Walnutmeats – from all good Asian food stores
If you’re wondering, that sound you’re hearing is once again the sound of my hyperbole radar beeping at outrageous snack claims. This time, the beeps come to you courtesy of The Best Food No 1 – Walnutmeats. “But that’s a packet!” I hear you say. “I thought you only ate baked goods?” Well dear reader, snacks come in many forms, and limiting myself to the lovely yet limited world of baked snacks would be doing you, nay the world, a disservice.
I’m not much of a gambler. With my addictive personality, I fear that a few small wagers would lead me down a destructive path, ending in financial ruin and personal turmoil. I do like a bit of a flutter though, so instead of trading in currency, I use cultural ignorance. For me, gambling sees me head to my local Asian supermarket, buy an unknown snack with limited English descriptions, and eat it. As with regular gambling, sometimes you win (Yan Yan) and sometimes you lose (dolphin satay sticks).
Walnutmeats are the caramelised combination of walnut kernels, honey, sesame seeds, oil and glucose. Popular in both China and Korea (or so I’m led to believe), this “Super Quality Health Food” are a high density source of nutrients, including essential fatty acids. The snack is tasty, as expected, with a slightly airy mouth-feel. The crunchy caramel coating contrasts with the meaty centre, and leaves a smooth sugary sesame finish. As for The Best Food? Unlikely. No 1? Maybe not, but I’m definitely counting it as a win.
Choc-pecan turtle – ~$2.50 from The Fudge Shop
Now I’m no biologist, but I’ve seen a few turtles in my time. And none of them looked much like my most recent snacquisition, the choc-pecan turtle. To see if I was missing something, I turned to the internets, and discovered that ‘turtle candies get their name from their whimsical turtle shape’. It seems that once in the distant past, the snack we speak of did resemble our reptilian friend, but the people these days seem to have forgotten. For a more lifelike example, check out my good friend The Certified Pastry Aficionado (who’s certification I’m yet to see, but her recipes are good).
The turtle, as it exists today, is a combination of pecans, caramel, and chocolate. Ideally the caramel should be soft enough to bite through, but hard enough to hold everything together, so softer than a Fantale, but chewier than a Caramello Koala. The Fudge Shop, in the Harbourside mall at Darling Harbour sell three varieties of turtles, a no choc-all caramel, a white chocolate, and the classic chocolate, which is the subject of my judgement today.
Before eating my turtle, I was excited. Someone had combined my favourite nut with my favourite sweet, then covered it in chocolate. The stage was set for great new heights, or snack disappointment. On first bite, the chocolate cracked, the caramel squished, and the pecans crumbled, the perfect outcome. This is one of the best examples of caramel I’ve ever eaten, the perfect level of chewiness. Chocolate was nothing to write home about, but didn’t let the snack down. A good amount of pecans balanced the snack, cutting through the sweetness. A solid effort, but they need to work on the whimsy. Four stars.
Originality – Good
Execution – Good, but needs more turtle
Value – Excellent
Overall judgement: 4