Australia, the Land Down Under, is so fabulous it is its own continent!
Australia has given the world some pretty wonderful gifts — kangaroos, Ugg boots, koalas, vegemite, and the opportunity to randomly yell, “The dingo stole my baby!”
Other treats-to-the-world from Australia include The Wiggles, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Anthony LaPaglia (that actor on CBS’s Without A Trace, to whom if you listen very closely you will hear a slight Australian lilt in his fake New York accent), and Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.
I was in Australia for about 48 hours back in 1991. Some customs officials in shorts and ridiculously high knee socks manhandled everything in my suitcase and dumped my undergarments out for everyone to see. (Not that I hold that against Australia as a nation/continent or anything. It was totally the fault of a boy named Mike who tried to bring a dead bird into their country. But that’s another story.)
My 48 hours, give or take a few hours, in Australia were filled with very Australian things — grocery shopping at Woolworths, buying kangaroo-shaped earrings, buying a sarong in an Australian shopping mall, and playing cards while my eventual-husband overflowed a dishwasher with soap bubbles. Ok, so those aren’t exactly Australian things to do. I didn’t go on a walkabout. I didn’t play the didgeridoo. I didn’t even snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef (which I had the opportunity to do & which is one of my greatest regrets in life).
The one thing I did not experience in Australia — the one thing I did not know I was missing out on, until recently — the one thing that I think far surpasses all the previously listed gifts from Australia — is the Tim Tam!
Tim Tams are, in their own words, the original chocolate biscuit. Now, here in the States, we don’t understand the beauty of the word “biscuit.” I mean, I love our biscuits, all fluffy and buttermilky and smothered in sausage gravy. But, seriously, our biscuits are not sweet, little, melt-in-your-mouth bits of cookie-deliciousness. And that is what the Tim Tam is.
Wikipedia describes the Tim Tam with these words, “A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.” Go ahead, read those words again, let your mouth water.
How did I miss out on this delectable treat during my entire lengthy stay in Australia? Normally, 48 hours is enough time for me to sniff out the best chocolate treats. Alas, I have only recently discovered these tasty little biscuits — which is probably just as well since I don’t think I can actually purchase them here in the States. World Market doesn’t even sell them. What’s up with that?
So how did I get the one package of Tim Tams that are hidden behind my coffee filters, the one package I will NOT be sharing with my children (I’d gladly give them a kidney, but I am not handing over the world’s best chocolate biscuit)? Some NTM missionaries from Australia came to do some work with my husband and his department, and they brought these along as gifts. We should probably consider hosting Australian missionaries on a regular basis. The admission fee would be a case of Tim Tams.
So, there you have it. Better than Ugg boots, better than those cute little joeys hopping around, better than Russell Crowe (even if he is one of People’s most beautiful people), better than Outback Steakhouse (c’mon, that’s real Australia, right?) —- Tim Tams, the original chocolate biscuit.
Now, do I have any Australian readers who’d like to make an exchange? What’s a US treat you can’t purchase Down Under? Pop tarts? Reese’s peanut butter cups? I’ll be happy to mail you some American goodie if you mail me some Tim Tams.
And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Australia, the beautiful, vast, continent-country. Thank you for the original chocolate biscuit.