Thursday, 8 December 2016

Scott Farms Orange, Purple & White Sweet Potato Chips

Tall Elegant taste tester visited the health food store and came back with this 100g packet of extremely handsome sweet potato crisps. And by extremely handsome I mean very pretty.

It's strange how a vegetable called a potato is not a potato. And sometimes it's called a yam... but this is a different vegetable in the South Pacific and New Zealand. Which is why you should never rely on "common names" but go straight to the Latin if you can. So your actual potato is a member of the Nightshade family Solanaceae along with tomatoes, and the Sweet Potato is a member of the Convolvulaceae like the morning glory flower, or bindweed. And hey! word fans, the word for potato comes from the Quechua (spoken in Peru) which a friend of mine speaks. Along with French, English, Spanish and very likely German.

Anyway, sweet potato crisps tend to have quite a dull crunch compared to potato crisps. but they certainly are attractive when you get three different colours in the same packet.

Nicely salted too. And a pretty packet. Spot the convolvulus flower?
Scott Farms products are made in North Carolina and imported by Scott Farms International based on the wonderfully named Asparagus Way in Evesham. Evesham is the heart of UK asparagus growing industry but it's still a wonderful name for a road.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Badatz Paskesz Nosh.kes BBQ Twirls

This tiny little packet holds 30g (1.05oz) of these crunchy crispy snacks. Actually that is quite heavy for the number of twirls but they are heavy in at the same way that pasta twirls are.

In fact they do look very like a wholewheat pasta. And have a really hard crunch very like an undercooked pasta.

All this would be fine if it weren't for the not very BBQy flavour. More of a smokey bacon flavour we thought and I wasn't a mad keen fan. Dutch taste tester wasn't sure, Senior taste tester quite liked them, and Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was a big fan. So we have all sorts of views on this crunchy snack.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

KP Hula Hoops Golden Hoops Salt & Vinegar

What is this? These aren't Hula Hoops. These are not the Hula Hoops I was looking for. This is a packet of hoop-shaped biscuits.

This is a packet of rather sweet hoop-shaped biscuits anointed with a strong taste of salt & vinegar.

Golden Hoops are oven baked and are completely free from all artificial flavours, colours and MSG. Of course they still taste great! says the packet. A HOLE lot of fun to keep the family happy... and the crunchy, golden baked and deliciously tasty hoop snack from the Hula Hoops family.

Hmm... the Hula Hoops family eh? Who knew? I'm still feeling a bit cheated because these Golden Hoops are not what I was expecting. And honestly not sure that salt & vinegar works too well with a sweet biscuit.

On the other hand the reluctant taste testers ate a large bowlful. So what do I know?

Monday, 5 December 2016

Merry Crispmas from the Taste Test Panel at the FT Magazine

Every so often Peter Bazalgette calls in the Taste Test panel to taste test who knows what on the food and drink front for the Financial Times Saturday Magazine. It may be no-added sugar squashes or guacamole or olive oil. This weekend it was seasonal crisps. You need to sign in or answer a short survey (3 questions or fewer) to access the article, and it is of course copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2016.

What the FT taste testers had to say about the 8 different seasonal crisps they tried was that the flavours were "ambitious". I can understand that. And regular readers will know that the reluctant taste testers and I find over and over again that the crisps we prefer are the simply flavoured crisps. Not usually the entire-meal-in-a-bag, or 5-star-restaurant-menu-item flavours.

The FT taste testers tried the new M&S Buck's Fizz crisps. Yes, we tried those. Remember? They also tried  M&S Winter Berries & Prosecco. Yup, we tried them last year. Maybe you remember that too? And no, we wouldn't have voted them top of the pile either. Fizzy crisps? Just say no.

They tried flavours based on blue cheese, and figs (pretty sure the reluctant taste testers have tried those crisps), maple syrup, roast pork, duck and chicken and ham. And the crisps they awarded second prize to are Tyrrell's Three Bird Roast.  Wow! That sounds like a crisp to look out for. Apparently the ingredients include extracts of chicken duck and turkey.

And I can see that I really need to get myself down to a branch of Lidl. The Taste Test panel tried Negroni crisps, Pigs in Blankets crisps (pigs in blankets seem to be having a bit of a moment this seasonal crisp season), and the winner of this particular test; Lidl Deluxe with Love Hand Cooked Roast Turkey and Sage & Onion Stuffing crisps.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Walkers Cheese Toastie & Worcester Sauce

I really don't think the reluctant taste testers are very fetched by the selection of sandwich filler flavours created by Walkers this year. Some of them are very odd.

I mean, "Cheese Toastie & Worcester Sauce" isn't a sandwich filler flavour.... it's a Cheese Toastie. With Worcester Sauce (in this case it's Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce). Which is to say, this is a toasted cheese sandwich gingered up with Worcester Sauce.

And the flavour? Well the reluctant taste testers detected a strong cheese flavour, albeit a fake plasticky cheese, followed by vinegar. Which seems to be standing in for the Worcester Sauce.

Luckily a 25g packet doesn't contain very many crisps. Because I'm not sure we would have eaten any more than that.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Beigel & Beigel Sour Cream & Onion

This is a packet of nice little biscuitty crackers from Beigel & Beigel. And the sour cream & onion flavour works pretty well. I think all of the reluctant taste testers rather liked this flavour, and rather liked the fine crunchy bite.

But almost every one of these fine crackers was broken. I think in the whole packet there were 5 unbroken.

That's very disappointing. Can Beigel & Beigel not create some more protective packaging? I understand that there are some serious food miles involved. After all, we know this crispy snack comes from Israel. But still. The Chef & I have (unprofessionally, which is to say on an amateur basis) imported crispy snacks from Europe and not suffered such disastrous breakages.

We all enjoyed this tasty snack but I think we'd have been more impressed if the entire contents of the packet hadn't looked as though someone sat on it.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Walkers Market Deli Cornish Mature Cheddar

This is one of the new swanky rang of crisps - sorry, potato chips - produced by Walkers. Market Deli, they say, made with real deli flavours. And real ingredients for an authentic taste. Yes. What a good idea. But hang on.... doesn't that sort of indicate that other crisps produced by Walkers are made with pretend flavours? Or fake ingredients? Could be.

Discover the authentic flavours of Europe's finest markets and delis [it says here] with these delicious deli potato chips,  cut thicker and cooked for longer for that perfect bite. With the full bodied boldness of Cornish mature cheddar - rich with a hint of sharpness, this is a real taste experience.

I don't suppose Walkers want us to ponder the question of authentic flavour too hard. But they do advise us that these crisps are delicious shared with a local craft ale and close friends. And they are so pleased with this new rang of crisps they have a whole new website to tell us about them.

I bought these authentic crisps on a special introductory offer and they are pretty fabulous. What a great cheesy aroma. What a great crunch, rather thicker than the usual offerings from Walkers., good golden colour. And the cheesy taste is very cheesy indeed. No artificial preservatives or colours, made with natural flavours, no MSG. Suitable for vegetarians. And you can tell how posh they are from the hand writing font they use for the weight.

So basically a very good crisp. Everyone liked them a lot. Everyone thought they were definitely cheese flavour (except one taste tester who is pregnant and thinks her taste buds may be affected) and one tester accurately guessed mature cheddar. Although obviously points should be removed for failing to guess the county!

If I happened to find myself crispless (unlikely, I know) I might buy these again because they are rather good. I've tried the balsamic vinegar flavour chips already so maybe I'll save up for a packet of Market Deli tortilla or pitta chips.
Update: I posted this originally in September 2014 but here it is again, because Gina from The Chips Report has recently been rather enthusiastic about these crisps. And it's always nice to see another opinion.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Snacks Direct!

This van parked outside our house the other day while I was at work. The Chef thought I must have ordered several tonnes of crispy snacks. But no, it seems the driver just thought it a good place to park.

Actually this is a little bit weird as Snacks Direct only deliver to retailers and the nearest shop is more than 5 minutes walk away with many parking opportunities along the way.

If I was a business of any kind I could have ordered all these snacks: click where it says click to read. It's not a very fancy website though.

Snacks Direct Always Delivering Snacking Solutions! But not to me.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

ROKA Cheese Sticks Gouda Cheese

This is another cheese stick from those lovely people at ROKA in the Netherlands.

Very nice lightly cheesy cheese straw sticks  with a sort of streusel topping probably  made of Gouda cheese. The crunch is light, not too crunchy, the taste is light, not too cheesy and sort of without concentrating I tried one with a cheese and herb dip and.... it works amazingly well.

Less golden than shown on the packaging but very nice.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Gesher Snow Flakes BBQ Flavored

Here we have another of those strange little flower-shaped (or perhaps snowflake-shaped) crispy snacks from Israel. I think it's a great shape for a crispy snack; light crispy crunchy little pillows - they're very nice. And a good base for a flavour.

So why have I never seen this shape in a snack not intended for the kosher market? I have no idea and  I think it's a bit odd. Still, perhaps there is a crispy developer planning a British version of this snack even as I type.

Another weird thing is that the only other flower or snowflake snacks I have tried were made by Beigel & Beigel. And guess who owns Gesher? Beigel & Beigel. So they market two different kinds of exactly the same snack. The Snow Flakes look as though they may be aimed at children, the Beigel & Beigel version has a more upmarket style of packaging and larger packets.

This is sold as a BBQ flavor snack. Which it isn't. The taste is more cheap tomato ketchup. Which is a shame. Because the crispiness is just fine.
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