Nobody ever takes one chocolate Hobnob. Not even two. In fact, I’m sure studies show even a trio of collected biscuits is unlikely. This biopsychosocial disorder has you in its hands the moment the blue packet is torn open. The slightest hint of chocolate spread thinly over rolled and jumbo oats have been dividing families and causing micro moments of intense eating since 1987.
McVitie’s debuted their chocolate Hobnobs in the eighties and for some the discovery wasn’t made until the next millennium. Few were spared the dependency that would follow. Stores and supermarkets around the world have replicated and perfected near identical copies. All equally a compulsion.
The chocolate-free biscuits are marketed as a variety of digestive biscuit. They’re not remotely addictive. They’re good but you shouldn’t get hooked. Although caution is often advised to prevent craving becoming dependence. Would Richard McVitie’s be proud of us?
They marketed these criminal snacks as, “Chocolate now has Hobnobs underneath” and drew in their crowd of followers. One nibble and we’re all nobbled. Captured. Drained of choice. Dedicated followers of the passion of crunch. Even Reading Football Club had fans hooked because of their nearby Hobnob factory. They had to move production to a place less likely to experience addiction: Glasgow. Each packet is branded by a Royal Warrant, from Her Royal Highness, Queen Liz the Second. That makes it a legal high.
Weakness exposes a chocolate Hobnobs eater with ease. A nibble here. “Just one more, Dave!” The mouth enacts enslavement as synapses across the brain fixate on filling the gob with crunchy goodness. Commitment to the condition of this substantial sustenance substance is done. Almost unbreakable, unlike the biscuit itself.
Packets rarely remain open longer than a day. To this day I haven’t kicked the habit. Even in China, I found myself supplied by a shifty importer slipping me packets via post. Even they know what they’re doing. Habits are wrapped up tightly, hidden from prying eyes. “Don’t judge me!” My craving makes me a monkey to the social mixing biscuits. Mixing with people of a higher class doesn’t take my priority. I just look to dunk the goods and chew relentlessly.
Chocolate Hobnob withdrawal can make you go cold turkey. But, what is cold turkey? To me, after a week without chocolate Hobnobs, my mind is distracted. I start to imagine the aftertaste, bits of oats between my teeth, a crumb on my shirt, smears of chocolate down my cheek, and a host of other sensations. I’ve even pictured a passerby as one giant anti-snacksize hallucination. The obsession makes me slather saliva like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
I find myself administering self made behavioural therapy. I draw huge alternatives. Custard creams, Bourbons, and Jaffa Cakes but never rich tea biscuits. I watch videos about raspberries and rhubarb. I dance to the music of the people chewing crackers and crisps. I pray to the Goddess of digestive processes (Gillian McKeith) and I read copious extracts of the food Bible (Meatpaper). My tolerance for distraction is weak. They draw me in. Taobao, an online versatile application in China suggests to me (with highlighted sugfestions) that I should buy a Manchester City mug, coffee from Yunnan province, milk from Asda and a packet of chocolate Hobnobs. They win.
You think you’re table to resist. But, open one packet. How long before you’re munching away? Do you resist? Masticating hard and not swallowing the pulp of chocolate oats? I don’t think you’ll resist.