Arnott’s Shapes – Lamb and Rosemary

May 29, 2020 at 19:29 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Such excitement! Even in these pandemic times, Arnott’s continues to expand its Aussie Legends series of Shapes, with a new addition to the range – Lamb and Rosemary.

When I think of lamb, I think of Sam Kekovich – more particularly this ad, which was airing right about the time we arrived in Australia. It was my first introduction to Australian humour, and I recall it being shared around the office on this newfangled YouTube thing to roars of laughter. I still think it’s one of the best Australia Day lamb ads they did.

Anyway, would Kekovich give these new Shapes his seal of approval? I’m not so sure. They are actually pretty tasty, and a huge improvement on the revolting meat pie flavour ones. But I’m not sure they quite capture a juicy lamb chop. The actually taste like you’d expect a lamb stock cube to taste. With some added rosemary. They are quite chompable, but not a classic. I’m going to give them a six out of ten.

Arnott’s Shapes – Meat Pie flavour

February 1, 2020 at 12:42 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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This is the other flavour in the new Arnott’s ‘Aussie legends’ range (we looked at the Sausage Sizzle ones a little while ago), and I suppose is another iconic Australian comestible. When we moved to Australia I recall going into a pie shop and being somewhat confused by the range on offer. Sure, there was Steak and Mushroom, Steak and Cheese, Chicken and Vegetable and all the rest, but the one at the top of the list was simply called ‘Plain Pie’. Plain? What was a plain pie, I wondered. So I bought one.

It was some sort of meat (I think beef), mostly minced, in a sort of thick gravy. It was salty, and not very nice. Clearly it is this type of pie that Arnott’s set out to celebrate with this new flavour, rather than any gourmet or specialty variety.

I know this because these new Meat Pie Shapes are disgusting. They are even worse that that plain pie. They are worse than that mass-produced, been-in-the-warmer-for-hours pie you get from the servo late at night when you are hungry on a drive, and that’s all there is and you buy it even though you know it won’t be very nice (and it isn’t). They are absolutely revolting.

I suppose if Arnott’s were setting out to celebrate just how low and just how nasty the meat pie can be in Australian culture, they have succeeded admirably. When you open the packet, the first thing you notice is the smell. It is horrible. AsI opened them, my whole family (at the other end of the kitchen) called out ‘what’s the horrible smell? Smells like dog treats.’ If you touch them, the smell gets onto your fingers, and is extremely hard to wash off. I washed my hands four or five times in the end, but that disgusting smell still lingered to my fingertips, making me heave if I brought them to my nose.

The flavour is nasty. Honestly, I can’t really make a clear assessment of how closely they resemble a meat pie in taste, as I was kind of gagging as I forced a few down for this review. Just accept that they are not nice at all.

I’m not the only one who thinks this, btw.

I think they might even be worse than this abomination from a few years ago. Just No, Arnott’s. No.

 

Arnott’s Iced Vovo Sponge Cake

May 14, 2019 at 10:58 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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OK, I’m sorry. This is definitely not a biscuit. (Or a book, or a bicycle, for that matter). It’s a cake. A cake made by Arnott’s and ‘inspired’ by the Iced VoVo. Who knew Arnott’s made cakes? Well, actually I’ve known it for a while, as you can see from the best before date on the packet in the picture. But I only just remembered about it.

I’m not sure what I think about this, to be honest. Mrs Chillikebab did once make a very large Iced VoVo cake for a friend’s birthday; however the power of the google does not extend to me finding a picture of it (although it did unearth pretty much every birthday cake I have ever made for the kids’ birthdays.)

These cakes are a sweet as you would expect a shop-bought cake to be, and don’t look as appetising in real life as on the picture. Biscuits are one thing, but if you want a cake, then I recommend you make one. They are really not hard. You will make a better cake than these.

I’m going to give them a 2 out of 10.

Arnott’s Choc Malt and Sticky Caramel Tim Tam Slam

April 23, 2019 at 08:57 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam slam 3 packWell, here we go with the final installment of out Tim Tam Slam reviews, with the last one in the range. (You can read the others here and here, including a description of how to perform a Tim Tam Slam).

It’s probably worth noting at this point that this whole range as just half a star health rating. This whole health rating system is of course a complete nonsense, but it’s nice to see that something unashamedly bad for you rated so low. This way you know it’s going to be good.

tim tam slam 3 biscuitAnd these ones are good. They are the best of the bunch. Rich and malty, with a smooth caramel. It’s a bit like Milo in a bar – but better. Again, I’m not sure the Slamming aspect is particularly enhanced, but good on Arnott’s for celebrating this more Australian of rituals in this new range.

I’m going to give these ones an eight out of ten. Arnott’s seem to be on a roll at the moment. Keep up the good work, guys…

Arnott’s Dark Choc and Sticky Raspberry Tim Tam Slam

April 1, 2019 at 16:58 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam slam cherry biscuitSo today, we move on to the next in the Tim Tam Slam range – Dark Choc and Sticky Raspberry Flavour. They are certainly going to town with the long names for this range – it causes all kinds of problems with the page title going onto two lines. I must remind Arnott’s to avoid this in future.

If you don’t know what a Tim Tam Slam is, then you should read my post about the Choc Hazelnut and Gooey Caramel Flavour. I’m not going to repeat it here. Hopefully since them you have been practicing, and can undertake The Slam with aplomb.

tim tam cherryI was immediately hopeful about this flavour. Dark Chocolate is always a cut above milk, in my humble opinion. But then I was also somewhat suspicious about the ‘Choc’. ‘Choc’ can mean some sort of fake chocolate, rather than the normal high quality chocolate that Arnott’s for the most part use (with the execrable Tim Tam White being the dishonourable exception). Thankfully here real chocolate is in evidence; I presume that with the already inflated character count in the name there really wasn’t room on the pack for ‘Chocolate’.

Once again, I didn’t feel these slammed any differently or better than regular Tim Tams, but they were actually quite nice. Bit of a tang to the raspberry, nice rich chocolate. I also quite liked the dual-textured filling – the raspberry creme contrasted with the softer jam.

These are pretty good. I’m going to give them a seven out of ten. Just one more flavour to go – will it continue to improve, I wonder?

Arnott’s Choc Hazelnut and Gooey Caramel Tim Tam Slam

March 26, 2019 at 14:27 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam slam packThere are new Tim Tams from Arnotts! How exciting. They are a new rage specifically designed for ‘slamming’.

What is the Tim Tam Slam, I hear you ask? Well, let me explain the correct way to do it. (And this is the correct way, by the way. If you read, see or hear differently then you should take it upon yourself to correct any misapprehensions).

First, you bite off the two ends of the biscuit, taking off as little biscuit as possible to expose the biscuit and filling at each end. (Not the corners, not just the chocolate. You need to take off 1-2mm of biscuit from each of the shorter sides).

Next, take a hot cup or tea or coffee (it doesn’t matter which; this is according to taste, although hot chocolate or Milo are frowned upon). Dip one end of the Tim Tam a few millimetres into the hot beverage, and place the other end between the lips, leaving the beverage on the table (so you are bending down over the cup). Quickly suck up the hot liquid, using the Tim Tam as the straw.

As soon as you feel the hot liquid reach the top of the biscuit (and you need to move fast here), grip the biscuit between your lips and / or teeth, and raise your head. Continue putting your head back, until the biscuit is pointing at the ceiling. You should not be holding it with your fingers at this point.

Now, using your tongue, allow the biscuit to slowly slide into your mouth. The effect for the viewer should be that it slowly disappears from view, sinking into your head like a sinking thing.

Close your mouth, put your head to a normal position and finish chewing the biscuit, enjoying the hot, softened confection. It is best to transfix your audience with a wild stare at this point, before breaking into a satisfied smile as you finish your Tim Tam. (The absolute master of this art, and the person I learned from, is my mate Ian. He elevates Tim Tam Slamming into an art form. Next time I’m up in QLD I’ll get him to demonstrate in a video).

tim tam slam biscuitAnyway, it seems that Arnott’s are celebrating this ritual by creating a range if Tim Tams optimised for slamming. There are three in the range, and the first one we will be looking at is the Choc Hazelnut and Gooey Caramel Flavour (which also wins a prize for the longest name for a biscuit ever).

Arnott’s seem to have attempted to engineer these biscuits with a softer strip of filing up the middle that works as a ‘straw’, with regular creme filling either side. Whilst they slammed quite satisfactorily, to be honest they were no more effective at this than a regular Tim Tam.

The flavour, though, is not quite there. It’s a bit sweet; the hazelnut is fighting with the caramel and it somehow doesn’t quite work all together. It’s not a bad Tim Tam, but not a classic. I’m going to give it a five out of ten. Perhaps the others in the range will be better?

Arnott’s Tiny Teddy Cheesy Crackers

July 23, 2018 at 21:31 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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There is a definite phenomenon in my life that when I like something, they stop making it. It all started with ‘All Butter Crunch’, an own-brand biscuit from the UK supermarket Sainsburys. It was a feature of my youth – all the elder Chillikebab clan loved them. In some ways, my passion for biscuits perhaps stems from that one sweetmeat, fondly remembered from when I was eight years old. And then they stopped making it. (The same thing happened with Coffee and Walnut Angel Delight, I recall).

More recently, they stopped making Cheesy Stars. These were a star-shaped cheesy snack that you could buy in Coles. They were quite a feature in the contemporary Chillikebab household – especially by Mrs Chillikebab, who loved them, ploughing through packs ostensibly bought for the kids lunchboxes. Anyway, they stopped making those too. But never fear, dear friends, for into that breach has stepped Arnott’s, with a re-imagining of the Tiny Teddy into a whole new dimension.

Yes, savoury Tiny Teddies. Who would have thought? They are cheesy, and crackery. This brings a whole new level of chompability to the genre – they have an excellent crunch, and a good salty, cheesy flavour. We like them. Not quite as much as cheesy stars, but almost. I wonder if Arnott’s are planning any over savoury cross-overs? Other than the famous cheese Tim Tam, of course.

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

Arnott’s Mini Jatz

May 25, 2018 at 11:34 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Arnott’s have been expanding their range of ‘mini’ biscuits, perhaps driven by the glowing review I gave to the Mini Scotch Fingers. There’s quite a few now, so this week we turn our attention to the Mini Jatz.

First of all, is there also a mini Savoy? The whole Savoy / Jatz thing intrigues me. It would be cool to have a selection pack with both mini Savoy and mini Jatz in it. It would facilitate very easy comparison tastings, for example.

As it is, we get the mini Jatz in a pack together with Mini Scotch Fingers and Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies. They look, well, like mini version of regular Jatz, They are crispy, salty, and quite moreish. So moreish, in fact, that I ploughed through them forgetting to count the number of biscuits in a pack. There’s enough there for a small snack. But you will want more after you finish them.

A solid eight out of ten for this mini contender.

Arnott’s Shapes Nacho Cheese

May 5, 2018 at 21:56 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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In 1985, Coca-Cola changed the recipe for Coke. Before doing this they engaged in endless trials and taste tests, in order to combat sliding sales against their main rival, Pepsi. But it backfired – everyone hated the new taste. Not long after, Coca-cola re-introduced the original recipe again, and sales rocketed – to the point that many people believe the whole thing was a ploy to drive sales.

I sometimes think about this when I look at the Arnott’s Shapes display in the supermarket. Do you remember the Shapes fiasco? A few years ago Arnott’s changed all the Shapes recipes, and everywhere exploded. The reason, you see, was that the new ones were not very nice. The Arnott’s social media team battled manfully on for ages; trying to tell everyone that it was all OK and the new ones were nice really, but in the end all the old flavours were brought back.

So now, when I go into the supermarket, there are acres of Shapes, all of which proudly sport the ‘Original’ tag. The new flavours are nowhere to be seen. Are they even still in production, I wonder? Are Arnott’s now selling more shapes than they were before? And was the whole thing a Machiavellian plot? This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.

But wait, what’s that on the bottom shelf? A lonely pack of New Shapes, with ‘baked in flavour’. It seems Nacho Cheese has survived; a relic of  this ill-thought our experiment. There never was a Nacho Cheese flavour in the old range, so it seems this new one has somehow survived. So I bought some.

So what are they like? Well, they are quite nice and crispy, with plenty of flavour. It’s sort of cheesy tomato flavour; the box mentions ‘Mexican spices’, but to be honest it’s more Bega Tasty with Masterfoods tomato sauce than Manzanillo. They do the job that is required if them – to be a sort of slightly artificial-tasting savoury snack that you can mindlessly eat when doing something else – maybe watching the sport, yakking at a party or even writing a blog. (Yep, I’ve pretty much finished the box already, having opened it just prior to writing the opening words above). I’m going to give them a five out of ten, with a bonus point for being a survivor.

 

Arnott’s Jatz Cracked Pepper

April 13, 2018 at 14:01 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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What is it with snooty Italian waiters and pepper grinders? You know, when you go to a trying-to-be-upmarket restaurant, and you want some cracked pepper on your pasta. So you ask for some, and the waiter disapprovingly comes over with a huge wooden grinder (surely he’s compensating for something?). You smile weakly, and gesture at your plate. Whereupon he gives a cursory twist of the top, leaving a  homeopathic quantity of pepper on your dinner. Forcing a smile, you ask for more, and another half turn is grudgingly given, before the pepper is whisked away, never to be seen again.

The whole charade drives me nuts, which is why I take my own pepper grinder out to dinner with me. I furtively pull it from my pocket to administer a heavy dusting when required. I guess it could also come in handy if I were to be mugged, sort of as a middle class pepper spray. I’d just grind it into the muggers face.  Although muggers in the Inner West of Sydney would probably complain it’s not single-origin tellicherry.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that Arnott’s have not been measly with the pepper in the Jatz cracked pepper. It has a good peppery flavour, and goes well with rounded cheeses, or indeed as a snack on their own. Indeed, the only criticism (which is not really a criticism per se) is that they make a less good snack than the original Jatz simply because the pepper becomes a bit overwhelming by the time you reach the fifteenth biscuit or so.

One interesting aside – those black bits you can see aren’t peppercorns. They are poppy seeds. I’m going to give them an eight out of ten. Very tasty.

 

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