There was a little confusion regarding this product when I first mentioned them to my girlfriend. Crown cheese biscuits, or crackers as some people might call them, had written on the box the words ‘뽀또’, which I instantly read as ‘bbo-ddo’ – or ‘board’. Thus, cheese board. But apparently it’s not that at all. One should, as I’m told, read it as ‘ppo-tto’, which is a unique example of Korean onomatopoeia; the sound one makes when biting into these delicious biscuits. Still, let’s refer to it as a happy coincidence and a clever example of dual-meaning.
A common snack in Korea, I immediately took these for an Eastern version of Ritz crackers, a comparison I would soon learn was not too far off from the reality. For those of you who haven’t had Ritz biscuits (do you people exist?), you may have to bear with me when I speak with some assumed familiarity.
So these biscuits are effectively two Ritz crackers stuck on a small cheese centre. I say cheese, but the flavour is something a little different. I really can’t tell you what it is, though the cheese flavour, as most of us know it, is very thin indeed; to what remains I have yet to draw an apt comparison. The texture is almost identical to Ritz: somewhat soft, a rough texture on the surface; yet soon melts in your mouth. I guess the sensation you might typically associate with a biscuit is here not present; it’s very much two soft crackers, with a soft filling between them. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a similar product in the U.K.
I have to say – and quite unusually – that this is a product I wasn’t too overjoyed with. They certainly weren’t bad, in that I had to eject them from my mouth like a Frisbee onto the plate; but they were forgettable. Korean cheese does have a reputation of being sub-standard (it being mostly in the ‘plastic’ slice form); but for a nation that doesn’t produce or consume a great deal of ‘real’ cheese, this certainly isn’t a slight. The centre simply isn’t that flavoursome, and ultimately falls flat.
I’ve eaten one of the two packs in the box so far. For my second box, I may buy some Ritz and a slab of nice extra mature cheddar, fashion my own cheese board, and then go to town. I have no doubt it’ll be superior; but in all fairness that would be moving the goalposts somewhat. Being something of a cheese connoisseur however, the disappointment I felt with this product was a little more than a shake of the head an enervated 실망이야…