Tim Tams are pretty legendary within Australia I think. Or certainly as an outsider anyway, I associate them as synonymous with Australian culture. You say Australia, and I’l say cricket, beaches, the outback, beer, barbeques…and Tim Tams. I’d never actually had the opportunity to try them though, so to say I was delighted when I opened up Aimee’s package for me and a packet of this fell out would be an understatement. Surely something so successful must be good right?
I’m not sure how many different forms exist that you can buy Tim Tams in. I’m assuming Arnotts do a family sized packet as with any other type of biscuits? But I can only comment on the packet I have in front of me- a 40g packet containing two Tim Tam ‘fingers’ which were virtually identical in shape and size to Twix fingers I’d say. And (as with the Twix) two ‘fingers’ was a perfect serving size with a cup of coffee.
So what is a Tim Tam? Well I’ve heard English people call it an ‘Australian Penguin’ before. And I can see why the two biscuits are compared so often…Arnotts describe their Tim Tam Fingers as ‘crunchy chocolate biscuit fingers’ but that doesn’t quite capture it. The Tim Tam is essentially two chocolate biscuit layers sandwiching a chocolate cream centre and then coated in milk chocolate. (I reckon my description is better than Arnotts. But I’m a dead nice guy so they can use it for free if they want.) I’m a big penguin fan- in the chocolate biscuit sense rather than the aquatic flightless bird. So I was really looking forward to try these Tim Tams.
Now before I get into this, let me explain one thing. If you think the photos make the Tim Tam fingers look a bit odd and grey coloured…that isn’t because of my bad photography. They really were an unusual and slightly unappetising colour. These didn’t have that lovely rich and dark brown colour to them like most good chocolate products…they were pale and a bit anaemic looking. I’m not sure why. The wrapper, on the other hand, was pretty attractive I thought. It had a nice chocolatey brown colour and looked quite traditional…although as I understand it, Tim Tams have lost some of their heritage as they were (just like Cadbury) bought out by a giant corporation. Sad face.
I used the second Tim Tam finger to try a Tim Tam Slam. For those of you who don’t know what that is (I sure as hell didn’t) you bite off either end of the finger and then dip the middle part of the Tim Tam into a hot drink. Then you essentially suck the hot drink up through the Tim Tam and you get loads of gooey, chocolatey and coffee (in my case- you could use tea or hot chocolate too) goodness. It was immense.
Now these had looked a little weird, and they also smelt unusual. I think (given that these are chocolate biscuits sandwiching chocolate cream with a chocolate coating) my expectation that these might smell predominantly of chocolate was a reasonable one. But they didn’t. Instead they’re very malty and wheaty… there is a little bit of richness to them too, but it is undoubtedly the more savoury notes of the biscuit component that are most present. And it really works- these smelt delicious.
When reviewing biscuits, the first thing that they need to do is crunch. Because nobody wants to buy a biscuit which squelches. (Although given that a lot of English people-me included- dip biscuits into drinks, you would have thought we could just cut out the middle man and save the money on the drink by buying pre-dunked biscuits.)The Tim Tams are genuinely crispy so it was a good start. After that initial crunch, you get the outer layer of chocolate which was pretty good; pleasantly milky and not too overbearing.
Then, after the biscuit’s crunchy texture earlier, you get the flavour from it. It has a lot of malty taste rather than much chocolate, meaning that the Tim Tam overall doesn’t become too sweet. And finally, after the biscuit and outer chocolate coating you get to the chocolate cream centre- which was my favourite part. It was light, sweet and had just a delicate cocoa flavour to it.
The only unpleasant thing about the whole Tim Tam experience was the melt of the chocolate…it had a slightly ‘waxy’ coating to it. I’m not sure if that is something to do with the higher temperatures that Australia sees necessitating a different type of chocolate? Anyway, it hardly ‘ruined’ the Tim Tam for me…just a small niggle.
So, despite the somewhat unappetising colour, these Tim Tams from Arnotts were a pleasure to eat. Does it beat a Penguin? It’s a close one but I think it probably does shade it. The biscuit element on these Tim Tam fingers is a class above the Penguin for sure…they’re more balanced in flavour and suitable for adults. The Penguin is a child’s biscuit really, whereas the Tim Tam tasted a little more subtle.
I don’t know what the noun is for people who like Tim Tams. Maybe there isn’t one. I’l make one up- I’m a Tim Tam fan. These bad boys are very much recommended and easily my favourite thing from Australian Week so far… if I see more of these in the future I’m going to snap them up straight away. And to anybody who hasn’t tried an Arnott’s Tim Tam in the past, I suggest you do exactly the same thing!