Lidl's Choco Softies
|Thursday 10 Jun 2004|
|In the second of our Lidl's inspired reviews we couldn't come away with out my picking up a pack of Lidl's own brand version of a German classic the Super Dickmann. A little while back we had a guest review submitted of the mini Dickmann, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to review this item from the farthest reaches of the know biscuit universe. As guest reviewer Jacqui Sayer noted it has a wafer base so we'll consider it a biscuit so that we can marvel at its comedy name, and all round jolliness.
Although I don't know for sure I would imagine that Lidl's Choco Softies are a faithful copy of the Super Dickmann, if not the same thing. This is great as you can get yourself along there if you have one nearby and try the treat that must be occupying the same ecological niche in Germany as the Tunnocks tea cake does over here. Composed of soft marshmallow, similar but not identical to the noble Scottish treat the Choco Softie stands an impressive 55mm high with a 46mm diameter. A thin shell of plain chocolate encloses it and attaches the base which gives the appearance of some form of munition. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was some form of pump action mallow gun which used Super Dickmanns as its shell. Then again from another angle they look a lot like the ghosts from Pac-Man. The box features a dozen Choco Softies, arranged in two rows with a sort of internal inverted plastic egg tray resting on top. This keeps them all in order whilst they sit there on their wafer bases.
Now I know a lot of you are going to think I've lost the plot here and wandered right off the edge of the Venn Diagram but I don't really care. This is about as 'Carry on' film, as tea time treats get and it would be remiss of us to pass it over just because its obviously hard to classify, or German. About ten years ago I saw an advert for Super Dickmanns on German TV, which in keeping with the rest of German TV left me confused and a little embarrassed. Nether the less it aroused my curiosity, so I'm pleased to finally get some closure. I should also point out that if you like this sort of thing you may well find yourself getting a little carried away. I'm also pleased that I managed to get through that with out recourse to excessive use of double entendre, there's no need really.
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|Thursday 27 May 2004|
|Earlier this week we made one of our biannual visits to Lidls, we would go a little more often but its quite far away. Wifey has learned to mostly put up with my excessive excitement about going to Lidls. I love it as its the closest experience one can have in the UK to going into a small everyday continental supermarket. I also like how Lidls can sometimes surprise you with our own British brands. So I was delighted this week to spot a big pile of McVities Taxi biscuits, which I haven't seen in ages. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, however, in Lidls they shone out like a beacon.
I'm not sure, but I seem to remember the launch of the Taxi biscuit to be coincident with the zenith in popularity of the american TV sitcom of the same name which ran from 1978 to 1983. Of course Taxi the series was the spring board for such names as Dany DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman and the bloke who played Geoff Goldblums dad in Independence Day. Although the characters and comedy were unusually entertaining for a US show, the best bit for me was at the end when the receptionist used to say "Goodnight Mr Brookes" and the bloke walking off down the corridor used to grunt "Euuhh".
Anyhow, biscuits. Yes, I had quite forgotten how good a Taxi is, laminated from wafer, caramel, wafer, chocolate cream, wafer, caramel and wafer, and all covered in chocolate. This is definitely mid morning treat material. Of course there will be obvious comparisons to the Tunnocks wafer, and the most striking difference is really in texture. The Tunnocks has many more thinner layers, whilst the Taxi has fewer and thicker layers one of which as we said is cream. The result is a much softer biscuit, whose layers shear slightly as its munched. It also means that the Taxi tastes more like an ensemble of its constituents rather than an indivisible whole.
Of course the outcome of all of that is that they don't last very long. At approximately 21mm square by 80mm long they are also quite diminutive for a chocolate count line, and you should allow for at least two per person per mug of tea. The caramel accounts for 39% and the chocolate which has a slight taste of vanilla for 37% of the Taxis mass. The packs still have that distinctive blue and yellow checker, which again makes me suspect that its Yellow cabs rather than black cabs which have inspired the name. The strap line "Miles more caramel" goes some way to explaining the name. Perhaps "A complete law unto themselves when it comes to caramel" was too long.
Yes I'm very pleased to rediscover the Taxi, and no doubt this will signal the withdrawal of the product by McVities.
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Foxs Ginger Creams
|Sunday 16 May 2004|
|Nathan Rippon got in touch last week shocked at the ommitance of the Foxs Ginger Cream from our review archive. It's good to know that we still shock people even after all these years even with out trying. Still we thought it would calm him down a little if we got a pack in for a spot of reviewing.
Well Foxs are well known for this style of biscuit, which to be fair they do better than anybody else. Foxs very first products were Brandy Snaps, which are almost as much a toffee as they are a biscuit. This ability to produce sweet, light, crunchy, brittle biscuits is something that Foxs seem to do better than anybody else I can think of, witness the Butter Crinkle Crunch.
So where are we on this little chap? Well it's ginger we are looking for and indeed it's there, both in the the biscuit and the cream, but it's really not going to blow you away. If anything, the cream has more recognisable ginger flavour than the biscuit. Personally I would have liked it if Foxs had cranked it up a notch or two, but maybe that would make it a less accessible biscuit. In fact the younger members of staff and the Wife accessed most of them, and I had to make a bit of a final stand to see off the last three.
I was interested to see that the cream had a gentle tint of marigold orange which comes from the addition of beta-carotene. I tried hard to photograph the cream but somehow it stayed hidden, due to quite a deep overhang on the biscuit. I think this has got to be the first biscuit with beta-carotene in it that I have ever had. Although perhaps something with orange icing has used it and I never noticed.
As I expect you know beta-carotene is the pigment that makes carrots orange, and it can be artificially synthasised. It is converted by the bodies metabolism to Vitamin A, which makes it a provitamin. So now you know, a provitamin is not a vitamin as used by professionals, it's a metabolic precursor. The one that is in shampoo, Pathanol or provitamin B5, never gets a chance to be metabolised, as it is applied to your hair which is dead. It just coats it in a slippery film. And, while we are on the subject of hair, what is going on with those people in the L'Oréal hair gel ads? Presumably there is something fairly powerful in there that can cross the blood brain barrier and make you think that it's fine to go outside looking like you've slept with your head caught inside in a machine that makes coat hangers. Still, I guess we should all just be thankful that they have stopped pretending to play saxophones whilst jumping through japanese people's walls.