Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, coconut, lychee, tim tam
So we come to another of the Messina flavours. ‘Inspired by ice cream’, or something. And once again, there’s just a whiff of recycled about this flavour…
The new twist is of course the lychee. On sampling, opinion was divided as to whether it was possible to detect any lychee at all. Most people opined that there was no lychee flavour at all, but a few souls claimed to be able to taste it strongly. Your mileage may vary.
Other than that, they are enrobed in that rather unfortunate ‘white‘ coating. The coconut is probably the best bit, but this is not a classic. Poor Messina. A bunch of recycled flavours that are, so far, failing to hit the mark. Perhaps things will improve with the other varieties. I’m going to give these a 5 out of 10.
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, chocolate, coconut, tim tam, zumbo
Coconut 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…?!)
Well, 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.
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, chocolate, coconut, kingston, sandwich, symphony
I often wonder where the names for the various Arnott’s varieties come from. Did the inventors of the Kingston think that the combination of coconut and chocolate would make people think of Jamaica? Or did the development team hail from Kingston, Melbourne?
Either way, the Kingston is a tasty biscuit, consisting of a pair of crunchy, oaty biscuits flavoured with coconut, and sandwiched together with chocolate. This is one of the few oat-based biscuits in Arnott’s range, and I do feel there is room in the Australian biscuit market for more oaty biscuits, perhaps along the lines of the successful ‘Hob nob‘ from the UK.
They have a slightly rustic appearance, with the two biscuits sometimes looking rather haphazardly sandwiched together, but this only adds to the charm, I think. They are very tasty too, and also dunk surprisingly well. If I had just one minor criticism it would be that the coconut is a little too pronounced; indeed peerless though most Arnott’s lines are I would venture that, just perhaps, their recipe development team is a little heavy-handed with the coconut in general.
Still, that’s a minor niggle in what is a very nice biscuit. I’d give this an eight out of ten.
Tags: Arnott's, biscuit, coconut, iced, iced vovo, Kevin Rudd, raspberry, vovo
It was introduced in 1906; whether there ever was a non-iced version (called, one would imagine, the ‘VoVo’, is unclear. It still crops up in unexpected places; for example Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd mentioned them in his 2007 election victory speech. There is also a large pointillist picture of an Iced VoVo on the wall of Mrs Chillikebab’s gynaecologist; this took on an even more peculiar aspect when I read a story of someone who refused to eat them as ‘they look like female genitalia’.
So what is this at once most staid yet racy biscuit? It consists of a relatively soft biscuit base that is topped with fairly thick fondant icing, with a strip of raspberry jam down the middle. It is then liberally dusted with dessicated coconut. The raspberry jam does actually contain raspberries, too. The back of the biscuit is decorated with a swirly design with ‘ARNOTT-‘ in the middle written in a circle; the position of the hyphen makes it look (to me at least) like ‘ARNOTTI’, which confused me for a while.
There are 12 of them in a packet, arranged in a tray with four little stacks of three biscuits each. This means there are actually not many in a pack; indeed the whole pack only weighs 210g. Also, unlike most other Arnott’s varieties, the pack contains no strapline. No pithy description of the biscuit is offered; presumably because everyone knows what an Iced VoVo is.
However, it seems that actually very few people know what an iced VoVo is, because Iced VoVos seem to induce amnesia. For some reason, no-one can remember what they are like, and every time they have one they are surprised anew that they do not have a marshmallow topping. I must say, I don’t quite know why this is; they are after all called ‘Iced VoVos’, not ‘Mallow VoVos’, so the clue is there in the name – it’s icing, folks. Yet when you offer one to people, you usually get this reaction:
‘Oooh! An Iced VoVo! I haven’t had one of these for ages!’. [bites into it] ‘Oh no! That’s not right. They’ve changed it; the topping is all hard – it should be soft’.
I even got that reaction from an ex-Arnott’s employee, so it’s very prevalent. Perhaps this is why Arnott’s don’t put a strapline on the pack; the line ‘not a marshmallow biscuit’, whilst helpful information for most people (it would seem), would perhaps be a bit strange, and might even cost then sales.
To me, they are a rather fussy biscuit. There’s just too much going on there; the coconut, jam and icing all fight for supremacy on the palate, whilst the rather soft base lacks any backbone to give texture. Still, they are an Australian classic, so I should be careful about criticising them whilst my application for Australian citizenship is still pending. I believe people have been deported for less.