Arnott’s Choc Cherry Coconut Tim Tam

March 14, 2018 at 11:08 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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When I was a boy we would often gather around the pianoforte as a family to sing. And if that sounds weirdly Victorian, well, yes it was. I remember Mum’s crinoline used to get terribly in the way in our small dining room.

Anyway, one of the songbooks we used was the News Chronicle Songbook. It was a very old edition, quite possible also dating from the period. And one of the songs was called ‘Cherry Ripe‘:

Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer: There,
Where my Julia’s lips do smile;
There’s the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow.

I remember learning this song, which I would play on the piano as my father sang in his rather fine high baritone.

Goodness, enough reminiscing. What on earth has this got to do with Tim Tams? Well, here we are with the second in the new range of Messina flavours. Choc Cherry Coconut. Now, when I think of dark chocolate, cherry and coconut, I don’t immediately think of ice cream. In fact, I have never ever seen choc cherry coconut ice cream. Is it even a Messina flavour?

You see, when I think of choc cherry coconut, I think of something else. Yes, you are thinking it too. (And here’s a question – does the name of that particular sweatmeat have anything to do with the seventeenth century English poet Robert Herrick?)

Anyway, the link between these Tim Tams and all this cherry tomfoolery is very marked. You see, these Tim Tams taste exactly like a Cherry Ripe bar. The filling even looks like it. They are more crunchy, and the chocolate ratio is greater, but to all intents and purposes they are the same. Well, I would venture perhaps ever better, as the biscuit texture and additional chocolate actually improve on the somewhat flabby original.

I like Cherry Ripe. So I liked these, and an going to give them an eight out of ten. Well done Arnott’s. If you don’t like Cherry Ripe, then steer clear.

Choc Chip Scotch Finger

November 5, 2015 at 12:45 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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choc chip scotch finger packFor the most part, I avoid the whole internet slang and emoticons shtick, but just occasionally I see something for which they just seem perfectly apt. Which is why, when I saw Choc Chip Scotch Fingers for the first time, my reaction was simple.

OMG.

It’s all just so obvious, but so inspired. ‘Twisted’ indeed.

These biscuits, I felt, could be dangerous. You just say the words ‘Scotch Finger’ and ‘Chocolate Chips’ in the same sentence, and it begins. you just want some. You just want some really really badly. Before you’ve even tried them, you need more of them.

choc chip scotch finger biscuitI was trembling with excitement as I opened the packet. Here they were.

My first thought was actually that they don’t look very attractive. Kind of blotchy and a bit odd. Something to do with embossed lettering and choc chips, I think. Oh well, never mind that, let’s press on with the devouring.

And devour them I did. the whole packet was gone in a matter of minutes. They really are pretty good.

But but but. Note quite as good as I hoped. Somehow they just don’t quite hit the mark. Possibly a tough gig, given the high expectations. But the chocolate just wasn’t pronounced enough. They need larger chocolate chunks, I think. Not necessarily more chocolate, but fewer, bigger pieces (This is a problem I’ve had before; Arnott’s seem to struggle with larger-than-normal chocolate chips. Perhaps they could upgrade their chocolate-chip machine?). Overall, I’d probably say the Chocolate Coated Scotch Finger is actually better.

All of this is, on reflection, perhaps a good thing. Perhaps Arnott’s deliberately restrained themselves when creating these, knowing just how dangerous they could be in the wrong hands.

I’m going to give these a seven-and-a-half out of ten. They are good. But nowhere near Lemon Crisp territory.

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 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!

Tim Tam Choc Orange

February 20, 2013 at 19:04 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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tim tam orange packHold the front page! News alert! There is a new Tim Tam in town – and if that wasn’t enough excitement, there’s also a new packaging format! Oh my goodness, I can barely contain myself. After months of boredom in the biscuit department (that led me to start looking at cheesy biscuits) this is exceptionally exciting. Well, for me at least.

Let’s start with the new packaging. Arnott’s have taken it upon themselves to create a new ‘treat pack’ size, containing five Tim Tams. This seems to represent part of their continuing drive to break into the snack market – you will remember this innovation from a few months ago, which doesn’t seem to have been a great success, given that it is now rarely sighted in supermarket aisles.tim tam orange inner tray

I think this new idea could be a winner; small enough to grab as a snack, probably thinking you will share the biscuits with someone, but few enough in the pack that in reality you’ll just scoff the lot yourself. Apparently the launch of this new size has been supported by a bus roaming around Australia handing then out. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear to have stopped in my street yet, but I’m hopeful that I’m on their agenda.

tim tam orange biscuitAnd now to the real news – the new flavour. It seems the Choc Orange flavour is available exclusively in this new size, so you can’t buy a standard pack of them. Further research shows that this is not really a new flavour; more of a revival of an older model. Prior to 2006 you could buy Choc Orange Tim Tams in regular packs, but they then vanished off the shelves. Whether these are exactly the same recipe as the ones sold nearly ten years ago I can’t be sure, but I suspect they could be. I wonder why they were withdrawn, and what makes Arnott’s feel now is the time to bring them back? So many questions!

So what do they taste like? Well, they are made with dark chocolate, which is a promising start, and flavoured with real orange oil. And they are quite good; dark chocolate and orange is a classic combo, and these do capture that kind of 1980’s retro feel. However, if I have one complaint it is that they capture it a bit too well; they certainly take you back to a land of restaurant sweet trolleys and frozen gateaux but they also capture a bit too much of that 80s brashness. The orange creme is a bit sweet and full on and rather overpowers the smooth chocolate.

Still, definitely worth a go for the novelty value. I’m going to give these a six out of ten.

Fun Sticks

July 6, 2012 at 22:59 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Regular readers may have noticed that the biscuit reviews have been a bit few and far between lately. Whilst that’s partly just because I’ve not got myself into gear to write them, there is also another, more pressing reason.

You see I’m simply running out of varieties. Notwithstanding the apparently near-infinite range Arnott’s seem to have, I am now finding it very hard to find new and interesting sweet treats to sample. So imagine my joy, dear reader, when I happened down the biscuit aisle in the supermarket one lunchtime, and saw a bone-fide brand new Arnott’s line! I rushed them to the checkout (unexpected item in the bagging area indeed!), and from there back to work in order to tear into them.

Fun Sticks seem to be part of a new range designed as lunchbox fillers.There are two other lines in the new range, although the other two are simply re-packaged Tim Tam Originals and Mini Wagon Wheels (although I might have to try the Tim Tam ones, to see if they are a new form factor, or just new packaging). At first glance, Fun Sticks seem to be a miniature version of those praline things you get in large tins at airports – and indeed this is sort of what they are like.

However, what I wasn’t quite expecting was just how miniature they were going to be – about five centimetres long and perhaps only five millimetres thick. There are ten ‘snack packs’ in the big box, and each ‘snack pack’ contains nine Fun Sticks, thoughtfully placed in a plastic tray. So that’s a full ninety sticks of fun to chomp through – something that, given their size, I would say was eminently achievable in a single sitting, for the truly dedicated.

The other striking thing about Fun Sticks is that they look exactly like small cigars. Indeed, as I raised one to my lips to sample it’s choc stick goodness the guy who sits opposite me looked up in surprise and said ‘Is that a cigar?’. Once he said this, I found it impossible to resist the temptation to take some imaginary puffs and do a quick Groucho Marx impression. I wonder if kids these days still do this kind of thing, now that you can no longer buy candy cigarettes? Once I got thinking along these lines, I also couldn’t help noticing how the main packet also seemed to have something of the appearance of a box of smokes, and the little tray in the individual packs does make handing them around feel a lot of proffering cancer sticks. All very strange – I wonder if this line was dreamed up down in the smokers corner of Arnott’s factory?

Still, for all that, they taste quite OK; soft choc cream inside a light, crispy tube. Sure, it’s cocoa rather than real chocolate but as an everyday snack I suppose it does the job – they are quite moreish and I would say the elements of the size, shape and packaging does add a definite element of fun. I’m going to give them seven out of ten.

Tim Tam Double Choc Caramel

November 25, 2011 at 15:12 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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Today we push on with looking at the new ‘Sweet Wishes’ range of Tim Tams, and turn our attention to the Double Choc Caramel.

They have the smooth, thick chocolate coating of the ‘double coat‘ Tim Tam, which is immediately promising. I guess this is where the ‘double’ in the name comes from, as there’s nothing else particularly chocolatey about them. Between the two layers is a caramel-flavoured cream filling, and inlaid in the centre of this filling is a slab of caramel. Caramel that is, in fact, quite chewy. This is really quite good stuff; Arnott’s should really consider using this type of caramel in the oh-so-disappointing ‘Chewy Caramel‘ version.

I have to say, they are realy rather good. A huge improvement over the Turkish Delight range we looked at last week. They are very sweet, yes, but the additional chocolate and the chewy caramel really give it a lift, making them quite moreish.

They also have a strangely familiar taste to them; something from long ago. Mrs Chillikebab commented on it too, and after much head scratching, we identified what the flavour was. Yes, they are peppery! ‘Peppery?’, I hear you cry? Yes indeed, for they are deeply reminiscent of the flavour of Cadbury’s ‘Finger of Fudge‘. I have no idea if these were ever marketed in Australia, but they were a feature of my childhood in the UK. One of the most notable things about the Finger of Fudge was the TV advert that clearly stated they were ‘full of peppery goodness‘. Everyone I knew thought this was how it went, and indeed it seems the internet is full of people who believe the same thing. Indeed, listening to the advert again, I still remain convinced they are ‘peppery’, as do many others – those suggesting the words are actually ‘full of Cadbury goodness’ are clearly mistaken.

That little aside is probably of no interest to my Australian readers, but to me the Double Choc Caramel Tim Tam will be forever ‘peppery’, and jolly nice to boot. I’m going to give them an eight out of ten.

Chocolate chip fudge cookie

November 11, 2011 at 11:11 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Along with the regular Chocolate Chip Cookie, Arnott’s also bake a ‘fudge’ variety. They are packed in the same sort of bag, and look superficially similar, albeit perhaps slightly darker.

Now I have to say I’m not really a great fan of fudge. It’s kind of like toffee that didn’t quite make it. And chocolate fudge is probably my least favourite. But I tried to put that aside as I sampled the these cookies.

Unfortunately, my prejudices were confirmed. These biscuits seem less chocolaty than the regular choc chip cookies; somewhat over-sweet and cloying.

They also seem to lack chocolate chips; the picture on the pack seems to promise big chunks of chocolate, but these were notable absent from the biscuits in my review pack.

So not really a great success; probably best to stick to the original version. I’m going to give these a five out of ten.

Tiny Teddy Variety Pack

October 12, 2011 at 21:53 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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We continue with the Tiny Teddy theme, this time to take a peek at the Tiny Teddy Variety Pack. This contains individual packets of Tiny Teddies suitable for snacking. Three different varieties are included; Honey (which we looked at previously), Chocolate and Choc Chip.

Each individual bag contains fourteen teddies; at 25g per bag there is a price for the first person to work out the average weight of a single teddy. All six  teddy designs are once again in attendance, although with only fourteen in a bag it is by no means certain that you will get one example of each in every bag. By my calculations, you have about an 8% chance of getting a bag which is missing at least one teddy type (assuming even distribution of teddies).

The basic Tiny Teddy formula is there in all the varieties; a crunchy biscuit that is quite chompable. The choc chip variety wodul better be named ‘choc flecks’, as they are quite the smallest chocolate chips I have ever seen. They give the teddies a kind of diseased appearance, as if they have leprosy. The chocolate chips are quite hard to detect, and the biscuits barely have a chocolate taste to them although they are quite pleasant.

The choc variety are, erm, choc coloured, and do taste much more chocolatey. Also quite pleasant.

The real problem here seems to be the portion size; fourteen tiny teddies is just not enough. I think these are aimed at kiddies lunch boxes though, so perhaps fourteen was the most they could put in and still get an ‘amber’ in the school lunch tick mark thingy.

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

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