Arno Shortbread

January 25, 2011 at 11:17 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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In case you didn’t realise it, Arnott’s have a Scottish heritage. Old Mr Arnott was a immigrant from Scotland who opened his first bakery in Australia in 1865, to provide pies and biscuits to the people of Newcastle, New South Wales.

This Scottish link is still very evident in the number of shortbread lines Arnott’s make – no less than five (Scotch Finger, Chocolate Scotch Finger, Shortbread Cream, Glengarry, and the Arno Shortbread). There’s a kind of pecking order with these biscuits that relates to the amount of butter used in the recipe. At the bottom of the pile in this respect is the Shortbread Cream, with not much butter at all (but the cream tries to make up for that). Then comes the iconic Scotch Finger, with some butter. Next is the Arno Shortbread, which has quite a lot of butter, but also still contains some vegetable oil. And finally at the top of the heap is the Glengarry, which is made only with butter.

The Arno Shortbread, then, is pitched towards the premium end of the market. So how does it compare to the iconic (and much cheaper) Scotch Finger? Well, it is much crumblier, and evidently cooked to a higher bake. It has a bobbly raised surface that looks quite attractive. And it does have a quite distinct buttery taste; it doesn’t quite transport you to a windswept heathery moor replete with loner piper, but it is a tasty biscuit. The high bake means it doesn’t dunk terrifically well (this job is best left to the Scotch Finger), but it does make a nice change.

However, I do wonder about this biscuit. It’s kind of one of those orphan lines that kind of isn’t anything. It’s not a Scotch Finger, delivering the goods every day. And it’s not a Glengarry, catering to the premium end of the market. It just feels a bit unnecessary. I suspect consumers feel the same, as it was definitely the case that this line was not moving very fast in my local supermarket, as evidenced by the outdated ‘simple goodness’ tag (this was updated to ‘Natural Ingredients’ some months ago, and this was the only line in the store for which the new packaging apparently had not filtered through). Not, of course, that I would suggest that Arnott’s cull this line. Oh no, we love the plethora of varieties in the Arnott’s stable. In fact, I suggest you go out and buy some Arno Shortbread immediately, to keep the sales up and help preserve this biscuit!

I’d give this a seven-and-a-half out of ten.


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  1. Any idea why its called Arno?

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