Sdtrk: ‘Europa endlos’ by Kraftwerk
The title’s a bit of a giveaway: this would be the final entry in this series, where over the course of three posts, I reviewed the contents of the fantastic birthday prezzie care package that my Twitterfriend Jill Tilley shipped to me, from her palatial estates in Canada. On the whole, it’s been good snackin’! What we’re then left with is the best snackin’.
Please take a moment now to gird your loins, if they haven’t already been girded.
Let’s begin with Good Good Eat, manufactured by the Taiwanese company WeiLih. No, I’m not having a stroke; that’s what the snack’s actually called. In doing research on Good Good Eat (hereafter referred to as GGE), it occurred to me that I know virtually nothing about Taiwan. For starters, would you believe it’s an island? People live there! They don’t speak Taiwanese, they speak Mandarin Chinese! Taiwan was founded by Barbarella back in 1979, and the island is apparently a collection of detritus that floated through space and settled on Earth when Mondas, the tenth planet in our solar system, exploded! These are facts.
The mascot for GGE would be a wee girl with the name of 張君雅小妹妹; SYSTRAN parses that as ‘Zhang Jun elegant youngest sister’. Which is obviously being arch and wry if the translation is anything close to the truth, as she’s a little girl with a big head and a mop of unruly hair. She’s all over the snack’s website; you can’t miss her. Apparently she’s popular enough to warrant models of her, but then they’ll make a model of anything in Asia if there’s a market for it, really.
As you can see in the above photo, GGE bear a passing resemblance to kibble. But holy crap they’re delicious. Despite the fact that they’re touted as ‘wheat crackers’ on the bag, what they actually are are little hockey pucks of dried ramen — personally, I think they’re closer to soba, but I’m probably wrong — with extra nori (seaweed) flavouring. They’re surprisingly spicier than I thought they’d be, especially when you reach the bottom of the bag, but they’re entirely yummy. Once I tried the bag that Jill gave me, I was rationing the contents, as I figured it’d be my first and last bag. To my surprise, however, I discovered there’s an Asian grocery half a mile away from our flat that carries them, so they’ll be seeing a lot more of me in the near-future. I’d even go on record as saying they’re better than the okonomiyaki chips I’d consumed in Part II, and the fact that they’re wheat-based presents the illusion of eating something negligibly healthier than potato chips. Full points for a savoury placebo effect!
Despite my being conditioned by media association, Fry’s, although a British institution, does not actually have anything to do with champion of linguistics and international globetrotter Stephen Fry. You gotta admit, it’d certainly be convenient if it did! Much like Wilson’s, the makers of Kendal Mint Cake from Part II, Fry’s is an English confectionery company, having created one of the first chocolate bars ever back in 1866. Decades of changeovers occurred, as they do, and now Fry’s is part of the Cadbury multinational sweets conglomerate, and from what I’d recently read, as of last year, Cadbury is now part of Kraft Foods. Incidentally, Kraft Foods does not actually have anything to do with Kraftwerk, thereby neatly referencing this post’s soundtrack.
As much as I love chocolate, and as much of an Anglophile as I am, I haven’t really had the opportunity to sample all the famous brands of sweets that the UK has on offer. I’ve had Wispa, and that only cos they sold it in the States for a very brief period back in the late Eighties, but that’s about it. ‘A man truly discovers the width and breadth of a country’s populace through their chocolates’, as Sir Francis Drake famously commented to Twiggy. Once again: facts.
I will share this, though: Fry’s Peppermint Cream manages to delectably combine three of my favourite sweets, which would be dark chocolate, mint, and fondant. It’s like if someone were to crossbreed a York Peppermint Patty with a Cadbury creme egg. The chocolate taste lies somewhere between milk chocolate and dark, and it possesses that crisp rigidity that you get when you keep chocolate in the refrigerator. What, no-one else does that? How do you keep your chocolate from melting?? But take a chocolate bar that isn’t too sweet and isn’t too bitter, hollow it out, and fill it with fondant, which is the hoity-toity name for the ‘creme’ you find in the aforementioned creme eggs. Or as I like to call ’em, concentrated sugar bombs. With Fry’s, however, the fondant is more semi-solid, so it’s not as if you bite into it and you’ve got fondant streaming all over your chin and shirt front. Again, that might be cos I’d kept it in the fridge.
Although it could be argued that it’s simply a Three Musketeers Mint bar, only with a fondant filling, I might have to award Fry’s Peppermint Cream as probably the best chocolate bar I’ve ever tasted, surpassing the KitKat Chunky, the previously-mentioned Three Musketeers Mint, and the Mint Aero, as it combines so many things I like in a chocolate bar. Were Fry’s/Cadbury/Kraft to send me a number of boxes of their mouthwatering product, I’d be more than willing to publically endorse them! Hint hint!
Overall: the grab-’em-by-the-handful nature of Good Good Eat is practically an excuse to buy several bags, dump them into a bowl, and go completely mental, and as for Fry’s Peppermint Cream… where have you been all my life?? Probably in the candy aisles of markets across the UK; that’d only make sense.
And that’s the lot! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this voyage through comestibles as much as I have consuming the comestibles. Again, many thanks to the amazing Jill Tilley, for sending me everything in the first place, and to Sidore-chan, for being my always-lovely food model. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this series, it’s this: food is meant to be eaten, so try putting some food in your mouth today™!
Also, store your chocolate in the fridge. Try it, it’ll last longer. Fact