Tuesday 27 February 2024

Lay’s Paysanne Saveur Oignon de Roscoff Caramelisé

Right, here’s an interesting and surprisingly gentle flavour from Lay’s. We bought this packet in France.

I do not know what makes oignons de Roscoff (onions from Roscoff in Brittany) special. I haven’t been to Brittany and as far as I know, I haven’t tried their special onions but it seems there must be something very fabulous about them. I discovered that we could get them from our local supermarket but they are confusingly labelled Natoora, which looks like a brand name, not Roscoff, which we know because it’s a place. Life always makes things more complicated than necessary doesn’t it? The internet tells me they are the same onions. 

If these lovely crinkle cut crisps are anything to go by, Roscoff onions must have a very special gentle flavour because these crisps are very nice indeed. The Chef liked these a lot. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Paul Légèrement Salées

Paul depuis 1889. Here’s a bakery company with addresses in France and England, and lots of outlets in motorway service stations, at least across north east France. What can I tell you? I haven’t ever tried anything they make before this packet of crisps, but the Ski Instructor was happy with his lunchtime baguette. And he crunched through his little packet of crisps in record time. 

And, yes, he seemed very happy indeed with his crunch at lunch; his packet of slightly salted Paul crisps. His crunch sounded happy.

And then… the Chef and I tried a second packet. The Chef was quite happy. He liked the lightly salted taste. I thought these crisps could do with more salt.  He liked the crunch, like the Ski Instructor. I thought the bite was a bit hard and the crunch a bit heavy. And there were too many crisps folded over. Lots and lots of folded crisps.

So here we have it: men seem happy with this crisp, women (me) not so much. Not a very scientific survey so you should probably draw your own conclusions if you see a packet.

So you know what I am going to suggest: try these crisps for yourself. And ponder to yourself how come this company has its crisps made in Britain?

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Cottage Delight Garlic Italian Crostini Crackers


The Chef and I found this nice looking little snack in a local shop. It was just before Christmas and the shop was jam crammed with present buyers. Maybe buying some of these.

Although the Cottage Delight company seems to be based in Leek in Staffordshire, the little crackers are actually made in Italy. The label describes this crispy snack as ‘light and crisp hand crafted Italian crostini’ created by an authentic Italian family baker. Hmm… what a pity they aren’t actually light and crisp. In fact, and I really don’t enjoy giving a poor review, if you ask me this snack has a seriously heavy bite. And a very dull crunch. This is disappointing.

And what a pity they don’t taste of anything. Oh, there is a sort of garlicky aftertaste, but I can’t tell you how disappointed the Chef and I were. Because it’s nice to support small brands.

Friday 19 January 2024

Takis Volcano

We found this little 100g packet of Spanish snacks in a big branch of the Co-op in Switzerland. Made by a company rather bonkersly called Bimbo Donuts, this little packet of maize based Takis (one taki, several takis perhaps?) is a nice surprise. Basically rolled up corn chips dusted with heaps of quite hot cheese and chilli flavour dust. Yum. I couldn’t stop eating. Quite a hard bite, but you expect that with corn chips so I’m not complaining.

The bar code is shaped like a chilli so if you are paying attention that’s a bit of a giveaway. It’s always nice when the design incorporates details like that.

I don’t think I have ever seen a Bimbo Donut product before. I checked the ingredients list and it comes in English, Turkish, Swedish, Polish, Italian, German, French and Dutch. So plenty of opportunities for you to pick up a packet. The purple and orange is quite noticeable so you may be lucky to find some. I’d buy these again… and the poor Chef wasn’t feeling too good and didn’t get a look in. I scoffed the lot. We better get some more.

Monday 8 January 2024

Tesco Sweet Maple Honey Roasted Nuts

And…. here we are again with another special snack flavour for Christmas, or as our American friends will insist on saying: the holidays. We have to shop at Tesco sometimes because our regular supermarket has strange gaps on its shelves. For example, it hasn’t stocked Cheese Footballs for years. So anyway, last time we were in Tesco, I picked up quite a lot of Cheese Footballs and Treeselets and several new, probably limited edition, crispy snacks, and this is the last.

Well, deep breath. I hardly know what to say. I love salted peanuts or cashew nuts, and honey roasted nuts and dry roasted nuts. But I really do feel Tesco’s development department have gone too far with this sweet maple honey roast. In fact they’ve only gone and jumped the shark.

What? I mean, seriously what? How come these nuts taste of bourbon biscuits? And if you don’t live in the U.K. you may not know the chocolatey sandwich that is a bourbon biscuit (named for the French royal family not the drink), so here’s a Wikipedia page. There are lots of recipes online to make at home if you can’t just run out to the shops for a packet.

The Chef, who you know will eat almost anything crispy snack related, and is a true devotee of anything nutty, thought these honey glazed nuts very strange. Even, gasp!,would you believe it, too strange to continue snacking. Cliffs of Moher Taste Tester was not at all impressed. Full disclosure: neither of them could detect the taste of bourbon biscuits but trust me, I definitely could.

I asked Cliffs of Moher to take the still almost full packet home with her for boyfriend / partner (I don’t know which she prefers), Aillwee Caves, a new recruit to taste testing. We’ll see what he has to say. Before we got married the Chef used to describe me as his partner. And I always felt it sounded as though we were running a business together, selling cushions and maybe fancy lampshades. Of course he was running around skiing and cooking dinner and I was just going to work every day. 

Anyway, Aillwee Caves Taste Tester reports that these seriously weird nuts remind him of an overly sweet breakfast cereal. I suggested Sugar Puffs, which I could totally see, but he says no, some stuff called Golden Nuggets. I don’t think I have ever come across Golden Nuggets (they taste yeee haa! apparently), but it’s obvious that Cliffs of Moher doesn’t like them any more than she liked the nuts. 

So that’s not really a success is it. What a pity. However, the actual nuts seemed just like nuts.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Tesco Tree-Shaped Sweet & Salty Pretzels

I rather like a pretzel now and then. I’d rather have a small pretzel than a large, and I thought it might be fun to try a tree-shaped pretzel for a change.

I hoped this would be a packet of half regular salty tasting pretzels and half pretzels encrusted with sugar. But you know how it is when you’re in a busy shop; you don’t always have the time to read the label properly. What I actually got is a bag full of golden and crunchy tree-shaped pretzels all of them covered in a sweet salty seasoning. What a disappointment. Because you don’t get the contrast.

Yes the pretzels are crunchy, and yes they’re golden, but there’s an awful lot of sweetness going on and not nearly enough saltiness. I expect my doctor would applaud that: less salt is better for my blood pressure (the second number apparently).

The Chef agrees. Pretzels are supposed to be salty he opined (sorry), and there isn’t nearly enough saltiness. Also, the impact of this tree-shaped crispy snack is only impactful if they are actually tree-shaped. And all too many are broken and thus shaped like broken things.

Isn’t it odd how things come along in clusters. The Reluctant Taste Testers haven’t tried anything from the Tesco crispy snack aisle for simply ages and here we have three of them, all at once, and maybe more to come. Like London buses.

Sorry Tesco. I think this is a wasted opportunity.

Saturday 23 December 2023

Tesco Finest Limited Edition Honey Sriracha Flavour Hand Cooked Crisps

Here’s a packet of crisps from the Tesco Finest range, provided by the Ski Instructor and the Farmer’s Daughter, together with a tub of sour cream and chive dip. Delicious.

But the dip was so good it quite got in the way of a serious appreciation of this Limited Edition crisp flavour. So I had to abandon it. Nice crisp, not too large but a rich colour, nice crunch and a good kick of heat to the sriracha flavour. Very nice, however, I doubt this will ever become a regular flavour. Pity. I think it’s a whole lot nicer than all those sweet chili crisps that are so common. I can’t say I approve much of any of them.

I think the Ski Instructor was amused that I didn’t recognise the flavour. But I have never tried honey sriracha flavour anything before. So how could I? And actually, how can I tell if this is a genuine sriracha flavour at all? You will have to find out for yourself.

Monday 18 December 2023

Tesco Salted Caramel Party Mix

Hmm…. I thought this Party Mix from Tesco might be worth a try, and it kind of was, but, er, it is a bit of an odd mixture. Tasty, definitely tasty, but a lot of the bits are broken which is a shame. It’s hard to appreciate a small pretzel if it’s broken into 6 pieces. And the mix is a lot more sweet than it is savoury. I think I would prefer it the other way around.

According to the back of the packet we have maple flavour caramel peanuts with white chocolate with caramel buttons (complicated), milk chocolate buttons, salted caramel toffee popcorn, salted wheat pretzel knots and decorated milk chocolate coated cereal crisps. OK then. Are the shiny pink balls the “decorated milk chocolate coated cereal crisps” do you think? I’m not sure. It really is hard to tell.

All the elements are tasty, but everything is just a bit too sweet. More like what you might serve at a child’s birthday party, not so much to snack on with a glass of wine. Definitely wouldn’t go with a beer.

Yes it’s sweet. No it’s not very salty.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Brets Saveur Yakitori

Notre recette de super craquantes! says the packet, Saveur Yakitori.

Now, I don’t eat Japanese food. There’s far too much fish involved, and I don’t eat cooked fish much less raw. A lot of people assume I must be a vegetarian because I don’t eat fish. How wrong could they be*. So, anyway, I had never heard of yakitori until I came across this packet of crisps from Breton crisp manufacturers Brets. 

So, well, I suppose we are looking for a sort of chicken kebab sort of a taste… and I’m not certain that’s what we got. Quite nice, fairly tasty, definitely not nasty, no, no. But not terribly anything in particular IIRC. To be honest, I’m not sure why a Breton crisp company would think of making a crisp that (sort of) (might) taste of a Japanese chicken kebab. I have seen Chinese restaurants in France but never Japanese, although a quick google search tells me there are quite a few in Paris. Perhaps they will spread across the country.

However, see my previous post but one, the article from the Guardian. It’s all about how you choose new flavours for your crisps. If you are a multinational crisp manufacturing behemoth, which I am sure most of us are not. I wonder if this flavour will still be available next year.

Obviously the fine crinkle cut of the crisps themselves is lovely. Brets do make an extremely good crinkle.

Not certain I would bother with the Yakitori flavour again, but you might really love this French crisp. 

*Still trying to avoid vegetables. Except potatoes obviously!

(Not sure that’s my best photo ever. Oh well.)

Friday 8 December 2023

Brets Saveur Aïoli

A new crisp flavour, aïoli, new to me and the Chef anyway, from Breton crisp manufacturer Brets. And once again it bothers me that they have jettisoned their apostrophe. OK, let’s try not to be picky about that.

A lovely light garlicky tasting crisp. The usual fine crinkle cut that Brets do so well. And they combine beautifully to give a very tasty crisp. I liked them a lot, so did the Chef and the Ski Instructor, but most of them were scoffed by the Farmer’s Daughter. She was 9 months pregnant and used that as an excuse for eating so many crisps, but it seemed to me that she wouldn’t have eaten quite so many if she hadn’t enjoyed them so much. 

Very nice. I would be happy to try these again.

Not much more to say except obviously you find these in France. I cannot remember if we found this packet in the supermarket or at a motorway service station.