Trying Childhood Snacks and Candies From an Australian Grocery Store

2023-01-13 13:22:51 By : Mr. Liu Gary

For about a week in Australia, I collected a list of snacks and sweets I wanted to taste while visiting the country.

Some snacks made my list before I even landed in Australia. I had seen cookies like Tim Tams for years on social media and heard about them from friends who visited the country. Surprise Eggs Toys

Trying Childhood Snacks and Candies From an Australian Grocery Store

Other items like Anzac biscuits were completely new to me. In the days leading up to my grocery run, I asked Australians about the quintessential foods tourists should try, and often their suggestions were sold in the snack aisle of a grocery store.

"I'd go to a grocery store and find biscuits and snacks you've never seen before," Brittanie Stacpoole told me. "And make sure to get chicken Twisties. They will change your life." 

I followed Stacpoole's advice and headed to a supermarket where I grabbed everything from savory crackers to sweet chocolate. And while my list just scratched the surface, I left the country craving snacks like Tim Tams, Anzac biscuits, and Shapes. 

They were right. Before landing in Australia, I had never heard of Pods Snickers. I've had plenty of the Snickers chocolate bars filled with nougat, caramel, and peanuts and was curious how the Pods would compare. 

According to Pedestrian, Pods were invented in Australia in 2004. Since then, they've also released versions like Pods Twix, Pods S'mores, and Pods Mars. 

After tracking them down at the grocery store, they were the first thing I tasted. Inside the package were dozens of bite-sized pieces.

Each Pod Snickers is a wafer cup filled with a Snickers center and chocolate coating on top. I popped a few of the Pods in my mouth and was immediately hit with the familiar Snickers combination. However, I did spot a few differences. 

The Pods were much crunchier than traditional Snickers due to the wafer surrounding the treat. I also didn't spot any whole peanuts in the Pods, which is my favorite part of a Snickers bar.

But even with the differences, I quickly decided I loved the candy. By the end of my night, the entire bag had disappeared. 

Who doesn't like their chocolate bars shaped like fun animals?

In Australian grocery stores, gas stations, and souvenir shops, I saw Cadbury Freddo and Caramello Koala chocolate bars.

The Freddo is shaped like a cartoon frog, and the Caramello Koala is filled with caramel and shaped like a koala. 

I've had Cadbury chocolate before, so the two chocolate bars didn't surprise me in flavor. Instead, they were the familiar, rich chocolate I've grown to love with Cadbury. 

The Caramello Koala oozed rich caramel, and the milk chocolate Freddo melted easily in my mouth. 

But my favorite part was their size. They're smaller than a traditional candy bar, but they're just large enough to satisfy my chocolate craving.

Later, when I spotted them at a gas station, I grabbed a few more to bring back home.

As I rode a gondola over a rainforest in Kuranda, Australia, I chatted with the Gibson family about their favorite snacks. 

They told me to try any Arnott's biscuits I could find. Arnott's first opened in 1875 in Newcastle, Australia, according to the Australian Food Timeline. Today, it produces both savory and sweet biscuits, which Americans would call cookies. 

But the company's most popular biscuit is the Tim Tam. According to Mashed, Australians consume 45 million boxes every year.

The cookies are made of two chocolate biscuit pieces with a cream filling, and the entire thing is coated in chocolate. Since its creation in 1964, Arnott's has flavored Tim Tams with everything from mint to chocolate raspberry. 

As I stared down the cookie section at Woolworths, about a third of an aisle was dedicated to Tim Tams. I spotted nine different flavors, and after debating which ones to try, I decided to grab a box of each. 

Ultimately, my favorite was the original milk chocolate. I thought it had the best balance of cookie, coating, and filling.

As I spoke to more Australians, there didn't seem to be a consensus on an overall favorite. Nearly every person I chatted with had a different preference. Some loved white chocolate while others were partial to salted caramel. 

Regardless of the flavor, I understood the appeal. Tim Tams were sweet — but not too sweet. They were crunchy — but not too crunchy. And they were shockingly easy to eat.  

The Gibson family also urged me to try Arnott's savory biscuits, especially Shapes. And specifically, the barbeque-flavored ones. 

The Shapes come in a variety of flavors, and when I visited the grocery store, I spotted ones including savory, barbeque, pizza, chicken crimpy, and cheese and bacon.

Similar to Tim Tams, every Australian I spoke to had their favorite flavor of Shapes. Stacpoole told me she liked the chicken crimpy ones while another Australian said pizza was easily her favorite. 

I bought two flavors: barbeque and savory. 

The baked crackers were tasty. I could easily tell the barbeque ones were supposed to be flavored like barbeque sauce. As for the savory, I couldn't quite pick out a single flavor and understood its vague name. I tasted hints of marinara sauce and barbeque and wondered if it was a combination of all the other Shapes flavors. 

The cracker itself reminded me of a combination of a Ritz cracker and a Triscuit. It had a harder texture like Triscuits, but a hint of sweetness, which I taste in Ritz crackers. 

While I thought the Shapes were good, I likely would opt for a bag of Goldfish over these crackers next time. 

A couple of Australians mentioned trying Anzac biscuits and filled me in on the cookie's history, which dates back to World War I. 

According to Bon Appetit, the cookies were invented during the war for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs, hence the biscuit's name). Families wanted to support their loved ones who were serving, so they sent troops care packages containing the cookies. 

They have a simple recipe involving pantry staples like rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, and often coconut.

According to Bon Appetit, you can make your own or buy them from a handful of companies. Without an oven, I opted for a grocery-store version and picked up a bag made by Bakers' Finest.  

When I opened the sealed bag, I was immediately hit with a strong scent of coconut. I grabbed one cookie and the edges of the thin biscuit fell apart. After taking a bite, I was confused. The cookie was surprisingly chewy for how crumbly it felt in my hand.

According to Bon Appetit, whether an Anzac cookie should be chewy or crunchy is a heated debate. Some prefer to use more golden syrup, which gives it a chewy texture, while others opt to leave them in the oven for longer, which results in crunchier cookies. 

I loved the chewy version I tasted. The flavors were simple, and I thought it wasn't too sweet. It reminded me of biscotti in its light, uncomplicated flavors, which I thought would pair well with coffee. 

But even without a steaming cup of coffee, I loved the cookies and the fascinating history behind them.

On a plane ride between Australia and New Zealand, I was itching for something sweet. Luckily, at the bottom of my backpack was a box of Smarties.

While no Australian mentioned Smarties, they were new to me. I'm used to the chalky, tart Smarties candy from the US. But these colorful ovals inside the box reminded me more of M&M's. The small candies were coated pieces of chocolate, and I was excited to see how they compared to the American version I'm familiar with. 

While I found the box in Australia, according to Nestlé, Smarties are popular in the UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa, and Canada.

After eating a few, I discovered a much thicker shell than M&M's, which crumbled instead of cracked. Inside, I tasted a chocolate interior that wasn't overly sweet. 

As I continued crunching on the chocolate, I decided that the colorful coatings had slightly fruity flavors, something I'd never tasted with M&M's.

If I had a choice, I'd pick M&M's over Smarties next time, but the Smarties easily satisfied my chocolate craving. 

A handful of people made sure to mention Vegemite. 

Vegemite is a thick, dark spread made of yeast, onion, malt, and celery. It's popular across the continent, and according to The New York Times, about 22 million jars are consumed by Australians annually. 

The popular spread is savory and salty. It's typically served during breakfast on a slice of buttered toast, but it's a snack some eat at any time during the day.

The Australians I spoke with all agreed that a little goes a long way.

"It's all about how you have it," Nicole Reynolds said. "Lots of butter and a smear of Vegemite. That's how you eat Vegemite — a tiny scrape across the top of toast."

I did just that, and unfortunately, I didn't fall in love with the cherished spread. It was too salty for my taste. 

But others mentioned that Vegemite, like beer or wine, is an acquired taste. So perhaps if I had scarfed down a few more slices of coated toast, I would've become a fan.

One Airbnb host told me that Flakes were one of her favorite chocolates. Intrigued, I decided to try them. 

After tasting them, I realized that I've never had anything quite like a Flake. 

The chocolate, which is produced by Cadbury, is made up of a thin layer of chocolate folded onto itself over and over again, creating layers with pockets of air.

It was like phyllo dough but with chocolate instead of flour. And I thought its name was spot on.

The first one I picked up immediately crumbled in my hand. As bits of chocolate rained down onto my plate, I realized it was a messy treat. 

But the thin layers have their advantage. The chocolate quickly melted in my mouth and rich flavors coated my palate. 

I was a fan, and while I left behind a few Flakes for my host, I made sure to save a few for myself for later. 

I'm still regretting not finding Twisties in the supermarket, and I learned about Australia's Cherry Ripe chocolate too late. 

But tasting snacks like Tim Tams and Shapes was a fun peek into some Australians' childhoods. 

Trying Childhood Snacks and Candies From an Australian Grocery Store

Barbie Blind Bag So although I've left the country, I haven't deleted my grocery list. Instead, I'm adding more items so the next time I'm in Australia, I'll have even more snacks and biscuits to try.