184 0

Part 1: Italy

The idea for extruded rice and corn snacks originated in the USA in the 1940s, as an offshoot of cornmeal animal food, believe it or not. There are lots of different knobbly extruded snacks around the world, including Cheewees and Cheetos in the USA, Cheezies in Canada and Nik Naks in the UK. But the most famous has to be Twisties...they are iconic in Australia and copied or made under licence in many countries.

In Italy, Twisties are called Fonzies. They were introduced in the 1980s and are made under licence from Australia. The packaging has the same design as Twisties, but the name of another Aussie snack, Fonzies - which were smoky cheese balls. (Fonzies are still around today, called Cheetos Cheese and Bacon Balls). There is no W in the Italian language, so Twisties may have been difficult to pronounce, hence the choice of Fonzies...which were named after the tough guy in the sitcom Happy Days.

Fonzie's were produced in cheese flavour only...there was no chicken variety. The snacks themselves are very pale yellow because the flavouring powder doesn't have orange food colouring in it. They taste of stronger Continental cheese than the Aussie original.

Occasionally Fonzies has released limited-edition flavours including Bacon and Hot Chilli...

There was a limited edition Zombie flavour. This came in a black bag and was actually a spicy tomato flavour. They were quite tasty and were a dark red colour. Cheese Fonzies are also sold in large cups.

Part 2: Malta

In Malta, Twisties are called Twistees or Tastees. They were introduced in the early 1970s, initially in cheese flavour only. I believe they were an unlicensed copy of Australian Twisties, as they had a different style of packaging and the name being spelled slightly differently, with double EE.

May be an image of food

The Cheesy flavour comes in a brown bag with a gold stripe and a chef mascot. They taste quite similar to the Aussie original. Later a second variety was brought out, these were also Cheesy flavour, but the low fat / low salt version - these come in a red pack.

I have heard there are Barbecue and Chicken 🐔 Twistees, and they aren't on the company website, so perhaps they were limited edition or discontinued lines.

There is also a Bacon 🥓 flavour variety, but these are sold under a different name: Tastees. Other than the flavour, they are the same as Twistees, and have a meaty bacon taste. They come in a alternate style of bag in brown and yellow with a cartoon bacon rasher mascot.

Twistees are not widely available in Europe, but they are exported to the Middle East, where they are all branded as Tastees...possibly to avoid confusion with the authentic licensed Twisties from Malaysia


Leave a Comment

Related News