The Iced VoVo is a sweet biscuit first made by Arnott’s around 1904. It has two strips of pink icing and a strip of jam on top and is covered in desiccated coconut. Sales of the biscuit were boosted when Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, referred to it in his victory speech after the 2007 election, saying: “Friends, tomorrow, the work begins. You can have a strong cup of tea if you want, even an Iced VoVo on the way through. But the celebration stops there.”
Arnott’s describes the Iced VoVo as “a treasured golden biscuit topped with pink fondant, a strip of jammy raspberry and a sprinkling of coconut. It’s an Australian icon since 1906!” But that’s not entirely accurate. Although Arnott’s trademarked the name Iced VoVo in 1906, an advertisement for “Arnott’s Famous Newcastle Biscuits” published in 1904 mentions the VoVo as ‘delicious and dainty”.
A New Zealander has claimed that Aulsebrook’s, a Kiwi biscuit company established in the 1860s, was the first to make Iced VoVos. He couldn’t resist a little gloating about the pavlova at the same time. However, after a little more research, he has conceded that Arnott’s may have a stronger case.
There are other claimants as well. A descendent of the founders of Hardmans Biscuits, a long-vanished Sydney biscuit company, suggested that his ancestors produced the biscuits before Arnotts. However, some inconsistencies in their story leave this open to doubt. Arnott’s were advertising VoVos decades before they acquired Hardmans in 1946. It all makes a good story. You can read more about it on the blog, longwhitekid.
For an all-Australian dessert with a difference, you could always try an Iced VoVo pavlova. You mix up the meringue as usual, then add the crushed biscuits along with pink food colouring. My teeth ache just thinking about it.