Arnott’s Shapes Extreme BBQ Ribs Blast

September 30, 2015 at 20:19 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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shapes extreme boxWe live in a world of immoderation. Everything around us is super-sized, extra-strong, ultra-intense. Marketers of the world conspire to convince us that their product will deliver that life-changing experience, even as we plug the mundane details of renewing our car insurance or buying a sandwich.

For the most part, Arnott’s avoids such excesses. Lemon Crisp packets are not labelled ‘OMG! Unbelievably addictive!‘. Ginger Nuts do not proclaim ‘The strongest biscuit in the world!‘. No, Arnott’s like some throwback to a more genteel time, prefer to be more understated, allowing the qualities of their products to speak for themselves.

Of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average‘. ‘Exceeding the bounds of moderation‘. Thus the dictionary defines the word ‘extreme’. And it seems Arnott’s have gone all out with this new Shapes Extreme range to do just that.

The packaging is riotous. The language is hyperbolic – ‘intense’, extreme’, ‘blast’. What on earth is all this about? It’s like seeing your grandfather at a rave party.

I have to say, my curmudgeon meter was dialled up to eleven on this one. These were going to be terrible. I could just sense it, and I took them to the checkout like some portent of doom, only buying them because of the paucity of alternative options at the servo where I stopped in a mad rush.

The fact that I was taking them to an orchestra rehearsal made it even worse. They were my contribution to supper; a supper that is enjoyed by a distinctly conservative, largely retired, and somewhat blue-rinsed collection of amateur violinists. Oh well, I thought, I suppose the trumpets might like them.

Somewhat embarrassed, I opened them in the break and sampled one. Shuddering slightly as I lifted it to my lips, I closed my eyes and took a bite.

and….    and…..

Where was it? Where was the tongue-stripping acid, the tang of monosodium glutamate, the flabby biscuit no more than a second-rate delivery mechanism for all that ‘extreme’?

shapes extreme biscuitMy god. They were actually good. Really good. Crispy and light, with a lovely texture. Flavoursome and savoury, with just the right balance of sweetness, unami, salt and spice. In some extraordinary way they reminded me of a really good naan bread in an Indian restaurant; which sounds weird but might make sense if you try them.

This was something extraordinary. Even more extraordinary was that everyone agreed. Retired solicitors queued up to get more. The double bass player who rarely speaks was heard to remark ‘mmmm, these are nice‘. They were gone in seconds, with me barely being able to grab the last few to take a picture for this blog.

So there you are. Never judge a book by its cover and all that. The only way these are ‘extreme’ is in the ‘extremely delicious’ sense of the word. Go and buy some. You won’t be disappointed. I’m going to give these a nine out of ten.

Arnott’s Shapes – Cheddar

September 1, 2015 at 17:28 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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arnotts shapes cheddar boxIt’s been a while since we had a savoury biscuit review, so when a packet of Cheddar Shapes happened into the Chillikebab kitchen I thought it might be worth a look at.

They are small, rectangle biscuits, quite crunchy, sprinkled with cheesy flavour.

Hmm, not sure there’s much more to say really. So instead, let me draw your attention to another cheesy change. I still eat a lot of Cheds, and back in 2012 when i reviewed them, the pack clearly stated ‘a crisp cracker with a baked on cheddar cheese flavour

arnotts shapes cheddar biscuitAt some point, however, that changed, and it now reads ‘a delicious real cheddar cracker, sprinkled with pecorino cheese and oven baked until crisp’. Pecorino cheese, eh? Now, I eat a lot of these biscuits, and I’m pretty confident that the recipe hasn’t changed. Was there always pecorino cheese in there? Did someone just realise, and decide the sex up the marketing? The ingredients just say ‘cheese (16%)‘. Which, I have to say, is a pretty good percentage. Cheddar Shapes can only muster up 14%. Although how much of that is actually cheddar is open to conjecture.

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

Shapes – Chicken Crimpy

February 23, 2014 at 19:30 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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chickencrimpyboxWell, here we are with another Shapes review, despite your protestations and howls of derision. However, in my defence I will say that these ones come in a box, and are much larger. indeed, they are more reminiscent of Jatz than of the rest of the shapes range.

They also feature the ‘flavour you can see’ line, but I have to say I’m confused by this. There is no ‘flavour’ to be discerned on these biscuits (unlike the Barbecue Shapes, for example). I suppose you could argue than pretty much anything comestible has ‘flavour you can see’, in the sense that you can see it is an edible item which presumably will taste of something. Perhaps Arnott’s are merely reassuring us that these biscuits are not invisible.

chickencrimpybiscuitThe biscuits have scalloped edges (hence the ‘crimpy’, I suspect), and are about four centimetres across. They are crunchy, and for all the world taste like plain biscuits for cheese sprinkled with a lot of chicken salt. Perhaps that’s what they are. Given the saltiness, I’m not sure they would go with cheese very successfully, but they did dip quite well into a guacamole salsa that I had in the fridge.

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

Shapes – Barbecue

February 16, 2014 at 13:30 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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bbqshapespackIs this a step too far, I wonder? I have begged your indulgence to write about savoury biscuits, and you have responded magnificently,with an overwhelming response asking for cheesy reviews. But this? Sold in a bag, and clearly not meant for putting with a cheeseboard? Well, dear readers, let me know what you think as we step into the dangerous waters of the savoury snack biscuit.

There are a number of things about these that Arnott’s are very keen you should know. Firstly, they are ‘baked not fried’. Well that’s alright then. Clearly slathering fat all over something and then putting it in the oven, rather than merely dipping it into hot oil is to be applauded. After all, potatoes baked in duck fat are practically a health food.

The other thing is that they have ‘flavour you can see’. This seems strange to me. Personally I prefer flavour you can taste. Maybe it’ one of those post-modern things, like paintings you can hear. I looked at the flavour long and hard, but didn’t really get any hint of barbecue – more pencil shavings or bits from the dust-pan. Nothing to suggest burned sausages or parrafin lighter fluid.

bbqshapesbiscuitsTo eat, though, you do get some flavour. It seems the flavour is not just for looking at after all. The biscuit is crunchy and quite OK texture-wise. The flavour is of the generic ‘barbecue’ type, which is to say it really has very little to do with barbecues, and a whole lot to do with monosodium glutamate. Salty, spicy and slightly sweet tasting with a chemical edge that strips your tongue. Oh, and very addictive. The packet will be gone in a flash.

Of course, they are terrible. Artificial, gimmicky and lacking all depth and subtlety, But, for all that, they do deliver on expectations for the genre.

I’m going to give them a four out of ten.

Arnott’s Vita-Weat Cracker Chips

March 12, 2019 at 09:45 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment

vita weat chips boxLook, I know. These really aren’t a biscuit. They are a chip. But they are a chip made out of a biscuit. You get Vita-Weats, and then you crush them up, form them into chips and cook them. Or something like that.

They come in individual packets, for snacking – ideal for lunchboxes I suppose. Seven packs per box. Ahh, Arnott’s do love their prime numbers. A numerologist would have a field day at Arnott’s HQ, I feel.

vita weat chips

So, how does this sort of cross over thing work? Well, not all that well, to be honest. They are rather dry, rather tasteless and rather hard in texture. They are better for dipping, but then that’s a bit odd as they come in little packets, and it seems weird to open a load of little packets to put them in a bowl and put them out with some dip.

So I’m going to give these rather unfortunate cross-over hybrids a three out of ten. If you want a savoury snack, there are much much much better options…

 

Choc Banana Tim Tam

October 20, 2015 at 14:56 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam choc banana packetExciting news! Another new Tim Tam is here! Goodness, the innovation department at Arnott’s must really be working overtime at the moment. This new line is exclusive to Coles; I suppose to balance the Three Bean Tim Tam that was exclusive to Woolies.

The packaging is a slightly disconcerting yellow colour. I don’t know why it should be disconcerting; bananas are yellow after all. Yet somehow it is, to me at least. I have to say though, I did like the little banana shape behind the ‘New’ flash. Subtle one for the biscuit packet nerds out there. Which, of course, I am NOT. No sir, not me. Ahem.

So what are they like? My very initial instinct was to be worried by the whole concept of banana flavour. I mean, banana flavour never actually tastes of bananas, does it? But then I caught myself. This is Arnott’s we are talking about. They can confound expectation.

When you open the packet, they do smell quite strongly of sort of banana. And when you eat them, they also taste quite strongly of sort of banana. Actually, they taste quite a lot like banana syrup. Not that I’ve ever had banana syrup, to be honest, but I was reliably informed by those who had that this is what it tasted like. This was considered to be a Good Thing, as banana syrup is a delicious sort of grown-up thing, as opposed to banana lollies, which are a kind of revolting kids thing.

I actually thought they were OK. Not my favourite ever, but not at all bad. Not too sweet, banana flavour was quite good, chocolate as always impeccable.

There is one thing you probably need to know about these, though, and that is that they repeat on you. ‘Repeat on you’. Goodness, what a buttoned-up English person I can be. What I mean is that if you eat most of a packet of Banana Tim Tams in one go (which is what I did), you’ll be doing huge banana-flavoured belches for the next 3-4 hours. So be warned.

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

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