Those of you in South Australia can think yourselves lucky. And you are incredibly lucky, but maybe you do not recognize it the way those of us who are formerly South Australian know and understand it. Yes, we can sometimes get a Vili’s pasty. In fact I buy boxes of 12 pasties at a time, from a local cash and carry type place.
Yes, Farmers Union Iced Coffee is available in other states now, even in a 2 litre container in the supermarket. Yes, some Beerenberg products can be found by us on various shelves around the place from time to time.
But the list of things we cannot experience unless actually present in your state is long. I would love a proper Vili’s sprinkled donut SO MUCH. I miss the soup of the day at the Vili’s Cafe. I miss my Barnacle Bills. Crazy as it might sound you cannot get anything comparable here in NSW. My go-to was the two in one snack pack. Fishettes, I miss you! And those sweet, juicy prawns.
Until a year or so ago, I could easily get a Fruchoc here. But with Coles recent booting of many items from the shelves and other stores revising their ranges, it became harder to find them. One recent weekend I tried everywhere I could think of, only to fail. The reason I was looking was because I had found a site with a recipe for Fruchocs and I was hungry for them, but not hungry enough to actually make them myself. Or so I thought.
Once I failed at finding them on the shelves, I had no choice. I had to make them. But even that was more difficult than I expected. The recipe called for dried apricots and pears. Dried apricots are somewhat easy but I did not want ones from Turkey as I find them to be flavourless, I wanted Aussie dried apricots and not a single store I went to had those. Dried pears seemed to be an absolute impossibility. I tried Aldi, Woolworths, IGA, Coles, the local fruit and veg shops, nothing. Though I did find some yoghurt covered fruit bites at IGA which satisfied my craving momentarily.
Imagine my surprise when the answer to all my searching was the Berry Treat Factory. Like many unexpected answers it arrived as a surprise in a local group where someone was looking for some pickling salt, and another member suggested to look in the downstairs area of the Berry Treat Factory.
That’s funny, I thought. I did not know they had a downstairs area. It turned out after over 10 years of living here I had never been to the REAL Berry Treat Factory which is off the main street and hidden away behind the train station, at the very back of some commercial units.
Did they have Fruchocs? No, that would have been too much to hope for. They did have a lot of chocolate covered items like sultanas and nuts. Most importantly in the famed downstairs area they did have Aussie apricots AND dried pears, which I had almost feared I would never find anywhere. They also had a huge range of all kinds of awesome treats. We will be going back, time and again.
This recipe seemed easy but it is the most difficult thing I have ever made. There are no photos of the process, I was too busy! I need a better food processor. I need something that can chop up dried fruits without needing liquid added. I ended up giving up on my food processor and using a blender. Unfortunately this did not work especially well, even with melted coconut oil added. I tried adding water to get these two ingredients to blend together and all that happened for the most part was the dried fruits soaked up the water. This was a happy accident to be honest because the end result is so deliciously juicy. I would definitely add water to the dried fruits again!
I also used Nestle dark cooking chocolate mixed with some Aldi dark chocolate with sea salt, melting the two together to make an unbeatable combination of awesomeness. Next time I would double chocolate coat them. And once we were done coating fruchocs, we coated some caramel peanuts and some of my Wasabi and Seaweed Macadamia nuts which turned out great.
It would have been easier and probably cheaper to just order some Fruchocs and have them shipped to me. It seems you can now get them in a dark chocolate coating and that would be my pick I expect.
I did once try to enquire if it would be possible to purchase some Barnacle Bills prawns in a frozen state so I could cook them for my mother, for her birthday. Nobody ever replied to my email. This is probably a good thing because if I could get them I would order several trucks worth.