I’m in the middle of making trifle. I’m using the recipe from “The Prawn Cocktail Years” by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham which recommends Amaretti biscuits or macaroons as a base. All the Amaretti biscuits had disappeared from our local shops, but there was no such shortage of small lividly coloured, multi flavoured macaroons. The simple English almond macaroon was absent. I changed my goal to finding those biscuits that form the outside of a “charlotte” and found instead these Biscuits Roses de Reims. I had never seen nor heard of them before, so I chose them on the strength of their fabulous appearance. This sort of decision making very often leads to disappointment, which sad truth is so sharply brought into focus at this time of year. This has not been the case with this biscuit yet. There is a potted history of the product printed on the packet. “La Maison Fossier” of Reims is the sole producer of this confection, and has done so since 1690. It appears that its main claim to fame is as a dunking biscuit for champagne. The vanilla in the biscuit has the effect of bringing out the bouquet in champagne, or indeed many other tipples. It can work its magic on red wine, pineau de charente, amaretto, or port. The impermeability of the egg white used in the manufacture of the biscuit ensures that it stays firm, even when soaked, thus preventing the unpleasant sight of saturated lumps of biscuit floating around in your glass. I am counting on it’s ability to stay firm, when doused with amaretto, covered with raspberry jam, a thick layer of home made custard and a topping of whipped cream. The recipe suggests some silver balls and slivers of candied angelica to act as decoration. Angelica happens to be one of my pet food dislikes, stemming from some childhood excess I imagine, although an excess of angelica is akin to a surfeit of lampreys and therefore unlikely. Angelica flourishes in the “marais” of this area, so there is a lot of it. Apparently it has magical properties in that it cures fevers, brings out temperance in those that consume it and is a great aid to chastity. Probably not an ideal food decoration at a time of feasting and intemperance, on the other hand…….