In Australia, oldies like to reminisce about the old days when they watched ‘moving pictures’ at the local hall and rolled jaffas down the aisles.
Jaffas are not your jaffa cake biscuits, or the actual oranges, but rather ordinary lollies that like to be described as hard candy balls filled with orange-flavoured chocolate but really they were only worth throwing down onto the floor because chomping them wasn’t about to make the movie any more enjoyable.
South Australians, however, had a much better movie-going product to enjoy and puerile activities such as ‘jaffa rolling’ were shunned by all and sundry; especially when the snack food of choice was Fruchocs.
These gorgeous little orbs of delight are made by Robern Menz, who, serendipitously, happen to reside in the same postcode as me. Whenever I go running past their factory, I can easily tell from either the mint or warm, fruity chocolate flavours wafting outside whether they are making Crown Mints or Fruchocs. These brown balls of bliss were first introduced to South Aussies in 1948, and officially declared an ‘icon’ by the National Trust in 2005. Most of us wondered why the hell it took them so long – we’d all been imbibing them since moving on from mothers’ milk.
Whilst they do eerily resemble randy rabbit droppings, their deliciously moist, compact centres of real dried apricot and peach fruits covered in gourmet quality milk chocolate would no doubt leave their rabbit friends’ lettuce-leaf flavoured refuse severely wanting. They’re also finished off to a very attractively glossy perfection- again something ‘ol bugs bunny would be struggling to achieve during his ablutions.
Robern Menz’s advertising slogan has always been ‘Try eating one, bet you can’t stop’, and my hips and thighs remain constant visual reminders of this successful campaign.
Not that I am the only one. In fact, the day I bought a 150g packet (standard sized for one, believe it or not) from the student cafeteria downstairs and took this photo on our boardroom table, I was immediately swamped with the curious, the hungry, the politely hopeful and the downright greedy. Their sounds of salivation made it difficult to keep the camera correctly focused and I nearly contemplated swatting the crowds away with a king-sized bag of jaffas.
Luckily, my overflowing sense of goodwill and kindness took over and the bag was passed around (admittedly with me keeping an eagle eye to ensure that each Fruchoc fanatic only took one). This meant that there were at least a dozen left for me to melt, munch and mellow out to.
These babies were often the only things that kept me sitting through the entire screening of ‘My Own Private Idaho’, anything starring Nic Cage, John Travolta, Jean Claude Van Damme or ending with the numbers ‘2’, ‘3’ or ‘Return.’
My advice to you readers out there is that if you know of anyone heading Down Under – specifically to South Australia or our capital, dear Adelaide, get them to bring you back a bag or seven. You will become another drooling convert!