BigTedz 100s &1000s

September 3, 2013 at 21:05 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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bigtedzpackI became aware a little while ago of a new biscuit appearing in the supermarket aisles – although with my new enthusiasm for cheesy biscuits I wasn’t especially quick off the mark to sample some and share my thoughts with you, my dear readers.

However, on a more recent supermarket trip, they again caught my eye – as they were marked with a prominent ‘REDUCED TO CLEAR’ tag. And of the two varieties placarded on the shelf only a few packets of the ‘100s & 1000s’ remained – all of the plain half-chocolate coated ones were gone. Is this just a stocking issue at my local store? Or is this a short-lived biscuit, already on the way out after failing to take the snack biscuit genre by storm? Either way, I thought I should secure one of the remaining packs to try them out.

Arnott’s have been desperate to get into the ‘snack’ genre for a long time. It’s something they keep trying to do – think mini chocolate chip cookies, fun sticks, and of course tiny teddies. So just how desperate is this attempt to crack the magic ‘kids lunch box’ market?

Well, I hope I’m not spoiling the surprise by answering ‘pretty desperate’. This really is a terrible biscuit. It has no style, no finesse, and no quirky styling nor unusual angle to redeem itself. But before we get to that, lets take a look at it.

bigtedzwrapperIn the ‘snack pack’, you get nine individually wrapped BigTedz (and can I just say the uncalled-for ‘z’ on the end and the lack of a space in the name really doesn’t win if any marks with me either). They feature an oh-so-cool teddy character who’s favourite things are his skateboard and his hoodie (so the pack informs us). Oh dear. When you unwrap them you are presented with a fairly large, quite thick biscuit with an utterly charmless teddy bear countenance. The hundreds and thousands give it a rather mottled appearance, and the back of the biscuit is coated in milk chocolate. You will be relieved to hear this is real milk chocolate, not ‘choc’ coating.

bigtexzbiscuitWhen you come to eat it, is it much harder that you expect. I suspect this is a design decision taken to prevent the biscuit disintegrating into crumbs in a boisterous child’s lunchbox, but as biscuit textures go it’s quite unappealing – not really crunchy, certainly not hard like the Ginger Nut, more just kind of dried out and stale. Despite the apparent high bake, however, it has a rather strange undercooked, doughy taste. Perhaps the use of tapioca and ‘vegetable fibre’ in the ingredients contributes to this. The 100s and 1000s do very little except add a little sugary crunch, and the whole thing gets terribly stuck in your teeth. The milk chocolate is fine, but doesn’t add anything very much – this is certainly not a biscuit that is greater than the sum of its parts (unlike the transcendent Wagon Wheel, for example).

I suspect there’s a very good reason why this biscuit is fast disappearing from supermarket shelves. I’m not quite sure what came over Arnott’s biscuit development team when they came up with this – perhaps they were under pressure from some hot-shot marketing type who insisted that they had to have another crack at the snack market with yet another teddy variant. But I can’t help feeling they are probably all a bit embarrassed about this one, and hope it will slide into obscurity and be forgotten. Sorry folks, this one gets a one our of ten – and the ignominy of being awarded the lowest ever score for a biscuit on this blog.

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I’ll have a Kevin Rudd with that

February 26, 2012 at 13:45 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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On reflection, it sounds like a slightly dodgy euphemism.

‘Ohh, give me a Kevin Rudd. Nice and strong!’

Yet this is the cry to be heard at the moment around Chez Chillikebab. The reason, of course, has nothing to do with the Prime Ministerial shenanigans, but everything to do with the latest blend of tea launched by Twinings – Australian Afternoon Tea. We rather like it – rich and robust, and a perfect match with a biscuit in the afternoon. Apparently this is the blend of tea created by non other than Kevin himself – I picture him in a white coat, owlishly measuring out tea leaves whilst kettles steam around him, working to create the perfect Australian tea.

I quite liked Kevin back in 07 when he was campaigning, but I have to say I did have my doubts when he declared that his biscuit of choice was the Iced Vovo. This really isn’t a great biscuit – rather prissy and fussy, and lacking in substance. Some would say this is also an apt description of the former (and perhaps soon-to-be again) Prime Minister.

As far as I know, Julia Gillard hasn’t declared what her favourite biscuit is. However, I imagine something more workmanlike. I’m tempted to suggest the Ginger Nut, as I think it’s hard, unyielding and slightly spicy aspects might be appropriate, but I’m worried about being accused of simply making a cheap ginger gag. So perhaps the Orange Slice is a better suggestion – actually much better than its reputation would suggest, but forever struggling in the popularity stakes.

I think I’d better leave the murky waters of political satire before I get in above my head. However, I do recommend a cup of Kevin Rudd to everyone, whatever your political persuasion.

Cargo bikes and vintage tea-cups…

October 20, 2010 at 20:49 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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On Monday I needed to drop off a six-piece vintage tea service somewhere on the way to work. So I boxed it up carefully and strapped it onto the back of the Radish, and off I went.

It was a lovely morning, and I was cruising along. It’s all become much more pleasurable since I fixed the gears. You may remember I have been having lots of problems with them. Well, I discovered the cause. The gears are fine; however the quick release on the rear wheel has a tendency to come open. It’s hard to spot, as it’s obscured by the panniers. This means the rear wheel wobbles about, throwing out the gear alignment. (And yes, ahem, that does mean I’ve been riding around on this bike for months with the rear wheel basically about to fall off. Luckily the back is so heavy it never lifts off the ground, otherwise things could have got interesting!)

Anyway, I’ve tightened the thing tighter than a tight thing and all is now well. As I went up Anzac Bridge I passed several other commuters, decked out in cycling clothes on smart bikes, and it just made me smile so much. Not because I was faster (life is not a race), nor because I was wearing jeans (I wear cycling stuff often enough). No, it was the fact that I had a vintage tea service on the back of my bike. Somehow that just tickled me as I cruised past various people struggling up the hill.

The other thing I tried is riding down the ramp at the northern end of the SHB. Not the whole thing; just the last ramp. I’d thought about it a few times, and reckoned that the radish was the bike I was least likely to do an endo on. It’s also the one with the most weight and rubber on the road, so would perhaps be most in control and easiest to slow down. There was no-one else around, so I tried it. Whoa. Very wierd; that ramp feels much steeper when you’re riding down it on a stretch beach cruiser. Definitely not a good feeling; goodness knows how the guys who scream down the whole thing manage it. I shan’t be doing that again…

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