some savoury, some sweet, so I generally choose one of each sort and have them with a selection of cheeses, including cheddar, brie and Philadelphia.
I always have a box to hand as I find they make a delicious quick snack at anytime of day and they have a good shelf life. However, once opened it is advisable to store them in an air tight container as they will lose their freshness and crispiness.
The biscuits are made from natural ingredients, which I am not going to list but they also contain milk, egg and gluten and because they are produced on a line handling sesame seeds, soya and is a factory handling nuts - care should be taken if you have any allergy to these products.
At only 80p (Asda) they make an inexpensive addition to anyone's cupboard.
We are big fans in our house of Cheese an biscuits so I always have a tub of these biscuits in the cupboard.
I usually buy the 1Kg version from CostCo which costs just under £5 this is a lot cheaper than you can buy either the individual varieties or buy the smaller boxes in Tesco's.
The box is a plastic resealable version - this is quite useful for using as a biscuit tin afterwards or lots of other garage uses. The tub contains eight different varieties - thae standard Cream cracker, a High fibre version, water biscuits, choice grain, Savours (salt and pepper) digestives, cornish wafers and cheddars.
I our houshold the most popular tend to be the cream cracker varieties and the cheddars. I am not that keen on the water biscuits as they tend to be a bit thick and even when fresh they seem to have that stale taste about them. However my husband loves them so they all get eaten.
This is why I tend to buy this variety pack because they do all get eaten there are other types that I have bought and ended up throwing most of them away because they had gone stale because they hadn't been eaten.
These are great value and packaged well.
Are you crackers? I love Cream crackers and cheese, but having tried various cheaper brands I always come back to good old Jacob's, but even these can get a bit boring so I usually buy a selection of Biscuits for cheese.
The last box I bought was just before Christmas and some of the biscuits had changed, but I like all of the new selection so don't mind too much.
Jacob's selection either comes in a plastic box which is reusable or in a sealed carton inside a cardboard box. It is bright orange in colour with a large black plate displaying the biscuits. There are 8 varieties in my 500gram box and about 70 biscuits. Jacob's were established in1885 and are now part of the United Biscuits group. I am pleased to say that they are made in the UK. The best before date is 31 October 2009, so an excellent stand by product.
I don't always include the ingredients but will do on this occasion.
Wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, wheat germ, glucose syrup, wheat bran, dried cheese, raising agents, malt extract, dried whole egg, vegetable fibre, barley flakes, kibbled rye, kibbled wheat, dried whey, dried yeast, black pepper, lactic acid, yeast, flavourings, poppy seeds, pepper extracts, malt flour, and emulsifier (E472e).
I was impressed that the ingredients are really "normal", nothing nasty and the only E number is the emulsifier. There is a warning that they contain milk, egg and gluten, but are suitable for vegetarians.
It does say on the box that sometimes the contents will be changed, but in my box there was the following.
Cream Crackers - square cracker, a mixture of pale cream and brown colour , crisp and plain tasting.
Cornish wafer - a round biscuit, again pale in colour with some darker patched and a criss-cross pattern of tint dots. Softer to bite into and quite flaky., they have a slightly puffed surface. One I really like.
Choice Grain - a square cracker, thin and brown in colour, crispy and lots more flavour than a cream cracker. Another great cracker, it has wheat bran, kibbled wheat and rye and barley flakes.
Water biscuits - hard, thin and round in shape. Very dry not my favourite unless I've got lots of butter and cheese or pate on it! Only 23 calories per cracker.
High fibre Cream crackers - another square brown coloured cracker, quite tasty and nice and crisp. This has extra wheat bran added to increase your fibre intake.
Digestives - these used to be called Hovis digestives and my girls used to call them the little house biscuits as they were shaped like a Hovis loaf, which they thought looked like a cottage! One of my favourites, as they taste brilliant with cheese and are crisp but not difficult to bite.
Sadly the water biscuits are the only one with details of calories, so I can't recommend how healthy these are, although on their owns I think they won't be too bad, it's the cheese and butter I put on top that is the problem!
Cheddars - a very thin small round cracker, golden in colour and tasty cheesy. I like these on their own as well as with cheese.
Savours - rather like a water biscuit but with salt and black pepper on them. They are oven baked wheat crackers. Round in shape and crunchy.
A good way of trying crackers as they can all be bought separately, so if you really like one type you can buy a whole packet to enjoy.
I like my crackers with butter and a slice of cheese usually cheddar, but a nice Brie or your other favourite cheese is good too. Try spreading with soft cheese like Philly and some smoked salmon for a treat, or pate or your favourite spread like peanut Butter, or even jam! Crackers are versatile and handy to take for a snack lunch. A glass of white wine and some lovely cheese and crackers whilst sitting in the garden in the sun makes a simple lunch, but having looked outside tonight it might be a while before I do that! Crackers are good with a bowl of creamy soup too.
Tesco only had the smaller boxes available at £1.16 for a 200gram box. I think mine was on offer and was less than £2 for 500grams. Great value and delicious, and so much better than the shops own product.
Cheese is one of my favourite foods but I really love to eat it with crackers, sometimes on a baguette but nearly always on cream crackers. However, I am very fussy about crackers and only really like Jacobs varieties. When I was a kid I used to love making a cream cracker sandwich with butter on both crackers and then cover them with jam. I would squeeze the crackers together so the jam would squirt through the holes. Childish, I know but I still do that now. Here in Poland you can buy Matzas which are okay but a bit bland or other crackers that are fatty and very greasy to touch. I have to rely on friends to bring large quantities of crackers over when they visit and at the moment I am ploughing my way through a box of Jacob's Crackers for Cheese which I will now review for you.
In the Beginning
In 1881 a man called W.R. Jacob had a small biscuit factory in Waterford, Ireland. He was responsible for the brand name Jacob but the cream crackers were not actually manufactured until 1885. The factory later moved to Dublin and another branch was opened in Liverpool. Over the years the company was seperated so there was a UK and Irish branch. The Irish kept the name of W & R Jacob and UK became known as Jacobs Bakery Ltd. In 1990 both companies merged and they were called Jacob's Biscuit Group until they were bought by the French Group Danone who are famous for their delicious yogurts. Now the UK based company has been taken over by United Biscuits and the Irish company goes by the name of the Jacob Fruitfield Group although there is a dispute going on in court on who has the rights to the Jacob name.
When the cream cracker was first manufactured a special innovative technique was used to make the cracker fresh and crispy on the outside but at the same time the inside would be soft and doughy. Whatever secret method Jacob's used it is still used today and the original cream cracker is one of the best selling cream crackers in the UK today.
Jacob's Biscuit For Cheese - Assorted Selection
This selection comes in three sizes which are 200gm, 500gm and 1kg. They all have the same design on the front of the box. The smaller box is made of cardboard and wrapped in cellophane but the larger boxes are packaged in a stronger waxed type of material and sometimes the larger weight is actually in a metal tin. As the box I am using at the moment is a 500gm I will review this particular box.
The box is of the stronger waxed variety and bright orange in colour. The Jacob's selection For Cheese logo is emblazoned on the top of the box and directly underneath are pictures of crackers, some have cheese and tomato on top, others are plain and one has cottage cheese and cucumber on.
The side panel of the box displays each individual cracker with it's type name underneath.
There are five different types of cracker altogether and each type fits into it's own little compartment but is duplicated on each layer of crackers. First of all we will start with the classic -
Cream Cracker - 5/5
This is an everyday straightforward sort of cracker. You can really taste the freshness as if they have just come out of the oven. They are high in fibre and suitable for vegetarians. Ingredients consist of; wheat flour and Jacob's claim that it is the best flour, vegetable oil, salt, sodium bicarbonate and yeast. The crackers do contain gluten. The fat content is 1.1 gm per cracker but doesn't contain trans fats and there are 34kcal per cracker.
They can be eaten with cheese , cottage cheese, vegetarian spreads, marmite, jam, marmalade, creamed cheese or even sometimes I just eat them dry. It's entirely up to you to find your own combination of treats to put on top of these crackers but my favourite way to serve them is;
With a good strong cheddar like Mature Irish Cheddar followed by a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Absolutely delicious and I would have to eat at least 4 of these.
Cornish Wafer - 4/5
These are a delicious puff pastry cracker that just melts in your mouth when you bite into it. I love the rich flaky taste of the pastry but I do find it a bit cloggy on the palette so for this reason I have knocked one star off. These are made from wheat flour, vegetable oil and salt. There are 45kcal per cracker and although these crackers are 25% lower in saturated fat they still have a fat content of 2.7gm per cracker but are free from hydrogenated vegetable oil. They do contain gluten for anyone who suffers from allergies.
Suggestions for servings are; cottage cheese with a slice of smoked salmon, clotted cream and jam, brie and grapes, camembert. I definitely think you need a creamier cheese to blend with the flakiness of the pastry.
My favourite way would be to spread a slice of le roule, cheese followed by a crisp white wine, something like an Italian Orvietto or even Chardonnay.
Salt and Cracked Pepper Bakes - 4/5
Now this is a more flavoured cracker and quite thin but still very crisp when first tasted. This has a lovely crunchy, savoury taste but at the same time you can still taste the wheatiness of the cracker as well as poppy seeds blended with salt and pepper. Ingredients consist of wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt, black pepper, poppy seeds, and sodium bicarbonate. These crackers are suitable for vegetarians, contain gluten and because of the poppy seeds they are probably handled in an environment where other seeds and possibly nuts are also handled. These are less in calories per cracker with only 28kcal and also less in fat with only 1gm per cracker. So far these are probably the healthiest option.
I think pesto would go nicely with these crackers or even coleslaw or chopped ham mixed in a cream cheese but my favourite way to serve them is to put a big spoonful of cream cheese, olive oil, chopped fesh tomatoes and fresh basil. Mix it all together and spread it thickly on the cracker. Always have a glass ready to pour a full bodied red wine in like a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Digestves - 5/5
These are my favourites out of the assortment. They are just delicious to eat on their own or you can eat them as a sweet or savoury snack. They always look very tempting on the cheeseboard if you are having a party or people round for dinner. Digestive biscuits have a slightly sweet taste to them due to the fact that they contain 2.3gm of sugar per biscuit. The full ingredients are wheat flour, vegetable oil, sugar, wheatgerm, salt, dried whey, flavouring and sodium bicarbonate. They do contain milk and gluten and are suitable for vegetarians. With 2.4gm of fat 56kcal per cracker these aren't that healthy but they are high in fibre so not all bad.
What do I suggest to serve on the top of the biscuit well it has to be a blue cheese with a topping of branston pickle. Preferably blue stilton but any of the blue cheeses will suffice and yes you know what I am going to say don't forget the glass of red wine, preferably a Fitou or even a glass of port.
Choice Grain - 4/5
Finally we have a cracker full of grains and tasting of malt. These are very delicious either eaten on their own or with a creamy cheese topping. There are a lot of ingredients put into these crackers which are, wheat flour, vegetable oil, glucose syrup, wheat bran, whole egg, malt extract, bicarbonate of soda, kibbled wheat, barley flakes and salt. These are suitable for vegetarians but contain gluten and milk for people who suffer from certain allergies. Only 32kcal per cracker and 1.1gm of fat and high in fibre.
Personally I would just eat these crackers with a cheddar cheese and chilli pickle although they are delicious served with a little tuna mayonnaise and choped chives on the top. Not sure what wine to go with these - possibly a crisp, cold Merlot.
Well that's the whole assortment and yes you can buy these in supermarkets in the UK. The size of box I have at the moment is 500gm and I have only been able to find the price for 200gm which is £1.37 from Asda according to www.my supermarket website.
I am biased as I only really like Jacob's crackers. I have tried Asda's own brands but they are not a patch on Jacob's - they just don't have that crisp baked taste. I am very happy with the assortment box as every cracker has it's own unique taste and they are handy for quick snacks, parties, an accompaniment to any cheese board selection or even scrumptious to eat individually or on their own but only with a glass of wine of course! Bon apetite!