Arnott’s Chicken Drumstick Shapes

July 13, 2016 at 16:04 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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shapes chicken drumstick boxAnother day, another savoury snack biscuit to try. These are Chicken Drumstick flavour, although they are unaccountably shaped like cola bottles.

Arnott’s make quite a variety of Shapes, in all sorts of, erm shapes. And flavours – although many of the flavours kind of blur into each other. Truly I think if they switch round the packaging not that many people would notice – ‘chicken’ flavour tastes much like ‘BBQ’ flavour tastes much like ‘pizza’ flavour and so on.

This makes for somewhat problematic reviewing. I mean, a strawberry Tim Tam is clearly quite a different beast to a mint one, so there’s plenty to say. But for these – well, it gets a bit harder. They are a savoury snack biscuit. They are too salty, taste rather artificial, and are very addictive. Oh, and they have flavour you can see. Whatever that means.

To be honest, I’d steer clear of the whole regular Shapes thing, and go with the ‘shapes chicken drumstick biscuitsExtreme‘ range (which actually aren’t ‘extreme’ at all, just more tasty).

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

 

Postscript
I
 wrote this post before I realised that Arnott’s had revamped their whole shapes line – to considerable controversy! Anyway, this review is now somewhat historical, as this is one of the flavours that was discontinued. I intend to come back to the Great Shapes Controversy very soon!

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Arnott’s Savoy

October 6, 2015 at 13:02 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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savoy box arnottsSavoy. When I hear that word, I immediately think of the posh hotel in London, probably because I used to live there. (London, that is, not the Savoy).

When Google hears the word Savoy, it thinks of a cultural region in France. I’m not exactly sure what a ‘cultural region’ is, but I sense there are not many of them in Sydney.

When those oh-so-uncultured Sydneysiders see a pack of Savoy, though, I sense they think ‘Jatz’. Because, you see, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the Jatz biscuit. Even the packet is identical, right down to the piece of cheese.

Actually, they are not quite identical. The Savoy pack has the biscuits every so slightly lighter in colour, like they have been over-exposed; perhaps printed at an inferior print-shop.

But what of the Savoy biscuit? It is the same as the Jatz?

Well, dear readers, I can reveal that they are not the same. Not quite. You see, it’s one of those regional things, a bit like the Ginger Nut. Savoys hail from Victoria, where they were baked by Brockhoff. Arnott’s merged with Brockhoff back in the 1960s, but kept the Savoy recipe and name. For this reason, you’ll find mostly Savoys in Victoria, and Jatz in NSW.

savoy biscuitI guess it’s now all in the past, but I do suspect some sort of 1960s shenanigans with all this. Which came first, the Savoy or the Jatz? Well, my extensive research indicates it was the Savoy. Which I think means Arnott’s must have blatantly tried to copy them when they created the Jatz. I mean, look, even the packet looks the same! Even Aldi wouldn’t be so bold. Perhaps they had to buy Brockhoff simply to close off any possible litigation by the former.

Anyway, enough of all that ancient history. What do they taste like? Well, rather like the Jatz, I suppose. They are a tiny bit crunchier, with a bit more ‘snap’, and yes, they are a bit paler in colour. So that pack artwork is quite correct.

They are also a bit saltier, and a bit less sweet. Indeed, checking the ingredients, we find more salt in the Savoy, and more sugar in the Jatz. Holding to the general rule that anything white and crystalline is probably going to kill you, albeit after you’ve enjoyed the experience it offers, both salt and sugar come with some caveats.

According to this learned Professor, salt is going to lead to heart attack and stroke, whilst according to this learned Doctor, sugar is going to lead to liver disease and diabetes. So I guess you could take your pick from those, and choose the Savoy or the Jatz accordingly. Or just take the ‘everything in moderation’ approach, and have some of each. That’s what I do, including doing the ‘moderation’ bit in strict moderation.

So if you usually eat Jatz, try some Savoys for a change. And if you’re a Savoy habitual, branch out with a Jatz. That way, we can all stay healthy, and also support the multitude of almost-the-same-but-different product lines that Arnott’s do so well.

I’m going to give them an eight out of ten, making it an honourable draw with the Jatz.

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.

Lunch Slices – Soy, Linseed & Sesame

September 18, 2013 at 19:56 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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lunchsliceslsboxA little while ago, I looked at the poppy, sunflower and rye version of these biscuits, and today I turn to the soy, linseed and sesame variety. Clearly Arnott’s are doing some sort of ‘trio of seeds’ thing with this range. I have to say, I wasn’t aware you could actually eat linseeds – I always thought they were designed for spreading on cricket bats, or something. Still, you learn something every day. I wonder if it is the linseeds that are the black bits in the biscuit, making it appear at first glance as if your biscuit is crawling with ants?

As far as they taste, well, you might as well just go and read my previous review, as these taste pretty much exactly the same. Frankly, I’m not sure the change in seeds is really doing very much.

lunchsliceslsbiscuitWhich really doesn’t give me much to write about, does it? I did spread them with avocado this time, which was really quite yummy, but hardly newsworthy.

Oh dear. I’ll just call it a day there, and give these a six out of ten as well. I fear, dear reader, that savoury biscuits do not offer such a rich literary vein as their sweet cousins…

Salada Wholemeal

August 24, 2013 at 14:23 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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saladapackAnother day, another cheesy biscuit review – this time the Salada Wholemeal. I think Mrs Chillikebab bought them for me because she thought they might be healthier than Cheds, a biscuit that I eat far too many of. The pack for some reason has a slightly budget look about it – all a bit gaudy. Perhaps they are cheap; I have no idea as Mrs Chillikebab attends to important matters such as biscuit buying – and no, dear readers, not out of some gender stereotyped oppression on my part, but because she knows that if I did the biscuit shopping we’d end up with a cupboard full of Mint Slices, Sultana Chocs and Cheds, but no milk for the kids and no chocolate for her.

Each Salada is large, at a full 95mm across. However, if the thought of such a gargantuan biscuit troubles you, fear not as it is helpfully perforated allowing you to break it into four pieces. You can see the wholemeal flecks embedded in the biscuit, and they have quite e high bake, so are nice and crunchy.saladabicuit

They are actually quite tasty – plain, but quite acceptable to eat on their own, as they don’t have the mouth-drying qualities of say a Sao. That high bake also means they retain their crunch even in the presence of a tomato slice or some cucumber – which perhaps is why they are called ‘Salada’, The wholemeal pieces also add some nice texture, even if they do get stuck in your teeth.

But are they healthy? Well, one other thing you will note if you try them is that they are quite salty. Now, I’ve nothing against salty snacks, but these are somewhat saltier than you might expect. They have more sodium in them, for example, that the aforementioned Cheds – even though those taste superficially saltier. This saltiness means they go better with a buttery, mellow type of cheese (think Gouda or double brie) than with with say a Danish Blue or a tangy mature cheddar.

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

Cheds

October 6, 2012 at 12:52 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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This is something of a departure, but I hope you will indulge me. As I mentioned, I’m fast running our of sweet Arnott’s biscuits to review – but I am also aware that without them my blog is descending into just another ranty cyclists diatribe. So I have therefore decide to spread the biscuit net a little wider, to cover those savoury biscuits Arnott’s bake to have with cheese. Of course, there is some overlap between the two; there’s nothing better than some sharp cheddar on a Granita, for example, and I’ve previously suggested the Shredded Wheatmeal might be better with cheese. But for this review I’ve gone right off-piste with a look at the Ched.

Cheds are ‘crisp crackers with a baked on cheddar cheese flavour’. They come in a handsome box, with the crackers packed in cellophane inside. The box is presumably to protect the somewhat fragile crackers – although it fails to do a perfect job as invariably many of them are broken when you come to eat them.

The biscuits themselves can be divided into two thanks to perforations down the centre, and they are generously sprinkled with the cheddar cheese flavour. This combination of crisp (but often damaged) cracker, serrations and cheese sprinkles inevitably means that a lot of crumbs are generated when you eat them.

So what do they taste like? Well, they are definitely cheesy. They are also quite salty, which means they go very well with a soft, mild cheese, such as brie or cream cheese.

But they are also good on their own, and this is the real selling point of Cheds. Unlike many biscuits for cheese, you can quite happily sit down with a pack of Cheds and just nosh through them as they are. The cheesy flavour is very satisfying, the saltiness makes them very moreish and they are not the type of crackers that dry out our mouth – they are very easy to eat. I think they are yummy, and eat far too many of them. As such I’m going to give them an eight out of ten.

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Shredded Wheatmeal

November 6, 2010 at 14:06 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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There is a certain type of biscuit that is aimed at the health conscious market. And that market, I would contend, further splits into two. One group is interested in  things with fruit that are very expensive because they only use carbon-offset fair trade organic raw palm sugar, and the other group is interested in something that will keep their bowels regular. This Shredded Wheatmeal seems to be aimed squarely at the latter type of consumer.

The Shredded Wheatmeal, as the name suggests, is made with whole wheat that has been, erm, shredded. The biscuits contain a lot of this shredded material and, without wanting to be rude, they do look a bit like the things my mother-in-law gives her budgie to peck at.

Although these are packaged up as a sweet biscuit in Arnott’s ‘No Artificial’ range (which, incidentally, has been recently renamed from ‘Wholesome Goodness’)  they are not very sweet at all. They do need a lot of chewing, however, as the shreds take some masticating and can quite dry the mouth. Indeed, these biscuits are determinedly worthy, as befits the redemption offer whereby you can send in the bar codes from ten empty packs in exchange for a hair shirt.

They are not all bad, though. They do have a pleasant enough home-cooked flavour, and the partner really rather well with a mature cheese and some quince jelly. Indeed, I can’t help thinking these were really designed as a biscuit for cheese, rather than as a sweet snack.

Hard to give them a score. If you were given one with your cup of tea, well, you’d be disappointed. Only a three out of ten. But with a nice sharp cheddar and some celery – well, perhaps a seven or eight. But that’s not really what this is all about, so I think the three out of ten has to stand.

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