Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Cheetos Ketchup

Złap jedna z millionów naklejek na ubrania! says the blurb on the packet. Isn’t that exciting? I expect. I confess I found it very difficult typing Polish but do admit that the new iPad produces almost all the diacritics I needed which is brilliant. And pretty impressive.

I found another packet of Polish crisps in North London. Well, Cheetohs aren’t crisps but you get the picture. Lucky for you lot in internetland that I don’t live in darkest rural something-shire or we might be discussing an endless selection of pork scratchings instead of a weird array of crispy snacks from who knows where. Yes, that does sound hopelessly crountryside-ist I know. But having lived here in North London for a very long time I am conscious that people who live in the countryside are often very short changed on the crispy snack front.

Anyway, another offering from Chester (the front man for Cheetos) front-cheetah? Or possibly trouble maker; again see the packet blurb. Not speaking or reading any Polish I really have no idea why the packet, which features quite a bit of Polish text, suddenly breaks into English to say trouble maker.

1 Kup product promocyjny CHEETOS 

2 Sprawdź  czy wygrateś nakelkę na ubranie!

3 Jeśli wygrateś uźyj naklejki zgodnie z instrukcja i stwórz swój Cheestyle look ™️
By Chester

No I don’t know either. So what do I think? Quite bright orange, quite a soft bite which of course you expect from puffed extruded corn snacks, and I wasn’t convinced by the tomato ketchup flavour. All round not back except... except it really does gum itself to your teeth mid-mouthful. I could do without that,p.

Exciting news though. This snack packet appears to be recyclable. At any rate there is a recycling triangle on the back with 90 in it. Whether or not I can find anywhere prepared to accept this class of recycling I don’t know.

Quite annoyingly blogger has published this snack before I meant it to. I shan’t really be finished until after the reluctant taste testers have had a chance to have their say.

Friday, 18 May 2018

M&S Paprika Hand Cooked Crisps

The Chef is particularly fond of some Paprika crisps from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel, so when I spotted this little packet of Paprika crisps from Marks & Spencer I could not resist. I thought he’d like to try.

And the Chef was keen. So keen in fact that he ate the whole packet before I was able to take a picture and commemorate these crisps for all eternity. I can of course go back to my local branch of M&S to buy another packet, in fact I think the Chef may kick up a fuss if I don’t, but somehow it’s not the same if I photograph a subsequent packet.

He tells me this is a very nice crisp and he really enjoyed it. I got one of the very last crisps not snacked up by the Chef. A very nice crunch I thought. And good taste too. And a totally different crisp from the Zweifel version.

I think I’ll be back at M&S soon. With any luck getting a couple of packets will stop the Chef being so grumpy. He’s not interested in the Royal Wedding, he doesn’t know anything about Yanny or Laurel meme, and he doesn’t care at all about the FA Cup Final. Oh dear.
Because I don't have a crisp shot here's the flower and bract of Davidia involucrata. I think they're just beautiful.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

M&S BBQ Sausage & Smokehouse Ketchup Hand Cooked Crisps

This is a flashback to the complicated crisp days of History Graduate taste tester with the fancy recipe flavour. Well, perhaps not a fancy recipe, but definitely lots going on in the flavour department. Rather more than I would tolerate in a home cooked dinner. I might be OK with a barbecued sausage but I wouldn't want barbecue flavour, and I am very fussy about my ketchup. It's got to be Heinz tomato ketchup and no messing.

I don’t know, and the reluctant taste testers don’t know why crisp developers go for so many complicated flavours. Honestly, and you might be surprised how many conversations we have about crisps (or perhaps you wouldn't) so we've done a major survey and most people prefer the simple flavours. Myself I usually like plain salted best.

OK, so here we were confronted with this fancy sausage flavour.

Which I didn’t like that much. Which you probably won’t be surprised about. But hey, apparently almost all the reluctant taste testers really enjoyed this packet of hand cooked crisps. The crisps themselves were fine with a nice crunch, but honestly I thought the ketchup flavour was much too sharp.

 Hmmn.... I think in the long run I'd far rather have the actual sausage with (ordinary) ketchup thanks. I think the sausages and tomatoes shown on the packet would work well. Probably you all will side with the taste testers.

Ketchup falcon barbecue et porc it says in French. Which doesn't sound at all the same thing does it?

Friday, 11 May 2018

Lidl Snaktastic Sweet Popcorn

Finely sugared for a delicious taste says the blurb on this supersized packet of popcorn from Lidl.

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian brought this packet of popcorn into the office so that the reluctant taste testers could save her from eating the entire thing all by herself. She said she loved the gentle sweetness so much that she really could eat the lot. She also said that it was just exactly like cinema popcorn.

Now I am frightfully picky so I practically never go to the cinema for fear I won't enjoy the film, and if I do I almost never have popcorn. But if I do have popcorn I prefer the salty buttery kind so I can't tell if Slightly Red Haired Bristolian is right, but New Forest taste tester fully agrees with her. Er.. could the packaging design be some sort of clue?

This is a nice light sugary popcorn. I wouldn't say this was a super exciting popcorn but it is quite nice. Even Architectural taste tester; she who hardly ever comments, was quite impressed at the niceness.

It’s a pity I keep reading this as “snake-tastic” 🙂.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

O'Donnells of Tipperary Irish Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt Hand Cooked Crisps

Another sensational crisp from Irish crispmeisters O'Donnells of Tipperary. All the reluctant taste testers who expressed a preference loved this crisp. Except Tall Elegant taste tester who can be a bit picky about salt. Her one trial crisp ended up in the compost bin (we do our very best on the recycling front).

We have to thank Cliffs of Moher taste tester for buying these wonderful crisps which I understand can only be found in the Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately she left them at home and we had to wait for her mum to post them. But lucky us because here they are.... or were... before we snacked them all up.

All our regulars loved this great crisp with just the right crunch and a fabulous flavour. Brand new taste tester from the New Forest took our snacking activities in her stride and enjoyed this crisp too.

I snaffled a few at the bottom of the packet for the Chef to try at home and, despite the fact that he doesn’t like salt & vinegar much as a crisp flavour, he polished them off in no time at all. His considered opinion? An excellent crisp.

Top marks all round. If only we could buy them in a handy North London branch of Waitrose (obviously other supermarkets are available).

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Ethiquable Chips de Pomme de Terre Rouge Varietes Anciennes du Perou

The Chef and I were having a glass of wine and a cup of coffee at Geneva Airport, or more particularly the railway station, because we had arrived rather early for my flight. And what did I spot   in a display of gluten free products but some crisps made with traditional Peruvian potatoes.

And not just traditional Peruvian potatoes, but potato crisps made in Peru with traditional varieties of potato. Peru, the packet reminds me, is the cradle of the potato, and more than 4,000 cultivated varieties have been recorded.

I read somewhere that the potato plant is very poisonous in its original form. Apparently it’s a bit of a mystery how the early inhabitants of the Andes managed to breed an edible potato that would grow in such an unpromising environment. Much of Peru is very high; it’s very cold, and it’s dry. A far cry from the flat fields of Lincolnshire where so many of England's potatoes are grown.

Not really a story for this blog, but a network of private narrow gage railways was built in Lincolnshire to carry the potato crop to market. Check out the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway near Skegness for more railway fun. The Chef is a mad keen fan of railways in all their forms. He has leaflets on industrial railways and everything. It’s a bit of a surprise I haven’t been dragged off to visit any. Yet.

Ethiquable helps potato farmers continue to use the ancient varieties so they don’t disappear but sadly now only 180 varieties are grown by members of the AGROPIA co-operative. Apparently the local market has no interest in these potatoes which were all eaten by the farmers until a fair trade solution in the form of these crisps allowed them to sell their produce and safeguard the genetic diversity of the local potato varieties.

This is a very old fashioned style of crisp. The Peruvian potatoes give lovely red blotches to the crisps which have a soft crunch. Lightly salted and gently tasty these crisps are made with ethically produced palm oil from Ecuador.

Most of the reluctant taste testers quite liked this Peruvian crisp. Architectural taste tester, who almost never comments, was especially keen. I enjoyed this crisp. Not exciting or fancy but I couldn’t help liking them.

It’s good to support biodiversity, and indigenous peoples growing local products. Although I have to admit that Geneva isn’t very local to Peru, and I don’t know where else to buy this crisp. Lima perhaps?

Friday, 4 May 2018

Scott Farms Sweet Potato Chips

 Another offering from Tall Elegant taste tester, and another crispy snack I probably wouldn’t have bought myself. It’s not that I disapprove of sweet potato crisps or chips; it’s just that there are so many potato based products (and goodness knows what else besides) so I don’t usually buy vegetable crisps.

This is a nice little packet of crisps/chips illustrated with a sweet potato plant. Apparently sweet potatoes are related to convolvulus or morning glory, although I gather you should remove the flowers if you want a good crop.

Scott Farms are based in Evesham in Worcestershire in the UK. The address is Asparagus Way which is a wonderful name for a road; especially in Evesham which is a very important asparagus growing area. However, headquarters is in North Carolina.

These are quite small crisps - sweet potatoes curl up in the cooking - and lightly salted. A nice taste and a nice crunch.

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, coeliac friendly, GMO free, no added colours, grown and picked by Scott Farms and Hand Cooked in their skins. A lot of boxes ticked.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

M&S Welsh Rarebit Style Hand Cooked Crisps

Well now, the reluctant taste testers don't seem to have tried a crisp from M&S for quite a while.

Perhaps because Marks & Spencer appear to have lost their enthusiasm for launching a new flavour of crisp every other week. OK, perhaps not that often, but there was a time, remember History Graduate taste tester? When he was around we seemed to be running as fast as we could just to keep up with the new crisps. It was a struggle and in the end I don't think we got around to trying everything on offer.

Anyway, what have we here? Welsh Rarebit Style. So this is a packet of little bits of toast with cheese topping is it? In a way I wish it were. But no.

It's a packet of normal style crisps.

And, let's be positive. Tech taste tester told me he loved these crisps; he could eat the whole packet. That's nice. I'm glad he was enthusiastic. Senior and Tall taste tester (both men) wouldn't exactly admit to enthusiasm but I have a feeling they ate quite a lot of them. On the other hand Cliffs of Moher taste tester told me she thought they taste of vomit. Could it be that this is a man's flavour? I'm not sure why that should be, but that's how it has worked out.

I have to say I really wasn't mad keen myself. I thought at first they seemed far too cheesy, then there's a hit of something hot. And then it turns out I really didn't like the taste or the aroma. Oh dear. Because someone has tried very hard with the flavour; it's chock full of ingredients. Tamarind, cloves, mustard, turmeric, ginger, cardamon and nutmeg jostle for supremacy with mature cheddar cheese and I'm not sure who wins.

As someone said, it's enough to put you off Welsh rarebit. That's a pity.

And again, there's the yin yang style arrow, the green dot (although in this case it's yellow and black) showing that M&S helps to fund packaging recycling systems. Even though this packet cannot be recycled.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

O'Donnells of Tipperary Hand Cooked Crisps Mature Irish Cheese & Red Onion Flavour

What a wonderful crisp this is.

Posted to London by Cliffs of Moher taste tester's mother from darkest Ireland, this packet of crisps arrived at my house, went back to the office and was snacked up quick smart by the reluctant taste testers who were all very enthusiastic.

I see from the packet that this crisp won the Irish Café Quality Food & Drink Awards in 2015 and I'm not surprised. It is always harder to write about a really fabulous product than one you don't like (yes, I know that seems a bit counter intuitive), but what can one say?

Lovely crisps, nice crunch, great flavour. Everyone enjoyed it.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked Ham & Cranberry

Another ravishing packet design from Tyrrell’s for this interestingly flavoured crisp. Ham as a flavour? Perhaps. But cranberry? That’s a bit unusual isn’t it? And as Slightly Red Haired Bristolian agreed, isn’t this more of a Christmas flavour than March/April?

Actually none of the reluctant taste testers could discern the cranberry flavour. The crisps do have a dusting of cranberry powder, but also (slightly weirdly) blueberry and raspberry powder. Honestly I am not convinced these exciting powders contribute to the flavour... but obviously I haven’t tried without.

This is a tasty crisp. Lots of flavour dust, and richly coloured but somehow not really tasting of ham. I saved this packet until Tech taste tester came back from his energetic holidays. He loves meaty flavoured crisps, as does Slightly Red Haired Bristolian, and both were big fans of this crisp. As were Cliffs of Moher and Tall taste tester. Very popular. Almost all of the great big packet was eaten.

Nothing rouses the senses quite like this blissful marriage of scrumptious roast ham and that most triumphantly tart of fruitlets, the cranberry says the packet. Hmmn..... that sounds good doesn’t it?

Even if I didn’t think the crisps tasted of ham there’s a wonderful hammy aroma from the bag.

Quite unusual. But popular.

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