Monday, August 17, 2015

The Mystique of Tim Tams and Musk Sticks

The Mystique of Tim Tams and Musk Sticks

By Naoto Suzukawa
The Spirit News
September 14, 2075

Tim Tam is a brand of chocolate biscuit made by the Australian food company Arnott's and available in several countries. A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate. The biscuit was created by Ian Norris, who was the director of food technology at Arnott's. During 1958, he took a world trip looking for inspiration for new products. While in Britain, he found the Penguin biscuit and decided to "make a better one".

Tim Tams went on to the market in 1964. They were named by Ross Arnott, who attended the 1958 Kentucky Derby and decided that the name of the winning horse, Tim Tam was perfect for a planned new line of biscuits. Apart from Penguins, products similar to Tim Tams include "Temptins" from Dick Smith Foods, New Zealand's "Chit Chats", Australian Woolworths' home brand product "Triple Choc", the Coles brand "Chocolate Supreme" biscuits, and various similar "home-brand" products marketed by British supermarkets.

In 2003, Arnott's sued Dick Smith Foods over their Temptin' brand of chocolate biscuits, which Arnott's alleged had diluted their trademark as a similar biscuit, in similarly-designed packaging. The case was settled out of court.

The original Arnott's bakery, opened in 1865, was located in Newcastle, New South Wales. To date, manufacture of Tim Tams and other Arnott's products has remained largely within Australia, including bakeries in Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane. In 2009, Arnott's invested 37 million Australian dollars in a state-of-the-art production line at its Brisbane facility, expecting to boost productivity and increase jobs. At the Huntingwood bakery in Western Sydney, the production line turns out about 3,000 Tim Tams per minute and uses 20 tons of the biscuit's cream filling and 27 tons of chocolate coating each work day.

In the 2000s Arnott's sold different varieties of the product. Varieties include dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramel and dark mint. In 2004, Arnott's caused a controversy when they released a range of alcohol-flavoured varieties of their products, including Tia Maria Tim Tams. It was suggested selling these biscuits in supermarkets where they were available to minors was irresponsible. An Arnott's spokesperson observed that a customer "would need to consume your body weight of biscuits every hour to reach a blood-alcohol content of .05". Pepperidge Farm, a sister company of Arnott's, began importing the Tim Tam to the United States of America in 2008. The Tim Tams are still "Made in Australia" and bear the slogan "Australia's Favorite Cookie."

Tim Tam Chocolate Sandwich Biscuits are manufactured in Indonesia by Halo Arnotts. A cheese flavour of Tim Tams has also been developed for the Indonesian market. In 2014, Tim Tam launched a limited edition range of new flavours including: Salted Caramel, Choc Brownie and Raspberry White Choc in partnership with renowned Australian dessert chef Adriano Zumbo. Then during the valentines day period of 2015, they launched the Choc Raspberry, Coconut Cream and Red Velvet flavours again in partnership with Zumbo.

The Tim Tam Slam (also known as the Tim Tam Shotgun, Tim Tam Bomb and Tim Tam Explosion) is the practice of drinking a hot beverage through a Tim Tam. Opposite corners of the Tim Tam are bitten off, one end is submerged in the beverage, and the beverage sucked through the biscuit - as though the Tim Tam itself is a straw. The crisp interior biscuit is eventually softened and the outer chocolate coating begins to melt, at which point the biscuit is eaten. The Arnott's company used the name Tim Tam Suck in a 2002 advertising campaign.

Musk sticks are a popular confection in Australia and New Zealand, available from many different suppliers. Having withstood the test of time, musk sticks consist of a pink semi-soft stick, usually extruded with a ridged cross-section. Their flavour and aroma is quite floral, reminiscent of musk perfume. They are also called 'musk sweets' and 'musk lollies'. Also available is a fruit-flavoured variant called "Fruit sticks", which look like coloured musk sticks. Musk-flavoured mints are produced by companies such as the Dollar Sweets Company. They are sold through supermarkets under the Dollar Sweets brand and also through Lion Clubs Australia under the Lion Mints brand.