It doesn’t feel quite right to say “Happy Anzac Day”. However, I’d like to acknowledge that it is Anzac Day and to pay my respects to the young men (and women) who got caught up in the battle all those years ago. This isn’t a political blog so I won’t get into my thoughts on certain politicians’ co-optation of the Digger mythology nor my opinion about war in general – suffice to say that I truly wish no one, past or present, ever had to go to war or see those they love do so.
(I’m also going to use this moment to slip in a recommendation for The Scarring by Geoff Page. This verse novel is a stark and moving story of the effects of war (amongst other things) on a young couple and, intertwined with this, evocatively encapsulates the Australian landscape. As a plus, for anyone wary about reading a verse novel, it’s pretty short… and you won’t have to write about it from memory in a three-hour exam as I did.)
Sure, the most relevant edible treat to talk about on Anzac Day would have to be the Anzac biscuit*, that staple of Aussie kids’ lunchboxes made with oats, golden syrup, and coconut. Unfortunately the lack of a proper oven at my house-sitting gig, combined with several other factors**, makes Anzac biscuits an impossibility at this point in time.
But what I can offer you is a chocolate bar that I ate months ago in Bruges, which made me think of Anzac biscuits for the first time in yonks.
NewTree Pleasure Noir Biscuit
Decoding the German and French on NewTree’s packaging could easily lead one to think, nay, know that chocolate is one of the healthiest food products in the history of ever and ever amen. With the combination of a 65% cacao content and grilled flax seeds, this chocolate purports to be rich in omega 3 oils as well as three times higher in fibre, and 30% lower in sugar, than “un chocolat ordinaire”.
But since when has this blog ever been about ordinary chocolate?
My first hint of the tastes to come in this chocolate appeared in the aroma, which reminded me of coconut and oatmeal cookies. To be honest, the first bite didn’t reward me with much in the way of flavour, neither in regards to the chocolate itself nor the flax and biscuit inclusions. What it did reward me with, though, was a whole lot of crispity-crunchety textural contrasts, as the flax seeds and biscuit pieces were the antithesis of stale (can you tell I couldn’t think of a different word for “crisp”?).
After eating the entire bar, I still struggled to find anything exciting to say about the chocolate itself. It was mostly just… there. It had a nice sweetness, but there were no strong cocoa flavours nor any hints of the tobacco, red berry, or nut notes often found in dark chocolate.
However, the biscuit and flax seeds contributed definite notes of toasted oats, coconut, and golden syrup. See where I’m leading here? Yep. Back to Anzac biscuits. I ended up enjoying this because of the Anzac taste-memory, but would be in no rush to search out the chocolate on its own.
Luckily for me, the other NewTree bars I picked up had even tastier inclusions than Anzac-ish biscuit pieces… but I shouldn’t really give the game away, should I?
*Cookies to my American readers.
** A pantry consisting solely of a few dried herbs, tea, caster sugar (kept in the fridge), two bottles of fish sauce, and chia seeds^.
^ Chia seeds? Seriously?! The weirdest thing is that I brought chia seeds with me to this place, and never in a million years would I have expected to find them already here. I would have expected cans of beans and tomatoes, or rice, or pasta, or other condiments. But no. The lady has chia seeds.