Ahh… Australia. If ever there was an alliance, then this is what it looks like! A girl shouldn’t have favourites when it comes to these snack-tastings, and yet, it would be very hard for me to hide my affections. Australia has a special little place in my heart. From distant relatives and past amours, right down to daytime TV and my favourite riverside cider. I’ve been invited to visit but, as somebody who hasn’t even stepped on a plane before, it’d be a rather long flight for starting out. Not only, but bluebottle flies and hawk moths are my biggest grievance in UK life, never mind poisonous bugs and snakes!
In my spare time, one of my guilty confessions is my love for some Australian reality TV. Ha! You thought this was about My Kitchen Rules and Married At First Sight? Oooh no, we’re talking about Nothing To Declare and Highway Patrol here, lovelies. I find it so fascinating how Australia can be so relaxed, and yet so tough at the same time. It seems like everyone is your best friend, right up until they’re not! Other Australian favourites have to include actors Michael Caine, Geoffrey Rush (so much love!) and Margot Robbie… I also wasn’t going to be let off of the hook without mentioning Marvel’s Wolverine, Hugh Jackman. On top of that, Savage Garden and Tame Impala regularly fill our home… do we really need to go on?!
One of the things that I loved about this box was the little facts inside the pamphlet that comes with it, which includes another page, explaining what all of the snacks are. In this month’s box, one of the mentions was to the Australian Drop Bear, which has been famed for dropping from trees and attacking unsuspecting tourists. It all sounds very scary of course, until you read that no such bear exists, and it’s the Australian way of having a joke with you. Incidentally, I think it’s humour like this that saw me drawn to an Australian man who, might I add, was equally drawn to my sense of humour and wordsmithery!
Before we get into today’s snacks and as one last little thing, let me just share with you an incredibly funny story featuring my favourite dessert bar, the Australian crunch. Back when I was at school, Australian crunch bars were served with hot mint custard, and I used to ask for it any time it was on the menu. On this occasion though, I sat at the table with my Australian crunch and I wielded my spoon, ready to tuck in. Now, if you’ve ever had Australian crunch before, you’ll know that it’s quite hard. If you eat it with custard, then it sort of checks out that you’ll probably need to eat it with a spoon. No problem! I got this, right? Right?!
Far from cutting off a piece of crunch ‘n’ custard, I bore down a little on my spoon to break the bar, slipped and created what can only be described as a tidal wave of warm, mint green custard which stretched the length of three seats, tripping over the rim on the edge of the table and landing all down the front of my deputy headteacher, right as he was speaking to my personal assistant. Fortunately he, she and a bunch of my classmates saw the funny side, but he never sat with us at dinner time again!
Alright, and now, let’s get onto today’s snack tasting!
Kirk’s Creaming Soda
As a starting point, this is so interesting! Normally in the UK, ‘creaming soda’ is called cream soda, and it’s also normally colourless and clear. Imagine my surprise then, when this pink-red soda poured out!
Winner or Binner? I have to hand it to Kirk’s, this creaming soda is not nearly as sweet as its UK counterparts, and it’s even quite refreshing. I’m not normally a soda drinker, but I couldn’t put this one down. It’s good, it’s light, and it’s very easy to drink. A Winner.
Okay, so another similarity here? We both have a ‘French Fries’, but are they the same thing? I’m not sold. I was sure that the UK equivalent was in a bigger bag, and it turns out that I was right, with a twist. In the UK, these guys are quite simply called “potato sticks”, and French Fries are something else entirely!
Winner or Binner? I’ve never personally been a fan of potato sticks (or French Fries, so that we don’t disrupt the alliance 😉 ). I love the crispy potato taste, but these things are usually oh so heavy on salt and that completely kills it for me. Matt’s a fan, though!
Winner or Binner? Total 180! This time, it was me who thought these were pretty good, but Matt wasn’t digging them at all. The chicken flavour is quite strong and kind of reminds me of poultry gravy granules, but you know, it’s sort of what you’re expecting, and it’s still a good chicken gravy, not a weak, watery one. If you like the taste of chicken gravy, you’ll like these.
Winner or Binner? The tomato paste is immediate, and so is the oregano, but after that? It’s just a kind of dry, cracker snack. There’s no meat or cheese coming through, and there has been meat and cheese flavours going on from other snacks. Sorry, Australia, it’s a Binner.
Now, Matt has kind of jumped the gun and bought TimTams before, so in a way, we have quietly tried these already. However, for the sakes of this box, it won’t hurt us to review them again.
Winner or Binner? In a battle between Arnott’s TimTams and McVitie’s Penguins, there can only ever be one winner. Which one has the jokes? Even if they’re insidiously corny, you missed your opportunity there, guys 😉 We also think TimTams are almost painfully sweet up to Penguin. It’s a Binner.
Winner or Binner? I’m really not a lover of white chocolate, so it’s a Binner for me. However, Matt digs it and its sweet, creamy taste. One for white chocolate enthusiasts, for sure.
I have long wanted to get my hands on one of these, and finally, finally, the day has come. My Australian ex-partner, T, used to taunt me about these because of my love for “red Bounty” and so I’ve longed to finally have an answer. Will I dig Cherry Ripe, or won’t I? Only time will tell.
Winner or Binner? 100% Winner. It only took a tiny piece of real cherry, and I was sold! Why we don’t have these in the UK is beyond me. If I’d be willing to consider most things for a red-wrapper Bounty, then I could probably be well and truly ensnared at the promise of a lifetime supply of these guys. There’s coconut, there’s dark chocolate and there’s cherry. What’s not to like?! Matt doesn’t even like Bounty, but we both loved this! A Winner.
Zappo Sour Chews
Winner or Binner? Maybe I was expecting too much from these. Maybe I was expecting a lot of things, and they never came. In expecting more, and because of that, I sort of didn’t live for the present. As a British person, you keep expecting blackcurrant flavours, and blackcurrant never came. I also expected these chews to be sour, and again, sour never really happened. They’re juicy, slightly artificial and a little bit creamy, but other than that, they don’t deliver any surprises at all. Still, even in despite of that, we’d happily have these again. A Winner.
Retro Party Mix
Winner or Binner? “If you try the teeth, they taste like Orbit chewing gum?”. I looked at Matt like he’d grown an extra limb, then helped myself to an extra set of gnashers. You know what? He’s not wrong – the sets of teeth in this gummy mix really do taste of mint! I feel like I’ve been had by another twisted Australian prank, but you know what? Whatever, I’m all for it. I wanted to source more of this mix, and I can, but I’m trying to justify the air miles. I mean… people my age justify their air miles for smashed avo on toast, right? It’s a Winner.
Winner or Binner? Okay, there’s a lot to like, and a bit to criticise here, too. I like caramels coated in chocolate, and that was an all-round Winner. We also liked the fun trivia question, which is kind of fun and quirky. However, all of those Fantales wrappers won’t be good for the planet, and I know that Australia really cares about the Great Barrier Reef. We like Fantales, but maybe a packaging rethink would be a good idea? As it is, the thought of all those wrappers bother us, and so it would have to be a Binner. Maybe a paper bag with some trvia questions printed on it could be better instead? We still love you, Aussies!
What surprised us most was… That has to go to the minty teeth! That’s just such a clever and fun idea and we’re totally on board with that. Also, most interestingly, more Australian products appear to be coated in dark chocolate, versus the UK, which uses mostly milk chocolate. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t curious as to the reasoning of our Oceanic allies!
Alright lovelies, we hope you enjoyed this snack tasting. What’s your favourite little slice of Australia? Why not share your thoughts in the comments?
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,
Helen & Matt xx