In case you hadn’t noticed it’s the Fourth of July. So what better way to celebrate the independence of America from Britannia than the most un-English pudding I’ve bought in yonks? I’m talking, of course, about the Choco Softie Mallow Wafer Bucket.
I kid you not, Ogglers. It may look like the kind of thing you’d store beneath your kitchen sink, but it is, in fact, a bucket filled with sugary treats. No expense spared on logos, fancy packaging or even a catchy name: just a humble plastic bucket of wafers, so anonymous it looks sordid – kind of like the entrance to a sex shop.
Now, in case you were wondering why on earth I bought this plastic monstrosity (600g of chocolate-covered wafers in a container bigger than my head), let me give you a spot of background.
Firstly (and this might not come as a great surprise to many of you), I bought this bucket from Lidl’s supermarket, home to all that is weird and wonderful by way of European imports.
In case you’ve never been there yourself, let me assure you that Lidl is rammed with this kind of stuff: things that look strange and suspiciously cheap, but are usually quite delicious.
Having dined on their apricot lebkuchen squares (fabulous) and swooned over their spiced chocolate almonds (ditto), I know how good these things can be – in other words, don’t judge a pud by its packet (especially not when that packet’s bucket-shaped – something you regulars know I’m quite keen on).
Anyway, the biggest motivation I had to buy this was not the Lidl brand, nor the fantasy of dining in true Hog fashion – or that it cost a reasonable £3.49. It wasn’t even the promise of a product without ‘artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners’ (no matter how good that promise is).
It was the three little words on the side which won me over: ‘Suitable for Vegetarians.’
As many of you will be aware, much of my life as a Pud-Hog has been spent in search of elusive gelatin-free marshmallows. As a result, on the rare occasions I find some for sale, I pretty much have to try them.
And so it was, that before I really knew what I was doing, the Choco Softie Mallow Wafer Bucket was mine.
Nestled within, on the other side of that sketchy blurred plastic exterior, was a medley of exotic treats, none of which I’d ever seen before.
With four different types to choose from, I prepared myself to embark on a pioneering voyage. The stakes were high – I was lumbered with 600g of the stuff, after all. If I decided I didn’t like them, they could be quite hard to shift…
In the safety of the Hog-House, I opened the bucket up, quaking with the thrill of the unknown. The first thing I learnt? Things were going to get sticky – and fast. These mallows weren’t as solid as they looked – not like the filling of a pink wafer biscuit – more like those jars of Fluff you can buy from the States.
Not that that’s a bad thing…
I worked through the flavours one by one, choosing to save the most intriguing (i.e. the white chocolate-covered blob) for last.
Soon, with a bite of the milk chocolate-covered oblong, I had had my first taste of wafer. Like a cross between paper and cardboard, it sadly lacked the crunch I’d hoped to hear.
Nevertheless, I found it oddly comforting, and the white mallow filling helped make up for the minor disappointment. Springy, squidgy and sweet, it oozed from each edge with every bite. In a matter of seconds I’d gobbled it up, enjoying myself despite the cheap quality chocolate.
Next was the coconut oblong: a double-layer of mallow sandwiched between three wafers, covered again in the same lacklustre milk chocolate. You know my thoughts on dessicated coconut (in a word: ambivalent), and it felt kind of arbitrary here, with such a light scattering you could barely taste or feel it.
Even so, to eat such a thick wedge of wafer in one was extremely luxurious as experiences go – almost slutty, if I’m honest.
The filth continued with a gnaw on the fruity pink/white concoction (possibly flavoured with strawberry – hard to tell among all that sweetness and paper).
Then I moved on to the white chocolate blob.
It had to be the best one, didn’t it? The one that I had only three of. Only three in a whole giant bucket.
Alas and alack.
Still, I suppose three is better than none (even if the other two did get squashed in transit). After all, these were the kinds of mallows I’d hoped for: a great big mouthful of chocolate and fluff, with only a small piece of wafer to spoil the fun. Gone too quickly, I wish I’d had more in my bucket to play with.
Instead I have about 530g of oblong treats to go.
This voyage could take me a while…