Tim Tams vs Penguins: you decide

January's Aussie-tastic Gin of the Month box

January's Aussie-tastic Gin of the Month box

Our January Gin of the Month box was a celebration of the taste of Australia, so we can’t let Australia Day (26th January) pass without mention!

As well as the delicious The Sabre from The West Winds Gin that our members were treated to, we also snuck a little extra treat in there in the form of Australia’s unofficial national snack – the Tim Tam.

Our members certainly seem to have been enjoying their samples, and Tim Tams have been known to inspire patriotism of epic proportions in Australian nationals – especially expats who can no longer easily access their favourite treat in the UK.

But is the Tim Tam really all that? More specifically, is it better than UK snack stalwart, the Penguin, to which it bears more than a passing resemblance?

Well, here at Craft Gin Club we never shirk from tackling the truly crucial questions, so we’ve decided to try and solve this conundrum once and for all. Check out our assessment of the merits of both tasty treats, then cast your vote in our poll below to have your say. May the best biscuit win!



An old Penguin advert (pre-1964)

An old Penguin advert (pre-1964)

Tim Tams first appeared on the market in 1964 – the same year, in fact, that McVitie’s acquired the Penguin brand. However, Penguins had already been produced since 1932 by William McDonald, a biscuit manufacturer in Glasgow.

What’s more, the inventor of the Tim Tam, Ian Norris, has admitted that the Penguin directly inspired the Aussie snack. In 1958, while working for Tim Tam’s makers Arnott’s, he embarked on a world tour to find new product ideas. In Britain, he came across the Penguin: "I thought that was not a bad idea for a biscuit ... we'll make a better one."



A dizzying array of Tim Tam flavours.

A dizzying array of Tim Tam flavours.

While Penguins keep things classic with Original, Orange, Mint and Toffee flavours, Tim Tams have a history of experimenting with flavours, including a foray into booze-flavoured biscuits with Tia Maria and Kahlua varieties a few years ago.

Tim Tams currently lists five ‘Classic’ and five ‘Limited Edition’ flavours on its website - and there are new ones popping up all the time. With current choices including Red Velvet and Peanut Butter, we’re going to have to concede that when it comes to variety, Tim Tams edge it.



And so we come down to the all-important questions of flavour – which one would you rather munch on?

Containing more sugar and salt, the Tim Tam has an intense chocolatey flavour and the light, buttery filling is delicious. The filling of a Penguin is a little firmer, but has a fantastic chocolatey hit.

Tim Tams also have a lighter, more open-textured biscuit than Penguins – something that may be of assistance in performing the famous ‘Tim Tam slam’, but to our British nashers can leave it feeling a little insubstantial. I certainly wouldn’t trust a Tim Tam for a proper tea dunk, for example.

Overall, both biscuits have their own virtues – we’re finding it impossible to choose. It’s a draw!



With two points a piece, we call it a draw! Oh dear. That will never do...can you help us determine the winner in the battle of the biscuits? 

Cast your vote in our poll below now to have your say:

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