Tim Tam Choc Mint

February 13, 2017 at 15:20 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim-tam-choc-mintWow! A whole new set of Tim Tam flavours have been launched. And with funky packaging too!

This new range has been ‘inspired by Gelato Messina’. For those of you who have not heard of Gelato Messina, it’s a posh ice-cream shop, and currently flavour-du-jour of the hipster classes. Move over Zumbo; this is the new cool in desserts. Arnott’s have clearly read the zeitgeist, ditched the patissier extraordinaire, and hope to ride the gelato craze.

There are four new flavours: Mint Choc, Coconut and Lychee, Black Forest and Salted Caramel Vanilla. Now, you may be excused for thinking that sounds all a little familiar. Arnott’s have previously ranged Mint, Coconut, Black Forest and Salted Caramel versions of Tim Tams. Indeed, some of those flavours were apparently created by the great Adriano Zumbo himself, so it must be a bit galling to not only be dumped in favour of an ice-cream parlour, but for them to steal your flavours too.

It was the Mint Choc I tore into first. To be honest, I was super-excited. The previous Mint incarnation of Tim Tam was, in my opinion, one of the finest Tim Tams ever made, and I was hoping that this would be the same biscuit, dressed up to capture those oh-so-fickle millennials.

tim-tam-choc-mint-biscuitWell, sad to say, it is not. it is similar, to be sure, but not the same. Instead of the rich mint cocoa filling of the original, this one has a slightly green-tinged cream that smells rather like the junior Chillikebabs’ toothpaste. It certainly has a minty taste, but a more creamy, almost vanillary version. To Arnott’s credit, it does actually taste quite a bit like Mint Choc ice cream. And it’s by no means a bad biscuit; they are quite yummy and easy to chomp on. It’s just not quite up to the high benchmark set by the original (which I went all out and gave 10/10 for). I’m going to give these a highly creditable 8/10. And Arnott’s – please bring back the original mint ones…

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Tim Tam Raspberry Choc

November 11, 2015 at 19:24 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam choc raspberry packWell, somehow this one slipped through the net. Apparently it was created for Valentines Day back in February, but I only just came across it. It’s another Zumbo flavour, and I have no doubt that it came about as a direct result of this very blog. You see, when I looked at the previous Zumbo attempt at a raspberry Tim Tam, I noted that, based as it was on the exceptionally ordinary Tim Tam White, it was never going to amount to very much. An improvement, yes, but with such an unprepossessing foundation it was never going to be a classic. I’ve also previously noted that the Tim Tam Dark is the best Tim Tam. No, I’m not going to argue the point. If you disagree, you are wrong.

Evidently Mr Zumbo has been reading this, put two and two together, and made  – well, we’ll see how much in a little while.

tim tam raspberry choc biscuitThe Tim Tam Raspbery Choc, you see, is made with that fabulous rich, moreish Arnott’s dark chocolate. This puts it firmly on the path to success from the outset. I suspect that Mr Zumbo has also tweaked the filling, as it has a slightly more scented, aromatic quality – almost like a liqueur.

The net result is a smooth, satisfying and decidedly grown-up Tim Tam. Which I am shamelessly going to take all the credit for. In this case, then, putting two and two together comes out with a solid nine out of ten for the Tim Tam Raspberry Choc. Good stuff.

Arnott’s Tim Tam Coconut Cream

July 1, 2015 at 13:00 | Posted in biscuits | 2 Comments
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timtamcoconutpackCoconut is a surprisingly strong flavour. When we were travelilng in South-east Asia, we would often buy pineapples from roadside stalls and markets. They were usually beautifully carved with a spiral groove running around them which removed the hard ‘eyes’ without loosing any of the fruit (we can never be bothered at home, and just cut off the skin really thickly. Such western decadence). Anyway, sometimes, they seemed to taste strongly of coconut. We finally learned this happened when the pineapple trees were planted next to coconut palms – the flavour actually transferred from one plant to another via the roots. As Mrs Chillikebab doesn’t really like coconut, this was not always welcome.

Well, Mr Zumbo has been visiting the Arnott’s kitchen again, and has come up with another new variant – a full-on coconut cream Tim Tam. I suppose that this was pretty inevitable; as I’ve mentioned before, Arnott’s, whilst making a range of absolutely peerless biscuits, do have a tendency to overdo the coconut. So how does this work out, when coconut is the key ingredient? (And, more importantly, is the taste somehow going to seep out into the other ranges…?!)

timtamcoconutbiscuitWell, actually the answer is ‘pretty well’. They smell nice and coconutty, and have a rich coconut taste. Yes, it’s very strong, but it’s not that nasty, drying, slightly sour coconut you sometimes get – this is creamy and moist and very moreish. These biscuits actually reminded me quite strongly of the Bounty bar. (And what did happen to the cardboard tray?)

I think these are rather good. (Thank goodness. My faith is restored, after some rather second rate efforts…). I’m going to give these a seven out of ten.

Arnott’s Monte Carlo Salted Caramel

May 6, 2015 at 13:31 | Posted in biscuits | 2 Comments
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montesaltedpackA week or so ago, we looked at the first in the new ‘Twisted Faves’ range. Today, we come to the next one – the salted caramel version of the Monte Carlo.

Salted caramel is certainly all the rage at the moment. It seems to be everywhere. Salted caramel popcorn, salted caramel ice-cream, salted caramel burgers, salted caramel latte – you can’t go anywhere in Sydney without seeing it. In terms of announcing ‘I am a cool hipster’ it seems to have taken right over from ‘artisan sourdough’ in the past few months, and no trendy cafe worth its, er, salt, seems to offer anything else. Of course, this is not the first time Arnott’s have jumped on the bandwagon – they already did it a few months ago in conjunction with that icon of hipsterism, Adriano Zumbo.

montesaltedbiscuitSo how does this new twist on the Monte Carlo work? Well, the first thing to note is that it does lose a great deal of its ‘Monte-Carlo-ness’. That strange, chewy centre is replaced by a much softer creme; so much does this change the character that it’s hard to believe they are the same biscuits either side if it.

But that said, they are very nice. Not overly salty (less salty than the Zumbo creations, for example), but quite luscious, with the crubly biscuit and rich creme. You can chow through a lot of these in one go; they are very moreish. Hurrah Arnott’s, you’ve redemmed yourselves again, and shown that this ‘Twisted Faves’ line has promise. I’m going to give these eight out of ten.

I wonder if how choc-orange Deltas will measure up? All will be revealed in a week or so…

 

 

Tim Tam Peanut Butter Flavour

October 1, 2014 at 13:22 | Posted in biscuits | 2 Comments
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timtampeanutpackGoodness me. So many new Tim Tams to try. When I originally heard about these, I assumed they were another Zumbo flavour, but they aren’t. It’s just a new range which I understand is exclusive to Coles supermarkets.

Normally I start off these reviews with some gentle chit-chat, perhaps some whimsical storytelling, before describing something about the biscuit, leading up to the ‘reveal’ of how it tasted. Well, today I’m going to do something a bit different, and start with the taste. So, let’s put it out there:

These biscuits are revolting.

timtampeanutSeriously. They are just so bad, I don’t know where to start. Should I mention that they have no peanut butter in them? No actual peanuts, even? Perhaps you’d like to know they smell nasty, like fetid socks? That they taste vaguely like burnt sesame seeds to start with,  quickly transforming into a unappetising artificial smoky flavour as you chew? That they leave a stale, oily residue in the mouth when you’ve finished them? That they have a most unattractive pale brown interior that looks like baby poo?

The exceptionally uninspirational Tim Tam White stands head and shoulders above this miserable effort. Given the choice, I’d choose a dreary BigTedz over one of these any day. What on earth are Arnott’s thinking? These are not just a bad Tim Tam. There’re not even just a bad biscuit by Arnott’s standards. They rate right down there with the worst cheap and nasty imported stuff you get in seasonal packaging on two-for-one offer in Dollar King. Unbelievable. Utterly unbelievable. And I am not alone in this opinion, as illustrated by the responses on Arnott’s facebook page:

ARNOTTFACEBOOK

 

Somehow I don’t see this range lasting very long. I’m hesitant even to give them a score, they are so execrable. Zero out of ten? Minus fifty out of ten?

Tim Tam Red Velvet

September 22, 2014 at 21:16 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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red velvet tim tam packWell, it seems the folks at Arnott’s have been busy cooking up more treats with fitness-dancer-turned-patissier Adriano Zumbo. The latest offering to hit the shelves is the Tim Tam Red Velvet, designed to taste like a red velvet cupcake.

Red Velvet cakes are so called because they are red. Apparently this all goes back to the second world war, when bakers would use beetroot to colour their chocolate cakes, given that actual chocolate was in such short supply. Nowadays, of course, we can simply use food colouring, although it is to Arnott’s credit that they use natural colour extracted from South American parasitic insects, rather than nasty artificial colour extracted from fossilised trees.

red velvet tim tamThey look just like regular Tim Tams, although once again we only have nine in a pack. This cheapskatery does rankle with me a little, to be honest. There’s nothing worse than eating y0ur ninth Tim Tam, then reaching out in anticipation of your penultimate biscuit only to find the packet is inexplicably empty. Oh well. I suppose Arnott’s have to pay Zumbo’s licensing fees somehow.

When you bite into a Red Velvet Tim Tam, the red colour is quite striking. The biscuit is chocolatey, and the filling tastes remarkably similar to cream cheese icing. Indeed, I would say these really do live up to the billing; they taste pretty much exactly like a red velvet cup cake – moreish,  rich, and slightly sickly.

They are actually pretty good; I’d go as far as to say they are the best of the Zumbo Tim Tams. I’m going to give these and eight and a half out of ten.

Tim Tam Choc Brownie

May 25, 2014 at 16:28 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam choc brownie packI do like a good chocolate brownie. Squidgy, rich and decadent. I am lucky in that Mrs Chillikebab makes what are undoubtedly the Best Chocolate Brownies in the World. A big claim, yes, but a justified one, I think – and I’ve yet to meet anyone who, having tried them, disagrees. The key is, of course, to use the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on, and to undercook them. Or rather, not to undercook them, but cook them just perfectly – which means taking them out of the oven far earlier than your instincts (and often the recipe) tells you, so they finish cooking and firming up in the pan before you turn them out in all their squidgy glory.

I’ve never had an Adriano Zumbo brownie, but I presume he can make a half-decent one, given people seem to queue around the block just to get into his store. And it is this that forms the basis of the final Zumbo Tim Tams – the others being Raspberry White Choc and Salted Caramel.

Those of you who read the Raspberry White Choc review may be getting nervous at this point, as the dreaded ‘choc’ rears it head again. Normally this means nasty chocolate substitute in place of the real thing. You’ll be pleased to know that in this case the name is misleading – there is real chocolate aplenty in these Tim Tams. Why they didn’t call them ‘Chocolate Brownie’ I don’t know. Maybe the shorter name is how Adriano Zumbo refers to them in his store, in some kind of post-modern ironic manner.

tim tam choc brownie biscuitThey present pretty much like a regular Tim Tam. However, they are somewhat different on the palate; the chocolate cream is much darker and richer, and generally has a more chocolaty taste. They amazingly actually do capture something of the essence of a chocolate brownie; perhaps it’s a hint of vanilla, or the buttery richness. They are pretty good – I’d say the best of the Zumbo trio.

I’m going to give these an eight of of ten. I like them.

Tim Tam Raspberry White Choc

May 1, 2014 at 14:34 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam raspberry white choc biscuit  Choc. Four letters to strike fear into the heart of the biscuit aficionado. Four little letters that spell ‘disappointment’. Because, you see, ‘choc’ is what legal eagles insist biscuit marketers write when the biscuit does not contain any chocolate, merely flavoured vegetable fat. But somehow ‘Raspberry & flavoured vegetable fat’ does not have the same ring to it.

Now, I have no doubt the pedants will jump in here, making all sorts of claims about white chocolate not being chocolate in any case, and that cocoa butter is a vegetable fat, so all chocolate can be called flavoured vegetable fat. Well, hurrah for all you Wikipedia readers. All the rest of you need to know is that there is no chocolate in ‘choc’, and is best avoided.*

tim tam raspberry white choc biscuit 2For all that, what are these new Tim Tams? Well, they are another in the range ‘by Adriano Zumbo’, and consist of a white choc Tim Tam with the filling exchanged for a lurid red raspberry variety.

And that filling really is lurid. I wondered if the pack artwork was exaggerated on this point, but if anything the actual biscuits feature an even brighter-hued interior than depicted, as if biting into them inflicts some kind of wound.

tim tam raspberry white choc biscuit insideSo how do they taste? Well, I have to be honest and say ‘better than I expected’. If Adriano Zumbo set out to improve the worst Tim Tam ever made, he succeeded brilliantly, as these are quite chompable. But if he set out to make something truly great, well, he failed. These are not bad; they pass the time and are not an embarrassment. But they are, at best, a mediocre example of the Tim Tam genre.

I’m going to give these a six out of ten.

*The exception that proves this rule is, of course, the Wagon Wheel, a glory of choc that defies all known science.

Tim Tam Salted Caramel

April 19, 2014 at 20:13 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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salted caramel tim tam packThe innovation labs at Arnott’s must be in overdrive at the moment, with so many new Tim Tam varieties coming onto the market. Hot on the heels of the Strawberry flavour, we now have new ones inspired by Adriano Zumbo.

Adriano Zumbo, for those of you who are not familiar with the name, is a Sydney patissier who has been wowing the crowds with his combination of bizarre macaroon flavours and high-energy dance routines. People queue outside his bakery just to get a hint of ‘vanilla and sardine’ biscuit and to lose a few kilos with some coordinated star-jumps. I have to say, I have never visited his shop, despite it being quite close to where I live. As you would expect, being a paid-up curmudgeon, I am resolutely Not Impressed with such new-age tomfoolery.

Arnott’s seem to have jumped on the bandwagon, however, releasing three new varieties ‘by Adriano Zumbo’. Whether this means Adriano himself is actually baking them, or he was merely paid to put his name on the packet I will leave for you to decide.

caramel tim tam biscuitThe ones I tried first were the ‘salted caramel’ variety. These look and smell pretty much like regular caramel Tim Tams, and indeed taste a lot like them too – albeit with quite a significant salt hit. Actually, really quite a lot of salt. So I guess if you wanted to try these without forking out the exorbitant amount Arnott’s now charge for those little snack packs which seem to be the packet-du-jour,  you could simply buy a regular pack of caramel Tim Tams and sprinkle them with Saxa.

They are actually quite good, I have to say. Generally speaking things that are even more bad for you do taste better. However, I would say that crediting this whole innovation to some patissier is clearly misplaced. Arnott’s have had a far superior, salted sweet biscuit on the market for many, many years – Zumbo is just a Jonny-come-lately to this whole thing, and his effort lacks the poise, charm and addictiveness of the original.

For all that, they are pretty good though. I’m going to give them an eight out of ten.

Tim Tam Double Choc Vanilla

March 22, 2013 at 19:49 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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chocvanillapackVery excitingly, the Tim Tam Bus came to Sydney the other week, down at Circular Quay. This is all part of the marketing activity for the new ‘treat pack’ size that has been recently launched – you will recall we already looked at the Choc Orange variant. I wasn’t able to spend as much time on the Tim Tam Bus as I would have liked, but I did note that the Choc Orange was not the only new flavour launched with the new range. Oh no. There was another one – the Double Choc Vanilla. For some reason this version has not found its way to my local supermarket, but I was subsequently able to track down a pack so that I can now reveal to you, dear readers, its innermost secrets.

But before I do that, I must get something off my chest. You see, I stumbled across the Tim Tam Bus quite by accident, but it turns out its arrival was not unnoted in the blogosphere. Indeed, apparently Arnott’s actually invited some bloggers to attend. Now, I’m a humble sort of a fellow, but, well, I do feel that having  ploughed through every variety of Arnott’s sweet (and a number of savoury) biscuit lines, showing my loyalty and sharing the Arnott’s love all over the internets, well, perhaps it’s not too much to ask for such an invitation? Hey ho. I guess it’s all down to numbers – because, sad to say, dear reader, there’s a good chance you will be the only person to read my blog today. Indeed, it’s quite possible you’ll be the only person to read it this week. And perhaps Arnott’s have brand alignment problems if they associate with a bicycling weirdo who revels in breaking the law. Unrequited love is, as they say, the purest form. So never fear, Arnott’s, I will stand by you. But I just wanted to say that. If that’s OK.

Choc Vanilla Tim TamSo, what does the Double Choc Vanilla Tim Tam taste like? The first thing to note is that the ‘double choc’ seems to be broadly synonymous with  ‘double coat‘. They have a nice thick chocolate coating, but I have to say it seems slightly less thick than the true double coat. (I’ll have to do a side-by side comparison to verify this.) Either way, it is the standard milk chocolate, and the vanilla creme is white in appearance.

And they actually taste pretty good. The vanilla is quite understated, and I reckon in a blind tasting a lot of people would mistake them for regular Tim Tams. Indeed, I had to surgically extract some of the creme from the centre of the biscuit to verify that it was indeed vanilla flavour. I don’t see this as a fault, though; it’s rather refreshing given that many of the flavoured Tim Tam varieties are so brash and full on. I liked these, and would rank them as at least as good as the Tim Tam Original. Perfect for a treat!

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