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17 July 2011

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Phil - My favourites are Chocolate Olivers. Sadly not available anymore, except in the US. I think Jacobs used to make them in the UK.

Imagine a Wopa covered in thick bitter dark chocolate!

And Paradise export to Oz -

http://esvc000267.wic050u.server-web.com/products_healthy.php

Though not the same as the good PNG product.

The precursor to the Wopa was a Navy biscuit that was a standard issue on patrol posts. If your boots wore out on patrol you could re-shoe them with the biscuits.

We also used to get supplied with boxes of black Chinese tea which made an excellent brew.

I also have a soft spot for patrol issue soap. People in the Star Mountains used to eat it mixed up with the vegetable seeds the didimen gave us to issue.

The Oz equivalent of the Wopa is probably the Bush Biscuit, a sort of huge Milk Arrowroot. They were big with boy scouts and other hikers. Arnotts in PNG was making them for a while and exporting them to Australia.

Some interesting history about Paradise Foods (who make Wopa's) from their web site.

Paradise Foods Limited is the oldest established food manufacturing business in PNG and employs many hundreds of people in Papua New Guinea.

In the early 1930's two men, Robert McEwan and Captain RO Mant, had bakeries in Wau and Salamaua in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea.

Captain Mant was a pilot and found that flying didn't leave him enough time to properly manage his bakery, so in 1937 they became partners and 'Scotty' McEwan managed the new company called Morobe Bakery Pty Ltd.

Later that year the first 'Morobeen' brand biscuits were produced using an oil-fired oven. McEwan made the biscuit cutting machine by adapting an old pie-making machine.

World War II interrupted their business, but after the war they both returned and Morobe Bakery resumed operations in Lae.

The company grew steadily and in 1970 they built a new factory on the present site in Lae, and in 1972 Arnott's Biscuits (Australia) Pty Ltd bought a majority share in the company.

Paradise Bakery started business in Rabaul in 1948 when the Wong family ran a small bakery as part of their cafe. Mr. Wong started baking 'Navy' biscuits, cutting the biscuits by hand.

Demand for Paradise Navy biscuits rapidly increased so shipments were begun to the mainland. By 1967 they were so popular that the Wong family decided to build a biscuit factory in Port Moresby.

Then in 1982 they built another factory in Lae, giving Paradise Bakery a national production and distribution network.

In 1992, Arnott's Biscuits Limited, (a fully owned company of Campbell's Soups (USA)) purchased Paradise Bakery. Resulting in a company called Arnott's Biscuits (PNG) Pty Ltd being officially formed, this was bringing together the original and famous 'Morobeen' and 'Paradise' biscuit brands into one company.

The people of Papua New Guinea, through two National Superannuation funds, the Public Officers Superannuation Fund Limited and the Defence Force Retirement Benefits Fund combined owned 20% of the newly formed Arnott's Biscuits (PNG) Pty Ltd, with Arnott's Biscuits Limited owning the remaining 80%.

A new factory was built and opened in the Nations Capital, Port Moresby in 1995 and to commemorate this, the popular 'Arrow' brand was re-launched on to the market.

Campbell's / Arnott's injected both fresh capital and biscuit manufacturing expertise into the new venture, elevating the business to an international standard, and in addition to servicing the PNG domestic market, also began exporting the products to Australia and throughout the South Pacific.

In July 2007, Campbell's/Arnott's sold their shares to the other two shareholders in the business, Nambawan Super and Comrade Trustees Services Limited and the name of the company changed to Paradise Foods Limited, making the business not only 100% PNG owned, but also owned by Papua New Guineans.

Trevor - True, but we found this in Newcastle, so maybe there's hope for Aussie kids yet.

The popularity of hard biscuits in PNG is something of a puzzle. Maybe it goes back to ships biscuits?

Also of course they last much longer than bread or soft biscuits and are easier to transport.

Sorry, Rose, but this is not an original recipe. Our school Christmas parties in Pagei always included this recipe and together with a sweet cup of tea proved to be a favourite. Australian children don't know what they are missing.

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