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Wake Me Up Before You Vovo


The Iced Vovo brand was registered in 1906. According to the Wikipedia stub, it’s “a wheat flour biscuit topped with a strip of pink fondant either side of a strip of raspberry jam and sprinkled with coconut. It is a product of the American-owned Australian-based biscuit company Arnott's.

When I was a kid, before your fancy Melting Moments and Triple Choc Chip cookies became de rigeur; before we developed the American habit of buying cookie dough; before you could purchase a dozen huge, soft cookies for a couple of bucks at Coles, we had a thing called the biscuit.

Fancy biscuits were in short supply. You could always find a Nice or a Granita or a Milk Arrowroot. These were okay. They were the solid mainstay of the bikkie tin; the Chips Rafferty, the EH Holden, the rotary Hills Hoist of Australian biscuitry. Their ready availability was the result of your canny mother's foresight. She would supply the average ones and only bring out the good ones when absolutely necessary.

Cream biscuits were a luxury, although we only really liked the Hydrocream because it hinted at chocolate. This was the distant Australian cousin of the now dominant Oreo. Iced Vovos were not too common either. Despite their demure pink and coconut appearance, they were somehow "out there", flashing an ankle amongst the staid Victorianism of rectangular, dry, non-cream biscuits. I remember hearing of Tim Tams, but I knew they were for wealthy children whose parents drove vehicles with shiny chrome trim and automatic windows.

Recently, I began to fear that perhaps that Iced Vovos had disappeared from our Australian landscape. Perhaps the US-owned Arnott’s folks, didn’t see their retro magic, wouldn’t appreciate a biscuit that seemed about as a hip as a Toni Home Permanent. So I went on Facebook and asked some friends. I found their responses comforting. (Thanks for these FB pals!)
  • Ha! My parents had a housewarming party the other day and they were there, if that helps
  • I see them on the shelf of my local IGA all the time. I actually almost bought some the other day, but went for Triple Wafers instead.
  • They sell these at the local IGA down the road it's hard to decide between these and fly cemeteries.
  • I have never bought a packet of iced vovo's, but when I think of Australian biscuits, they're right behind Anzac bikkies. I can't remember the last time I ate any though..
  • I don't think I ever ate them. Wasn't really my thing. Was more into assorted creams or tim tams. Sorry no help there! Just felt like commenting
  • I tried them once. Took me an hour to pick all the coconut off so I didn't bother again.
  • Important things about iced vovo's: the marshmallow bits used to be more round and puffy. Now they are deflated.
  • I have never had one. Yes you heard me correctly. Never. This had caused a lifetime of feeling unfulfilled...
Cheered by this news, I transacted the purchase of a packet. I savoured the taste of history. I lingered over the flavour of the Wide Brown Land. I imagined gum trees, beaches, the songs of Jimmy Little, the Vice Regal smile of Quentin Bryce, the feel of the lid of a Willow Ware container popping open to reveal slices of beetroot. I had a vision of a long vanished nation where fruit slices were called fly cemeteries and vanilla slices were snot blocks. Every bite was as emotional as Peter Allen’s ballad Tenterfield Saddler or Karl Stefanovic the morning after the Logies.

Why nor buy an Iced Vovo today? Don’t remain unfulfilled a moment longer.

Note: The Arnott's company were not consulted in the writing of this blog post, however, I would be happy to receive free Vovos. Just putting it out there.

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