What I Brought Home From Australia
Posted on October 8, 2019 Posted by John Scalzi 49 Comments
These were a gift from the folks at Conflux, and prefaced with the admission that this was all junk. As someone whose first purchase in Australia was a Violet Crumble, this delighted me. And indeed there is a bunch of questionable stuff here, down to and including the Vegemite-flavored peanuts, which apparently not even anyone at Conflux, Down Under natives all, had even considered ever trying. I can’t wait.
The trip as a whole was lovely and I’ll probably write something slightly longer about it when my brain isn’t cottage cheese. Today is not that day, I have to say. In the meantime: Look! Candy! Mostly.
Glad you had a safe, fun trip and made it back. Rest brain. Pet cat. Enjoy home. I suspect the Vegemite treats are for unwitting tourists only, like spam-flavored macadamia nuts in Hawaii.
Yeah, you stick “Mitey Aussie Nuts” *and* Vegemite on the front of a package, chances are native Australians are not the target audience.
Yum, Tim Tams. A friend from Australia sent us some years ago. Enjoy,
Anything you dont like, just pass it off to trick or treaters.
Vegemite nuts? How will you make a sandwich?
You know, I can get TimTams, here in MI, at Kroger. So good!
Please let us know what Musk Sticks taste like.
Last time I was in Sydney I located sherbet lemons – those lemon drops with fizzy acetic acid in the center. Yum! I used to get them by the jar in the mail from England, but they ran into some packaging law and had to start wrapping them individually, which (a) took away some of the fun of breaking them apart; and (b) made them too expensive. I haven’t found a reasonably-priced source in the US.
Target also stocks Tim Tams, including the absolutely divine Dark Chocolate Mint ones. Pro Tim Tam tip: Fix yourself up some good hot chocolate, dump in a heavy slug of Bailey’s, and do the Tim Tam Slam – bite opposite corners off of the Tim Tam and use it like a straw to suck up the hot cocoa. When the Tim Tam is on the verge of collapsing into a pile of warm chocolate goo, shove the entire thing in your mouth. SO GOOD.
Violet Crumble can be violent to the inside of your mouth. It’s honeycomb toffee coated in chocolate. Sort of like a Crunchie, if you have those. And the tagline “It’s the way it shatters that matters”, which you can just make out in the picture, is very appropriate.
Mmm, now I want one. i haven’t had one in ages…
well, some of those are good. others….
Musk Sticks, with “no artificial colors and flavors”. So they’re made from real musk?
OK OK… now please answer the burning question on all of our minds: which one of these is going to end up in a burrito??
“which one of these is going to end up in a burrito??”
Well, all of them, of course…at the same time!
The pineapple lumps/chunks are a NZ sweet but are now manufactured in Australia.
The penny candy store in my home town had the spearmint leaves; they’re actually not bad. Not chocolate….but not bad. Check your local Target for TimTams- mine has a couple of kinds. Hadn’t heard of the hot chocolate trick, but that might be interesting…
Tim Tams are the heckin best! I’m lucky that Singapore is so close to Australia, and that I can get them whenever I want. :)
Doug: Violent Crumble was Athena’s never-quite-made-it-to-the-first-gig all-girl punk garage band that Scalzi has been hiding from us for five years.
The Cherry Ripe and Pineapple Lumps are the real prizes here.
Tim Tam Poetry Slam by Kirby Krackle
The Violet Crumble sounds yummy, and after a brief google I found a stash at my local Cost Plus World Market. They’re very pricey, though, so I’m a little hesitant to buy them, but my curiosity may win out over my pocketbook in the end… :-) We’ll see. I would really like to try the Cherry Ripe too (I love cherries!).
Pineapple Lumps are interesting. Keep them in the fridge, so they’re cold enough, and when you bite into them (or snap them in half) the pineapple filling will snap or shatter. But leave them out for a minute or so, or leave them in your mouth for a few seconds to warm up, and the filling will be chewy instead.
Cindy, a (non-Australian) candy reviewer once said that musk sticks taste like your Grandma’s handbag, if that helps. They are basically an extruded and dried sugar paste, with a musk smell and flavour. In Sweden there’s a museum of disgusting foods. There’s three Australian entries, two of them are Vegemite and Musk sticks. Mini Florals are related, but they are pill shaped instead of sticks, and have floral scents and flavours
The one that immediately grabbed my interest was, real-o trul-o, the vegemite peanuts.
What that says about my taste is, well… probably better left unsaid.
pax / Ctein
I find myself suddenly and inexplicably tempted to get some marmite (it’s easier to buy in Europe than Vegemite) and put a dab on my peanut butter sandwich.
Now you’ll have to try a Tim Tam Slam!
Good haul. Jz is right, the Cherry Ripe is probably the prize here. Shame no-one brought you chicken flavoured Twisties…
Oh, and to add to the Tim Tam Slam nonsense, there’s even a song.
They let you bring bullets on the plane?
Love Tim Tams. They are quite difficult to find.
Candy Smuggler. You.
The jaffas were a favourite when I was a kid- our local movie theatre had a bare wood floor, and a Jaffa rolled down the slope of the floor from the back of the theatre made a surprisingly loud rumbling noise. A whole packet sounded even better.
This spread reminds me oddly of your weekly stack of books and ARCs.
Dear me, that pile is nostalgia in a photo. I’m off to daydream about Cherry Ripes now.
The cynical part of my brain is like, ‘with America’s rampant gun culture, it’s amazing there isn’t any candy in the US called Bullets, really.’ Chocolate-covered licorice, however, is a combination I can’t resolve in my head as good or bad, strictly.
You didn’t get any Coon cheese? Or Redskins?
I’ve been watching Jim Jefferies, you see.
Tim Tams are the best cookie ever, IMO.
This haul of candy and snacks is ripe for a video. Please consider making a video of yourself taste-testing them.
In a reverse of this, I have an Australian friend who likes Combos for some unfathomable reason. They’re these….sort of hollow crispy bite-sized pretzels with fillings (cheddar cheese, pizza, etc). Every year or so I spend $10 on all the Combos I can find and $55 on shipping to send him some in Perth.
I’ve seen Tim Tams in a Kansas City area Wal – Mart, now I’ll need to try them.
No doubt! Ain’t no flim-flam when we’re talkin’ Tim-Tam. Those things are delicious. Dangerous, even. ;)
Have never tasted treats from Oz other than licorice. Those look … interesting. My wife and I went on a walking tour in the Cornwall(Exmoor) region this summer, so I had plenty of opportunities for Brit snacks. I love their crisps because their flavors differ from the US chips. Had a thing called ‘Burgers’ or ‘Hamburgers’ that was spherical corn puffs the size of large marbles. It was apparently flavored like a hamburger which wasn’t convincing, but tasted fine nonetheless.
And speaking of hamburger, if you want fried rice that tastes like an actual cheese burger, I’m your man!
Hmm, things I imagine you will like:
Tim Tams (slam can also be done with coffee)
Things I imagine you won’t:
Mitey Aussie Nuts because what the hell??? I see they say “New” and I’m betting they’ll never get to “Improved” because even Austruckinfailians are extremely unlikely to even go there
That said almost everything there is better than Hershey chocolate…
If I remember correctly on your last trip you brought home some art. Hope you found something along those lines that will show up later
The Bananas look like Australia’s answer to Circus Peanuts. Spearmint Leaves are available in the US. Pretty sure Dairy Milk is some variety of Cadbury.
A friend in NC sent us a mixed lot of TimTams for Christmas. There were mint, caramel, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and (I think) orange. We got 2 of each flavor, except for the milk, of which we got 4. They survived 2 weeks of the gamer horde, only because I hid most of them after the first night. We tried the TimTam Slam, but they disintegrated after one slurp of coffee.
I bought a vegemite Cadbury bar at a Danish auction once. It was surprisingly okay.
For those playing along at home… Darrell Lea is now available in the US ( At least I saw them in the shops in Oregon). I’m not a liquorice fan so I didn’t look closely, but I did notice a packet called “Australian Liquorice” so people might have some luck finding bullets under that name.
Musk sticks are a classic candy, of the sort that you probably won’t like unless you grow up with them- they are very floral and most USAnians think they taste like soap!
Violet crumble has a filling that I have seen called ” seafoam” in the USA- I know the Rocky Mountain Candy company sells it (very expensively) and possibly others do as well. As Fantasywritersretreat says, the pineapple lumps are really a NZ sweet thats been multinationalised. Both those and the banannas are a sugar confection a bit like peeps–but not.
Jim G- In my opinion the best Sherbert Lemons are the English Tilleys Sherbert Lemons. Maybe do a search and see if you can buy them from England? There is an Australian brand of sherbert lemons but they are neither as sherberty or as acidic as the English ones.
Ooh, many of my favourites! Musk sticks (probably an acquired taste) are actually a very old lolly flavour (used from Medieval times, apparently) which came across from the UK in the 1800s, it seems. Best if purchased for 5 cents each from the corner shop and carried home in a small white paper bag, ah nostalgia!
Haven’t tried the Vegemite nuts, but made Vegemite ice-cream last summer – it was one of those things which was really weird at first, but grew on me. Those umami flavours actually go well with sweet things, eg. truffled cream, truffled honey and truffled ice-cream are all delicious (if you like truffle). I will probably be making Vegemite ice-cream again this summer!
“Mitey Aussie Nuts” sounds like a case of crabs picked up in Sydney.
This is all GOLD and I am jealous of your junk food goodness that I can’t eat anyways!
I lived in OZ land for almost 17 years. Your treats are divine….the lollies you have will be a delight to you! Be a sport and try the peanuts. I would love to hear your comment! Glad you enjoyed Australia!
Look at those candy bananas. Just look at them!
Oh, wait, this isn’t BoingBoing…