The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #14: Who keeps asking for L&P fusion foods?

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today: Natasha Hoyland can’t comprehend the L&P fusion food craze.

I ask myself this time and time again: why do New Zealanders become so obsessed with such mediocre, often quite frankly shitty things? I’m looking at you, L&P chocolate.

Another mediocre thing people went crazy about was Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk, and it was good but it wasn’t as good as the internet told you it was. I once got a whole audience of shocked gasps at a comedy gig in Mt Eden when I told them it was overrated. Someone in the audience was like: “give us some better flavours, then!” so I did. I read out a whole list to them:

Milk flavours that would be better and more interesting than chocolate milk:

  • Banana (like seriously, can’t believe they haven’t done that yet)
  • Earl Grey
  • Oreo McFlurry
  • Britomart Country Club
  • Chicken Nugget
  • Jacinda Ardern

I even got death threats online when I made this dumb tweet three years ago, upon its release.

This was not me attacking Lewis Road Creamery, this was me attacking people who thought that the chocolate milk was their God. It’s chocolate milk, get over yourselves.

LEAVE. L&P. ALONE.

The original L&P is glorious, delicious, and a genuinely top 5 drink. So why do people think they need to improve on it? A lot of people on Twitter seem to agree: STOP MAKING L&P FUSION FOODS!

Let’s look at the culprits.

First off, we had that horrific chocolate by Whittaker’s which combined white chocolate with L&P flavoured popping candy. Don’t get me wrong, Whittaker’s are great when they are good. Cornflake slabs? GENIUS. Those milk chocolate birds with the popping candy in them? AMAZING. And in fact, I think if both the white chocolate and the L&P flavoured popping candy were two separate products, I may have even had a good time. 

One night each week when I am lying in bed, not being able to sleep, I set some time aside specifically to try to think of how this ‘creation’ (I don’t even think it deserves that word) came to be. While making white chocolate one day, did Nigella Lawson just vom some L&P into the mix? Did someone hear a child say “Milk milk lemonade, ‘round the corner chocolate’s made” and then start rubbing their hands together like a fly as they considered the prospect of mashing all those things together? If the similarities to the children’s rhyme are intentional, is this product just an allegory for actual shit? Did I just crack some sort of code?

Regardless of if I’ve revealed the dark secrets of the trade or not, the L&P chocolate is no longer on store shelves (to my knowledge). Thank goodness.

Then we got L&P Sour Lemon. I don’t even know what to say about this one. I mean, it did do what it said, it was sour L&P. But who wants that? Who wants a sour drink? If I wanted a sour drink I’d leave a Zombie Chew out in the sun for 20 minutes, or I don’t know, eat an actual lemon.

Next we had L&P Chilli and Lime gracing our bus stops and shelves, and this was honestly just a waste of time. At first I was a bit afraid to try it because I expected it to be real spicy, and I’m a disgrace to my Thai ancestors because I’m kind of a bit of a sook when it comes to spice. I gave it to my boyfriend to try first, because he loves spicy things, and he just stared back at me weirdly. “This is just L&P flavoured L&P” he told me. I tried it, and he was absolutely right. On opening the bottle, you can smell the tiniest hint of lime, but when you taste it you get nothing. A tiny bit if you think hard enough and convince yourself psychologically. I don’t know if it was just a bad batch or if all of it is just a scam and there’s no actual chilli in the drink. Was not like “getting kicked by a baby donkey” at all, and I feel ripped off.

Then just recently, we got the Griffin’s L&P bikkie. Soon after its release, Griffin’s had a very odd competition on their Facebook page to win some. I don’t know what we did to deserve this, but obviously something bad.

I don’t even know what this MEANS. They’re asking how to get the L&P into the biscuit, right? How are you suppose to trust a company who doesn’t even know how to make their own biscuits? And let me tell you, the comments section on this post is probably the most fucked up thing I’ve ever seen:

“I’d use my mum’s pressure cooker to get the flavour in. Certainly worked to get the celery flavour also into the potatoes….”

“I would get up at 5am every day to milk the lemons”

“Infuse with garden hose and pump”

“Modified sewing machine”

“My daughter would poke her little finger into the soft, melty chocolate to make the little holes and then suck up some l&p in a straw and then blow some back out to fill all the holes up!” (I’m sorry, but what?)

“I would go for a bouncy ride in the truck with my hubby”

And one said “I would simply give it to you, the experts – then enjoy the labours of your work!” THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

Man, people of the internet are crazy and kind of scary! But despite this weird as hell marketing ploy, it did convince me to go out and buy a pack immediately. Griffins 1, Natasha 0.

Honestly, I really really did not know what to expect with these biscuits. I browsed the comments on the Griffin’s Facebook page from people that had already tried it.

“Tastes like a neenish tart” was the comment that got me to finally open the packet.

The verdict: it’s actually okay. This is probably the one L&P fusion that I have not 100% hated. It’s quite sweet, but then again most in the Griffin’s range are and you love them because of that. The commenter was right, it was a bit like a neenish tart. Not a slight trace of L&P flavour, though. Then I got a bite of the sour jelly bit. Nothing prepared me for that, like when someone you don’t like saddles up next to you at a party. It didn’t really taste of L&P at all, just sour lemon. I got a headache 10 minutes later, but I’m not sure if that correlates to the biscuit. Overall, I’ve only eaten 2 and they were okay, but I don’t think I’d buy them again. Please let this be the death of L&P fusion foods.

LEAVE. L&P. ALONE.

 

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