Friday 19 July 2024

Walkers Squares Cheese and Onion

Way back in 2014 I tried a packet of Walkers Squares Salt & Vinegar flavour. And it looks as though whoever got a taste, as well as me that is, quite enjoyed them. 

But it seems I have never thought of trying any other flavour of Walkers Squares. So, at last, slightly more than 10 years later, here we have the Cheese & Onion version. It’s interesting that Squares seem to be going strong, because in the last 10 years many crispy snacks, including lots reviewed on this blog, have disappeared from sight.

And what did we think? Well, Squares aren’t the same as potato crisps. They aren’t slices of potato, but made of reconstituted potato granules, and they taste quite different. So as a base for a flavour, Squares give quite a different result. And I don’t think that Cheese & Onion works. It’s fine to start off with, but as you snack through even a tiny 22g packet, the flavour works less and less well.

I asked Ski Instructor Taste Tester who ate a whole packet, because he was hungry, but he admitted he wasn’t that impressed. The Chef tried some too but he’s gone to sleep so I can’t ask what he thought.

Not bad but not tip top.

Sunday 14 July 2024

KP Original Salted Peanuts

A big display of large packets of KP Original Salted Peanuts beckoned to me in the supermarket today. Buy us! they cried. But I was very firm and only picked up a small 90g packet (peanuts are heavy - that’s less than it sounds). And when I got home I asked myself if I had ever written up this very simple snack? No ingredients but peanuts and salt and sunflower oil. Delicious. But the answer, until now, was no. And my second question is why on earth not? So anyway, here we go…

Ah, you say. Lucky old you, you can eat peanuts without suffering any ill effects. Don’t boast about it. 

Well, yes, I can eat peanuts and I am fairly sure that I have been eating them since I was about three, so that’s more than 60 years! My parents didn’t really let us eat sweets, but there were always salty snacks instead. However, as a child I was horrendously allergic to grass pollen, and cats, and goodness knows how many other things. Even 30 years later I heard that the lovely mother of one of my school friends still had nightmares about the day she very kindly took her daughter and me for a picnic in a beautiful field full of flowering grasses. So I do understand about allergies. 

I still am allergic to grass pollen and cats but nothing like so badly as I used to be. Put it like this, if I reached the final of an egg and spoon race this summer, I wouldn’t have to pull out because I couldn’t see. But looking at today’s weather I would need an umbrella.

Anyway, these salted peanuts, made without maple syrup or honey, with no chocolate chunks or bits of honeycomb in the bag, not even any herbs or jerk seasoning, just salt, are simply delicious. And I can definitely eat a whole bag while sitting on the sofa watching the tennis.

Highly recommended if you can eat them. 

Mysteriously distributed by Tayto Snacks in County Meath. I can’t work out if this is an Irish snack or a UK snack. I’m going for UK.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Migros Jumpy’s Paprika

Here’s another kangaroo-shaped crispy snack which has probably been around for some time. For all intents and purposes this packet of Jumpy’s is identical to the packet of Chios Jumpys I reviewed back in 2013. Except of course that it purports to be something else. 2013! So long ago! So many crispy snacks. I would never have imagined so many would be kangaroo-shaped.

It looks very much as though this is an own brand product from Swiss supermarket Migros, manufactured by the original company, Chios. Or possibly Intersnack Switzerland.

The Chef assures me that these imposter kangaroos taste exactly the same as Chio kangaroos. I am still not particularly keen on Jumpy’s, but the Chef remains a huge fan.

While we are discussing crispy crunchy kangaroos, here’s a different flavour from Migros that I had quite forgotten about. Not sure that I was mad about the sour cream flavour any more than the paprika, sunny or otherwise. 

Saturday 1 June 2024

Long Chips Mashed Potato Snack Sea Salt & Vinegar + 2 Other Flavours

The Chef and I waited for our train from Geneva Airport at our usual café and just as we were about to leave I spotted these three flavours of Long Chips: Sea Salt & Vinegar, Original, and Thai Chilli. But there wasn’t any time to get the Swiss francs out; only time for a photograph.
I have since managed to get hold of a packet of the Sea Salt & Vinegar. And what did we think?

Answer: I have no idea what we thought because we never opened the packet. And for some reason this review has been languishing in my drafts folder for four years. I think I will post this anyway. Here’s a website for you to take a look. Lots of flavours I have never seen, and apparently you can buy them from eBay or even Etsy.

I think this is the same crispy snack that the Reluctant Taste Testers tried before. That was a Sour Cream & Chive flavour. It could be the same, but the packaging design has had a bit of a makeover. In fact, it’s totally different. I can only ever remember seeing a packet of Long Chips at Geneva airport, but we haven’t flown anywhere since before Covid and probably never will again, so it’s very possible I will never see another packet. Unless I take a train to Latvia.

Monday 27 May 2024

Manōmasa Serrano Chilli & Yucatan Honey

Mmmn this is a tasty crispy snack.

Don’t get put off by the Mayan Yucatan honey from the mountains of Puebla (I am not sure how different it is from any other kind of honey, but like tortillas it comes from Mexico), because these tortilla chips aren’t actually that sweet. But without the honey I think this would be a different snack entirely.

Yes, you can taste the “traditional” Serrano chilli, and oh look at that… the veriest smidge of star anise. Quite hot, definitely not very hot, and a nice depth of taste. I really liked these tortilla chips because they taste just that little bit different from the norm. Ooh! Imagine eating them alongside some crispy duck and pancakes for texture, not forgetting the all important plum sauce.

The Family Vegetarian tried tentatively, I don’t think she trusts me, but agreed that this is a nice flavour. Not too sweet, not too hot. Actually pretty good. I think the Chef approves of the flavour, but we know he’s not mad about tortilla chips.

Suitable for vegetarians but perhaps not for people who don’t like coriander (cilantro) or anyone who is allergic to lentils (legumes), which I understand is an increasingly common allergy.

And please don’t complain that Manomasa should be written with a line at the bottom of the O. My iPad only features a line at the tōp and I felt it was better to offer you a line in the wrong place rather than no line at all. 

Probably won’t look to buy these again, but only because taste testing crispy snacks is hard work, yes it is!, and we really shouldn’t eat too many. Otherwise, I think you should try a packet.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

What’s this flavour? Crisp flavours in the Guardian

Found on Pinterest: presumably this fake crisp taste is about kosher salt not kosher peaches 

a slightly skimpy review of current crisp flavours that you may find interesting or weird. When I say skimpy, I mean that it would be a miles better article if each crisp had even one or two more sentences attached. It’s really more of a list.

However, if you don’t read the Guardian (newspaper) or website, you might be interested to see what one of their regular food writers has to say. And perhaps be interested to read the comments which show that crisp fans are just as much devotees of their favourites, as wine buffs are. 

And if you need another list, here’s fairly recent one of different (read odd) flavours from Love Food. Many of these were limited edition flavours from years gone by. I have actually tried several of these crisps. The Cappuccino crisps for example were… challenging. And the Brussels Sprout flavour? Strangely sprouty.

These two articles just demonstrate how active a life you would have to lead to keep up with all the changing flavours all the different shops, because they all have a different selection, and all the different countries. It’s exhausting. Or it would be if you let it rule your life. I completely missed the Christmas Tree flavour which is rather sad, but I have tried well over 1000 crisps and crispy snacks over the last 11 years so I’m not going to let it ruin my life.

Friday 17 May 2024

Manōmasa Limited Edition Pineapple and Habanero Chilli

I suspect you won’t be at all surprised to learn that this Limited Edition packet of Pineapple and Habanero Chilli tortilla chips from Manōmasa just leaped off the supermarket shelf and into my hand this week. 

I was just walking innocently towards the croissant and crumpet department with the Radio Times and a bottle of washing up liquid, but how could I resist the bright yellow packaging or the slightly weird lure of a pineapple flavour crispy snack? 

I confess I was a little bit disappointed by these excitingly packaged tortilla chips. If I had been doing a blind taste testing I would never have guessed there was pineapple involved. The blurb on the back of the packet does say they went through 30 different variations before settling on a final version, and they are tasty, but… the bright yellow packet does give one the impression that there will be a great big pineapplely taste. And there isn’t.

I think what we have here is something I have seen more than once on the Great British Bake Off. The contestant produces a cake flavoured with, let’s say, raspberries, cherries and elderflower. The judge says yum, delicious, but I can’t taste the elderflower. And the contestant says, yes I know, but I tried it without the elderflower and it wasn’t so good. 

Actually, I think you can taste the pineapple here. But only if you know it’s there. You can taste the chilli though, and very nice too. There is, in fact, a nice lot of tasty flavour dust. And then there’s the scattering of quinoa which I have no idea if I can taste it or not, because I never tried it before. At least, I don’t think so. The little quinoa grains do have a tendency to drop off though. I couldn’t work out what the little red things on the kitchen work top were. Could have been insects. Turned out to be quinoa. I hope.

Anyway, not what I expected, but I would happily eat this crispy snack again. Probably brilliant with a dip, but I didn’t have one so I just snacked in anyway. The Chef was not impressed but cheerfully admits he would far rather have a potato crisp. He doesn’t really like tortilla chips.

NB I have read that increasing numbers of people are allergic to quinoa, so take this into consideration.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Vico Street Food Saveur Cheese Naan

Here’s another new Street Food flavour from French crispy snack firm Vico. And I think this one is rather good. 

I wanted to know why these crinkle cut crisps tasted so strongly of melted butter so I checked a recipe for naan bread. And here it is. Of course, there are many recipes available but this one looks nice and simple. Plus it immediately explains the melted butter. (Which is what I thought, but I had to check.)

The initial taste of this nicely crispy crunchy potato crisps is the melted butter. And very nice too. But the more crisps you eat, the less of this taste there seems to be. I found I had to stop eating, and come back to the packet the next day, to properly experience the taste again. Not convinced there is any taste of cheese but I’m not bothered by that.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed these crisps. I wasn’t expecting anything much. But I ate the whole packet all by myself. The Chef didn’t get a look in. Although that is his fault. I filled the half eaten packet in the kitchen so he could do a taste test. But he ignored it.

And once again I failed to photograph the actual crisps but they look exactly as shown on the packaging so you aren’t missing anything.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Migros Party Jungle Pretzels Gesalzen

Here we have a selection of salty, slightly pretzely-tasting jungle animals from the Migros supermarket in Sierra, in Switzerland. They come in a tall narrow packet. And this crispy snack is everything we have been waiting for. 

You know you wanted salty pretzel-tasting lion shapes, didn’t you? Lions and elephants and tortoises and hippos and monkeys, and er, koalas. Maybe you hadn’t thought about it before now, but guess what? Now you know there is a hippo-shaped crispy snack out there, do you fancy trying it? Of course you do*.

I have no idea who decided on these animals. Someone in Switzerland I imagine. To be honest, if it were up to me I would have gone with the full African theme and chosen something else instead of the koala. Goodness knows, Africa is full of wonderful wildlife. Why not a crocodile, or a rhino? Maybe a giraffe or an okapi, perhaps an aardvark? Aardvarks are super cute. Or a kudu? A shoebill stork? Like I said, Africa has lots of wonderful wildlife. Or, you know, what about branching out and having one in the shape of the African continent?

Anyway, never mind the choice of shapes, this is a tasty selection of little biscuit bites, slightly tasting of pretzels but mostly of salt, and very moreish. It’s quite hard to stop snacking when you’re not sure which animal will come out of the packet next. And if the shape is a bit broken, well, they taste just as good.

I only let the Chef eat a few but he definitely approved.

I’m thinking of an Australian Outback selection of pretzels. Koalas, obviously. Kangaroos, wombats, platypus, echidna, and perhaps a numbat (numbats are great), or a saltwater crocodile. There we go, a whole nother product. The Jungle Pretzels could be rebranded as African Savannah Pretzels. But I am getting picky. I have probably watched too many BBC wildlife shows. (NB Australia would be a great shape for a snack. I know because I have an Australia shaped cookie cutter. It makes a good scone. So does the wombat shape.)

Recommended for people who like pretzels or salt or crispy snacks.

*possibly only available in Switzerland, or maybe France if you are lucky.

Here’s a numbat. You can see I found him on Instagram.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Vico Curly Sweety Cacahuètes caramélisées pointe de sel

The other day the Chef was talking about his childhood drives through France with his parents and his younger brother. Of course that was before the splendid motorway network was built with its service stations full of all sorts of interesting products to buy. He was bemoaning the serious lack of nougat on sale these days. I don’t like nougat myself, but I know a lot of people who love it. And it is disappointing to see shelves which used to be stocked with nougat filled with American sweets instead. There are an awful lot of British crisps on sale too. You know I am always on the lookout for French snacks and not something I could pick up at the local supermarket.

It seems his journeys over the years have been full of nougat, and, what has never been mentioned before, caramel covered peanuts. I couldn’t find any nougat, but I was pleased to find this packet of salted caramel  peanuts. The Chef was not excited. He said it wasn’t what he had meant. Because he meant peanuts with a hard brown coating.

I opened the packet anyway and I think this is a delicious little packet of peanutty goodness. Nice quality peanuts, not small or hard, and slathered in shiny, slightly sticky salted caramel. Yum! Very, very moreish. I ate rather a lot of them.

I put the packet in the kitchen and fancy that, would you believe it, the Chef at quite a lot too.

The packet tells us this was voted product of the year in 2023. I don’t know what the competition or the category was but I can easily see why these yummy peanuts won a prize.

For other Vico Curly products see here, or here. Goodness knows why all their peanut products are called Curly!