Tim Tam Strawberry Champagne

March 24, 2016 at 21:21 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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tim tam strawberry champagne packOne of my correspondents recently pointed out to me that, in writing of the latest Tim Tam range, I had mistakenly missed out one of the new flavours.

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?

tim tam strawberry champagne biscuitThen 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!

Arnott’s Shortbread Cream – Strawberries and Cream

April 24, 2015 at 16:40 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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strawberriescreampackWell, those folks at Arnott’s have been busy, with the innovation department churning out yet another new range – called ‘Twisted Favourites’. There seems to be three in the range so far – a salted caramel version of the Monte Carlo, a choc orange version of the Delta Cream, and these, based on the Shortbread Cream.

I must say, I quite like the packaging. It’s nice to see the Arnott’s parrot in all it’s glory – this decidedly retro and un-digital-friendly logo should be used more, IMHO.

When you open the pack you are immediately assailed by a phenomenally strong smell of strawberry flavour. Not, unfortunately, strawberries, but that immediately recognisable artificial flavour that you get in cheap lollies. Except here it’s dialed up to eleven. It instantly fills the whole room; everyone who came within ten metres of my review packet commented on it.

strawberriescreambiscuitAnd then, when you bite into it, that flavour is dialled up yet again. Wow. That’s a lot of strawberry flavour in there. Now, if you absolutely love strawberry flavoured lollies, you are going to love these. Unfortunately, I do not. It’s too overwhelming, it obliterates the buttery goodness of the biscuit, is too sweet and has that slightly ‘dirty’ taste that seems to be ever present with cheap strawberry flavour.

Hmmm. Sorry Arnott’s, but this one’s another dud. I know. I hate to do it to you again. But for whatever reason, lately you’ve just seemed to have lost you mojo. Fingers crossed the others in the range are better – I’ll be getting to them in due course…

But for now this gets just two out of ten.

Tim Tam Luscious Strawberry

January 29, 2014 at 18:29 | Posted in biscuits | 1 Comment
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timtamstrawberrypackHold the front page! Stop the presses! There’s a new Tim Tam in town.

Actually, dear reader, I have to admit to noticing these prior to Christmas. I suspect they are a seasonal line. My sincere apologies that it has taken so long for this news to get to my blog. I hope they are still available, in case you want to try them. Or perhaps, after reading the below, you may not…

At the risk of introducing some bias and prejudice before we even start, I have to confess a strong suspicion about strawberry-flavoured sweetmeats. Whilst I love a fresh strawberry as much as the next person (although possibly not as much as my two year old daughter, who can consume them by the punnet-load before them hurtling around and around the house in a hyperactive frenzy), anything ‘strawberry flavour’ is inevitably a disappointment. (With the possible exception of strawberry jam, which can be quite good with thick cream on scones ).

However, I tried to put this thought out of my head an approach these with an open mind. To help counter my bias, I also invited a colleague to sample them with me, and to share his views.

timtamstrawberrybiscuitThey are constructed like any regular Tim Tam, with a regulation-issue milk chocolate coat and the standard chocolate biscuit. The creme filling, however, is lurid pink – quite startlingly so. As you bring one to your lips, the first thing you note is the strong strawberry aroma. This is actually very promising; it has good strawberry-ish tones and certainly seems a step up from the average.

When you first bite into the biscuit, you get quite an overwhelming strawberry taste – the chocolate hardly gets a look in. And it’s not too bad – eyebrows were raised at this point, and my colleague was heard to remark ‘Hmm- actually quite good!’. However, as you continue chewing it starts to pall; it all gets a bit sickly and overdone. When you swallow, you’re left with a strong aftertaste – and one that, unfortunately, has  a distinct artificial tang, like a cheap ‘strawberry’ lolly.

Notwithstanding the sickly filling (which I guess might be to some people’s taste, rather like the Turkish Delight Tim Tam), this aftertaste is really the only fault. On balance, them, Arnott’s have done pretty well as far as strawberry flavour goes, but being better than a weak competition does not make for a great biscuit. I’m going to give this four out of ten.

Milk Chocolate Royal

September 7, 2010 at 08:24 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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Some time ago we looked at the dark chocolate Royal, a biscuit I spoke highly of, and gave a nine out of ten. I did in that article counsel against the milk chocolate ones, but a friend bought me a packet anyway, so I thought I’d take a look at them.

I have to say, I was deeply shocked, and to explain why I have to admit to something. When I wrote my dark chocolate Royal review, I had never had a milk chocolate one. You could therefore quire legitimately call me to task for recommending the dark ones over the milk-  how could I make such a recommendation, you might ask, if I had never actually tasted both varieties?  It’s a good question; however one that is ultimately moot as the dark ones are much better –  much much better in fact, as we shall see.

Back to the matter at hand; why was I so shocked? Well, I had naively imagined that the milk chocolate version differed from the plain chocolate version in chocolate coating alone. How wrong I was! The milk chocolate version is a completely different beast. It has a thin layer of raspberry (or possibly strawberry, or perhaps just ‘red’) jam  between the biscuit base and the mallow, and the mallow itself is pink. The pack itself gives little indication that this is the case; the artwork does depict this, but this is easy to miss, and indeed the pinkness of the mallow is much more pronounced in real life than on the pack. But there is nothing in the description on the pack that mentions the addition of jam.

So what does this do to the taste of the milk chocolate Royal? Well, it exacerbates the sweetness of the whole thing. This is further enhanced by the milk chocolate begin sweeter (the cause of my initial reservations) and just makes the whole thing too sweet, and somewhat over-engineered.

So in summary, I stand by my original conclusion. Go for the dark chocolate Royal, and avoid these. They are way too sweet to enjoy properly; after just one or too you have overloaded on sweetness and can start feeling bilious. And what use is a biscuit that you can only eat one or two of in one sitting? These merit only a three out of ten.

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