Review: Biofino Play Sandwiches from Haba

Pretend food and kitchen supplies are one of the best toy investments. Memory fails me, but I know my daughter was punching the keypad on her pretend microwave by 16 months and at 4.5-years-old she’s still cooking up a storm.

Now with an 8-month-old son, I’m finally banishing plastic and restocking the kitchen with wood and fabric food that will be enjoyed for years. And that brings us to these two wonderful items…

Biofino Sandwich by Haba. It’s the one on the left in the photo above. It’s fabric! Polyester to be exact. No more stacking slabs of plastic together and holding your sandwich like a vice grip so the contents don’t go flying out en masse. [Note: the sandwich is temporarily out of stock. Oompa Toys expects more on Monday or Tuesday, Dec. 1-2.]

This sandwich holds together and can be clenched like the real thing. Inside you get:

  • 2 slices of deli meat (could pass as turkey or chicken, but is probably liverwurst)
  • 2 slices of salami (or pepperoni)
  • 2 slices of American cheese
  • 2 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 1 tomato slice (imprinted on one side)
  • 1 leaf of crinkly-sounding lettuce.

It’s all bound together by 2 slices of pillowy thick white bread that contain magnets sewn inside. The magnets will hold the bread together, but won’t hold the sandwich together once you add all of your sandwich ingredients. It’s good for pretend slicing though.

The real power with this sandwich is how it differs from most play food.

First, the Swiss cheese slices are thinner than the deli meat slices, and both are thinner than the tomato slice. In other words, realistic. Try that with plastic food and you get an unwieldy tall, difficult to handle sandwich because all the slabs are thicker than what can be accomplished with fabric.

Second, ask my daughter to make a cake or lasagna or another complex dish and you’ll see a tremendous overlap in ingredients because she doesn’t know most of what goes into a recipe. But with this sandwich she can build a main course without any form of guidance.

If you buy this sandwich, be prepared for many pretend restaurant sessions.

To make multiple sandwiches you could buy a loaf of bread and sliced lunch meats and cut slices of cheese from felt (I don’t see a separate cheese packet sold by Haba).

Biofino Doner Kebab by Haba. Or gyro. Or as we say in California, a pita sandwich. Heck, it could even pass as a soft taco with very unusual contents. Find it on the right in the photo above. It’s polyester too, but the wrap has the feel of a plush cotton towel.

Inside you’ll find:

  • 4 pieces of lamb meat (chicken strips or whatever you want to call the brown ingredients)
  • 4 onion slices
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 3 pepperoncini (which I assumed were snap peas)
  • 19 strands of cabbage (lettuce strips, maybe the precise number varies per package).

This gyro looks and holds together nicely like the real thing.

Three magnets sewn inside the fabric hold one end of the clam shell bread together, allowing your sandwich to remain enticingly visible on the other side.

Both sandwiches are rated for 3-years-old. Apparently the concern is a younger toddler trying to eat the food, which I could see being an issue with the smallest pieces such as sliced onions, or a toddler who still mouths everything. Looking around, I’m surprised to learn that virtually all play food is rated for 3-year-olds. I’m such a bad parent.

Find both of these toys at Wisconsin-based web store Oompa Toys. Wear a bib because there’s plenty to drool over. Oompa is where I’m restocking our kitchen for Christmas. Skip the usual food kits most stores sell because they never have everything you’d like and you certainly pay for things you don’t want.

Oompa has food kits, of course, but you can also buy individual food items, and dare to dream, several of the same item if you wish. And you may very well find things simply not available elsewhere, such as cherries or sliced pineapple.

I’ll review several more food items later this week…

Yeah, I let her play with the food for a day, then it went into exile until the big unveil at Christmas… just one of the little oddities of having a blogger dad. Most of our kitchen makeover will be completely new to her. I’m sharing some of the especially unusual items, such as the Haba sandwiches, with you a little early.


7 Responses to “Review: Biofino Play Sandwiches from Haba”

  1. Mindy says:

    Thanks for the review! It inspired a post of my own: :)

    November 25th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

  2. Christy says:

    Those are too cute. Any idea if they attract dog fur? That is my main beef with other “felted foods”. I have a German Shepherd and I can’t keep his fur out of the felt food!

    November 25th, 2008 at 5:07 pm

  3. Tiffany says:

    My 2.5 year old son has a bunch of soft play food- most of which was bought on Etsy or I made myself, and yes, it does tend to attract our spaniel’s hair. But it cleans well- and we much prefer it to plastic, or even wood. While the wood stuff is beautiful and sturdy, unfortunately, I’m afraid it would make a really big dent in the dog or our wood floor when it was dropped or thrown (fortunately the throwing is waaaay down… due to a number of time-outs and play food disappearing!). And this stuff by Haba looks like a great addition to our collection… my son always needs for sandwiches to play picnic

    November 25th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

  4. Lara says:

    We love the haba play food, particularly the Piza with its tiny toppings and the cechup, which I don’t know which set it came from. It is all so reallistic, my nephew thought that the banna from the fruite and veg set was real when I unpealed it for him. Watch out for the eting though as it is hard to stop younger children having a lick. In the UK we are able to buy the fabrice chese sellection but I am finding the lnch meat harder to find.

    November 25th, 2008 at 11:22 pm

  5. Jen says:

    Love these!

    Just a note, as you’re replacing your plastic food with wood, you may want to stay away from Melissa and Doug toys. There are some of their items being recalled in Canada for having barium in their finishes. (Don’t even get me started as to why the US hasn’t recalled them yet)

    November 26th, 2008 at 7:52 am

  6. Jean says:

    These look so much richer than the plastic junk that I’ve got hanging around my house for my kids to play with. My 11 month-old crawls around our place with a plastic hot dog hanging out of her mouth and it aint pretty! Maybe it’s time for me to upgrade.

    November 26th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  7. Tamie says:

    These are so adorable! I just got the little petit four set and the “muffins” (which look like cupcakes to me) for my niece.

    December 4th, 2008 at 9:25 am

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