Growing up in Australia with Kiwi parents and grandparents, I was well-used to some Kiwi classics – chocolate fish (which I still scoff regularly); pineapple lumps; hokey pokey (which my mother used to make); and Q-Tol antiseptic lotion. Chocolate fish and pineapple lumps weren’t available in Oz, so aunts and uncles travelling across The Ditch to visit the Oz-based family would bring much-needed supplies.

Q-Tol is a vivid memory from my childhood. It’s a pink lotion with a very distinctive, pleasant smell. I well remember the bull ant incident. I reckon I was about 9 or 10 years old and I was at my grandparent’s place in Avalon. My parents were there too – for the Sunday family roast – and I wanted to go out into the garden. Can’t remember why but I remember it was summer and I was wearing no shoes. My father said: you should put your shoes on and me (being occasionally stubborn) said no.

This was typical of Dad. He’d tell me not to do something and, if I didn’t listen, he’d let me go ahead and do it. It was his way of teaching me to take responsibility for my actions. So out I went into the garden and within minutes was stung on the big toe by a huge bull ant. These little bastards are endemic to Australia and can be very aggressive.

I clearly remember the bull ant hanging off my toe, me howling and Dad calmly making his way towards me with a bottle of Q-Tol. The pink lotion is very soothing and I’ve always had a bottle in my bathroom. Whilst living in Australia, any time I went to NZ to speak at conferences, I’d pick up several bottles. Now, I can buy Q-Tol here in the supermarket and, every time I use Q-Tol lotion, it reminds me of my childhood (and that bastard of a bull ant).

But one thing I never tried was Choco-ade. My parents never mentioned it and I’d never heard of it until this year. And this whole story of the Choco-ade comeback just shows you the power of social media. For whatever reason, Griffins stopped producing Choco-ade biscuits in the 1980s. It seems to have been a very popular biscuit, so what the?

A Kiwi mother started a Facebook page urging Griffins to bring back Choco-ade (not really keen on the name I must say). I read that her husband craved the biscuit he used to love in the 80s, so she decided to start a campaign for its return. Griffins conducted a Facebook poll and found that over 14,000 New Zealanders were calling for the return of the quirky biscuit. I say quirky because, like with Aussie Tim Tams, there’s a special way to eat one.

The biscuit is a round choc-orange flavoured thing and looks a bit like it has a fluted, short crust pastry base. It has a jam filling (not sure of the flavour) and a circle of chocolate. Apparently, Kiwi kids would bite off the pastry base, lick the jam off, then nibble the chocolate. Someone told me they used to love eating the biscuit carefully, so that the chocolate didn’t break.

TV ads started appearing and I think Griffins relaunched Choco-ade in July this year. I was intrigued but couldn’t find any packets of the biscuit in my local supermarket. I was told they’d sold out and it seems that Choco-ade was New Zealand’s biggest selling biscuit during the first week of its relaunch.

Oh well. I forgot about it but this week spotted a packet of Choco-ade in a supermarket in Rangiora. There was only this one packet left so I snapped it up.

Mmmmm…..not sure what the fuss is about. Does this relaunched biscuit taste the same as it used to? Because if it does, it’s not THAT great. The jam layer could be thicker if you ask me. In fact, the whole biscuit is a bit on the thin side. Certainly, the pastry base is too thin. They did remind me though of Arnott’s Jaffa biscuits, which I grew up with in Australia. Yeah, I know, they are different biscuits but still a choc-orange flavour.

This caused me to look up Arnott’s (I have not bought a single Arnott’s biscuit since the Yanks acquired this Aussie icon in 1997. Boycott anyone?). OMG. There is NO Arnott’s Jaffa biscuit any longer! At least I can’t find them on the Arnott’s Australian website. I’m not talking jaffa cakes; I’m talking the chocolate-coated biscuit that was my mother’s favourite.

This image is from a 1982 TV commercial for the biscuit, which is referred to as a jaffa cake biscuit. I don’t remember them being called jaffa cake; I thought it was just plain old jaffa biscuit. Anyway. What the? Are they no longer available? Have the Yanks messed around with an Aussie icon?

Suddenly, the Choco-ade biscuit is looking very tempting. Indeed, I had a second biscuit and ate it the way the Kiwis scoff it. I’m now a fan and see what the fuss is about.

I’m considering launching my own social media campaign to bring back an Aussie classic – Cahills Caramel Sauce. I’ve blogged about the decadent sauce before and even recreated it after a few months of experimentation back in 2007. Well, not quite but near enough.

I was lucky to have tasted the original Cahills Caramel Sauce. You could buy it in waxed tubs in Aussie supermarkets and I’d eat it straight out of the waxed tub or drench it over vanilla ice cream. Then it disappeared and was relaunched in either the 1980s or 1990s. But it was a very sad shadow of the former gloriously thick, rich sauce. The relaunched version didn’t seem to be around for long.

I know a lot of readers land on this blog looking for Cahills Caramel Sauce, so I’m thinking about setting up a Facebook page. But not sure who owns the rights to the sauce. It was created by Teresa Cahill as far as I know and she died in the late 70s, which probably explains why the product disappeared.

I have since found that the Sydney Morning Herald published the original Cahills Caramel Sauce recipe in Column 8, May 29 2010. Is this REALLY the original recipe though? Column 8 said it came from a 1964 notebook of some grandmother. Well, I plan to try it out soon but meanwhile here’s the recipe:

‘‘2 ozs butter, 3/4 cup Carnation milk,  cup white sugar, 1 cups brown sugar. Put all into a saucepan and stir until boiling and the sugars have dissolved. Simmer for about four minutes.’

The newly relaunched Kiwi classic biscuit.

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