The Biscuiteer: Coles Creole Creams
Manufactured by: Coles
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these in the supermarket. As part of their “You’ll Love Coles” house brand – which is smug enough; how should they presume to know what I will or will not love? – Coles has lots of bargain-basement versions of popular biscuit varieties, such as “Cream Shorties” and “Chocolate Surrenders”.
These ones, I surmise, are Coles’s interpretation of America’s venerable Oreo. They have the same chocolate biscuit/vanilla cream combo and similar decorative mouldings. The name, too, I assume is meant to sound similar to ‘Oreo’, but it comes across as a particularly unfortunate intervention in the cultural politics of race.
In Louisiana, ‘Creole‘ refers to people of colonial French ancestry, but elsewhere it refers to racial and ethnic intermingling in colonial cultures. Perhaps it’s the sexual innuendo that my perpetually 14-year-old brain associates with the word ‘cream’ that makes this brown-and-white sandwich especially awkward. Did Coles want me to think about interracial sex as I ate their biscuit? It certainly adds a sexy subtext to the picture on the packet of “Kitty”, the lawn bowler who “enjoys the socialising as much as the bowls.” Can I get a “hell yeah”?
The racial inflection of ‘creole’ is extra unfortunate, given that ‘Oreo’ is an ideologically loaded slang term that refers to people of African ancestry with so-called ‘white’ tastes and behaviours. (Similar terms are ‘coconut’, which refers variously to people of subcontinental or Hispanic ancestry, and ‘banana’, which refers to those of Asian ancestry.) Calling someone an ‘oreo’ implies that they’re hypocritical and self-hating because they are not performing their race ‘properly’. Often, it also suggests that tastes for elite culture are ‘white’, and tastes for popular or folk culture are ‘black’.
I really doubt Coles gave its Creole Creams nearly as much thought as I have just done. So on to the biscuit itself. Not nearly as dark in colour as an Oreo, which is almost grey-black, the hard biscuit is a warm chocolate brown colour and has a pleasingly intricate pattern.
The picture on the packet suggests that the cream comes all the way up to the edges of the biscuit, but much as food product photography bears little relation to the actual food, the Creole Cream itself was not nearly as extensive – or as creamy – as this. It had the crumbly consistency of icing, and was a miserly glob in the middle of the biscuit, leaving a wide margin of empty chocolate biscuit.
Perhaps due to this structural shortcoming, a Creole Cream tends to break instantly when bitten, as the edges of the two biscuits crumple towards each other. It also breaks when subjected to the Oreo ‘twist test’, because the cream is brittle rather than soft.
However, the Creole Cream is best disassembled to be eaten, because the double sandwich is joylessly dry on the palate. Attempts to soften it up by dunking failed dismally when I tried, because the cream disintegrates and the biscuit falls apart almost as soon as it’s immersed.
The sandwiching cream has a smooth texture on the tongue, but its taste is truly extraordinary – that is, it has no taste. I tasted it several times to be sure, searching for a sweetness or a vanilla flavour, but it appears completely devoid of flavour. It is a mere sandwiching paste.
The biscuit itself has a more distinct chocolatey flavour, but not a full flavour such as the Choc Ripple biscuit has. It’s more insipid, a hint of chocolate.
This is the kind of biscuit I would expect to find in the dreary, suburban office kitchen of a company that sells photocopiers, or perhaps at a parent/teacher night at an underfunded government school. Now that I know what it tastes like, I would be embarrassed to serve it to people at my house, and it certainly isn’t the kind of biscuit I’d keep in the cupboard as a ‘treat’. Whether or not it’s offensively named, it’s really not worth the few extra cents you save by purchasing a generic brand.
- The Biscuiteer: Milk Chocolate Wheaten In the first of our occasional biscuit review columns, we...