Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, chocolate, gelato, Gelato messina, mint, tim tam
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.
Well, 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…
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, chocolate, ice cream, mango, manly, tim tam
After our executive lunch in a beachfront cafe (where they forgot to bring half the things we ordered), we had ice-cream from a concession in the ferry terminal. Oh yes, I lead the glamorous life of a business executive. The last of us to make their selection was our Operations man, an affable German still fairly new to Australia. After examining the flavours on offer, he plumped for a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of mango.
How we scoffed. ‘Amateur!’, we told him, having chosen two flavours that clearly had no chance of making a harmonious dual-scoop marriage. And, indeed, with some chagrin, he had to admit that it didn’t really work as a blend. ‘But vee do not have all ziss selection of ice-cream in der Deutschland,’ he plaintively cried. We nodded knowingly. No Australian would ever make such a flavour faux-pas.
Well, as it happens, not a week after that inglorious management exercise in Manly, Arnott’s have done exactly that, and released a mango Tim Tam. (They seem to be in a bit of a tropical theme at the moment, having also recently done Pina Colada and Pineapple. The rumour is that this is due to the Tim Tam team being relocated to Queensland.)
I bought some, and took them to work for people to sample, and the results were not spectacular. The mango cream is sort of OK, in an over-sweet mango flavour kind of way. But it just fights with the chocolate on the palate, and the whole thing is a sickly mess.
Sorry Arnott’s, a mango chocolate biscuit just isn’t going to work. Even a German could tell you that.
I’m going to give these a two out of ten.
Tags: apple, Arnott's, chocolate, red, tim tam, toffee apple, woolies
Another day, another Tim Tam flavour. I feel a little sad about all this, actually. A new Tim Tam flavour used to be a major event. Something pretty seismic. Certainly worthy of significant excitement.
But now, well, some of that is gone. Flavours come and go, and unless you are quick you might not even realise it before it disappears again, only to be replaced by yet another. What used to be something sweated over; the evolution of a cultural icon, now seems to be a mere pawn in the commercial objectives to keep major supermarkets onside. Exhibit a) – these are only available in Woolies.
Sorry, didn’t mean to get maudlin there. Let’s get into this.
For me, toffee apples are associated with Halloween. Generally they consist of cheap hard caramel over an even cheaper apple, jammed on a stick. I haven’t had one for years, but I think the generally accepted way to eat them is to chew off the toffee bit whilst aiming for minimal apple consumption, and then throw the apple away.
So how does this new Tim Tam measure up? Well, the inside is a rather startling red colour, I suppose to evoke the look of a red apple. They do have an applely (appley? Applee?) aroma. To taste they sort of do taste like cheap apple with cheap caramel, so I suppose they do evoke those childhood Halloween memories.
I’m doing them a bit of a disservice. They are actually not too bad. A bit over sweet, perhaps, and without a great deal of depth, Definitely not a classic. But far from offensive. I’m going to give them a five out of ten.
Tags: addictive, Arnott's, chocolate, mint slice, salt, salted choc slice, twisted
The Mint Slice is an Australian icon. Yes, perhaps slightly overshadowed by it’s better known Tim Tam brother, but to my mind actually a superior biscuit.
Arnott’s have taken this classic, and ‘twisted’ it, with an oh-so-trendy salted version, replacing the peppermint cream with what appears to be Tim Tam filling, enhanced with the addition of salt.
Salt seems to be the magic ingredient being added to all manner of confectionery and cakes at the moment. I suppose that making things even more unhealthy usually enhances the appeal. These biscuits rate a whole ‘0.5 out of 5’ stars on the Health Star Rating, so you know there’re going to be good.
And they are good. Smooth chocolaty cream, with just a hint of the salt at the end, on that rich biscuit base enrobed with thick dark chocolate. Oh yes, these are at least as addictive as the original. Eating a whole pack of these is waaaay to easy.
I’m giving them a nine and a half out of ten. Top stuff, Arnott’s.
Tags: Arnott's, chocolate, pineapple, tim tam
I imagine the overlords in the marketing department standing over the poor cream filings development team, whipping them mercilessly and crying ‘more new flavours, and make them tasty!’, whilst the poor, downtrodden fillings team frantically concoct new flavours whilst dodging the flailing lashes. And having previously created the Pina Colada flavour, it seems they grabbed the pineapple part of this recipe, left out the coconut and then held it up in trembling hands to their masters, whimpering, ‘try this new Pineapple flavour, oh great ones’, in the hope it would appease them and earn a brief respite from the relentless pain.
Oh yes, it’s no fun being an Arnott’s cream filling developer.
So I eat these in solidarity with those poor folks, but at the same time feel a bit cheated that it’s essentially the same as the Pina Colada without the coconut. Whilst I think is actually less good, as the coconut adds richness. And to be honest I’m still not sold on this whole pineapple / chocolate combo thing.
Sorry, this one only gets a two and a half out of ten. But please, Arnott’s, don’t take it out on your poor filings team.
Tags: Arnott's, chocolate, chocolicious, mudslide, tim tam
Finally, I get around to writing this one up. The last in the quartet of new Tim Tam flavours, based on ‘virgin’ cocktails. Not an actual Tim Tam, but a variety of the rather good ‘Chocolicious‘ line.
When I first reviewed the Chocolicious line, I noted that when you open the packet you get a strong smell of spirits – so I suppose it’s only natural to make use of that in a version inspired by a vodka cocktail.
These are good, ladies and gentlemen. Not quite as good as the dark chocolate ones, but pretty close. They are very grown-up and moreish, with a hint of coffee in in the truffle and a rich chocolate flavour. I liked them, and ate most of the packet in one go.
I’m going to give them an eight out of ten. Definitely the best of the ‘mocktail’ bunch.
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, champagne, chocolate, strawberry, tim tam
After bristling indignantly at such impertinent criticism for a while, I realised that, indeed, I had. In fact, I had missed out two! So here we are, ladies and gentlemen, and for you reading pleasure, I present the Tim Tam Strawberry Champagne. (The final version – the Tim Tam Chocolicious Bites Velvet Mudslide – I’ll come to next week.)
It’s always very exciting to have a new Tim Tam to try. I broke the first one in half for my oh-so-arty photography (move over, Instagram!), and was instantly reminded of something. The smell was very evocative…
I tried it, and once again, it all just seemed so familiar. Déjà vu. Or Déjà mangé, perhaps. But why? What was it that I had eaten before that seemed such a perfect facsimile?
Then it came to me. Of course! The Tim Tam Luscious Strawberry. Arnott’s previous attempt at a Strawberry Tim Tam was not exceptional, it has to be said. So is this latest version any better? Indeed, is it any different?
Well, to be honest, it’s hardly different. The filling is a bit less lurid pink. The flavour is dialled down a bit – from eleven to, say, nine. But it’s pretty much the same biscuit as last time. There’s certainly no champagne that I can detect. It still has that slightly artificial aftertaste. It’s still a bit sickly. And it is, as before, better than your average strawberry biscuit – but still not that great.
I can’t help feeling that this new range is a bit recycled, what with the Espresso Martini / Three Bean thing. I’m tempted to up my score for the Pina Colada flavour, just as a bonus for originality. I hope the the Velvet Mudslide will be more groundbreaking too.
For now, I’m giving these a four out of ten – just like their predecessors. They are quite chompable, but nothing special. Happy Easter, everyone!
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, chocolate, coconut, pina colada, puerto rico, tim tam
So with great excitement we move on to the next in the new range of virgin Tim Tams – the Pina Colada. The piña colada is, of course, the national drink of Puerto Rico. I’m not sure that the national drink of Australia is. Wikipedia suggests beer or Bundy, but neither of these seem especially iconic. One thing we can all agree on, of course, is the national biscuit. Yes, the Teddy Bear. Just kidding…
So how does this blend of iconic Australian biscuitry and Caribbean mixology work? Well, I have to say, not that well. That’s not to say there isn’t quite a lot of pineapple and coconut going on. There’s actually a lot of both. The problem is that there isn’t any rum going on. And without it, a piña colada is just an over-sweetened, rather cloying fruit juice (as apposed to an over-sweetened, rather cloying cocktail).
So lots of pineapple (which somehow doesn’t really go with chocolate very well, in my humble opinion) and coconut make for a rather sweet, nothingy Tim Tam. The most interesting thing is the bright yellow hue of the filling.
Sorry Arnott’s, this one’s not a keeper. Three out of ten.
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, children, chocolate, cocktail, coffee, espresso, martini, tim tam
Well, those folks at Arnott’s keep churning out these new Tim Tams. The new strategy seems to be to launch a new flavour every day, have it in the market for perhaps a week or so, and then replace it with something new. It certainly makes for exciting shopping, if rather exhausting blogging.
The two new flavours are inspired by cocktails. Arnott’s have got into hot water with this approach before. In 2004 they launched Tia Maria flavoured Tim Tams, which apparently contained a tiny amount of alcohol. This was condemned by the Australian Drug Foundation – ‘won’t somebody think of the children!’, although the controversy I’m sure was great for sales. This time they are playing safe, with a clear ‘virgin’ appended before the name. That said, when I see ‘Virgin’ I think of slightly seedy bearded entrepreneurs, not alcohol-free cocktails.
So how are they? When, in many ways they are quite similar to the ‘Three Bean‘ flavour that was available a little while ago (but seems now to be discontinued). They have an attractive coffee flavour, with a slightly grown up taste, which perhaps is the virgin Martini. Stirred but not shaken, perhaps. Not a classic, but not bad at all. If you liked the Three Bean flavour, you will like these about as much. If you hated Three Bean, you’ll hate these about as much.
Not much more to say really. I’ll give them a seven out of ten. Next week, we’ll look at the other new cocktail flavour – Pina Colada, so stay tuned.
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, chocolate, raspberry, tim tam, zumbo
Well, 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.
The 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.