Sunday, 22 September 2013

M&S Hand Cooked Spicy Tomato

You know how your favourite things always get cancelled or discontinued?

Like the wonderful Firefly starring Nathan Fillion. OK so he has gone on to conquer the world as Castle but that doesn't bring back the truly fabulous and much-missed Firefly. Or the brilliant and greatly under-rated Murder in Suburbia with Lisa Faulkner (since winner of Celebrity Master Chef) and Caroline Catz (now in Doc Martin) as two women detectives. I couldn't believe this was cancelled after only two series. The current "two women detectives" show Scott & Bailey I found absolutely dire in comparison but it's now on series 3. I bet they never re-enact a murder scenario with models of Darth Vader and My Little Pony.

Does anyone remember dark chocolate Toffee Crisp in the blue wrapper? Milk chocolate Toffee Crisp is very good but the dark chocolate version was better.

This is not a modern phenomenon. My mother never got over her favourite face powder disappearing in the 1950s. And as for the gall of Bear Brand tights; they stopped making her favourite colour tights in 1970 something. I thought I would never hear the end of it. Of course, my mother died in 1995 so she doesn't mention it much these days, but you get the picture.

Once upon a time, before I joined the family, Zweifel made a tomato flavour crisp. I never got to try but apparently it was sensational. The family, I suppose I really mean Terry, talks about them a lot. So I picked up these crisps in Marks & Spencer to see if they might in some small way compensate for the loss of the Zweifel crisps.

Wow these are crispy. Crunchy too. Huge. And very very spicy. 

Again (see Smiths Spicy Tomato Snaps and Golden Wonder Tangy Toms) the flavour isn't really tomato. It's more tomato something: sauce, soup, chutney. I'm puzzling to work out what exactly but it doesn't really matter. I'm leaning towards the chutney as there's plenty of vinegar going on. These crisps are a spicy tomato something but the spiciness is what you notice.

Quite unusually, in my researches so far, the flavourings include mace and cardamom. And also "flavouring (contains barley)". Sorry? What does barley contribute to a spicy taste? I think I've only knowingly ingested it in lemon barley water (dull and a bit lemony), pearl barley as featured in hotpots and broth (nastily gloopy and not adding positively to the taste), and I suppose barley sugar sweets which hardly qualify for the spicy scale.

The huge spiciness and sheer size of these crisps means that a packet lasts a lot longer than you might expect. The size means you approach them with caution, and the spiciness ensures you don't eat too many at a time. So, good value.

Both Terry and Luke have indicated that they approve. I do too. Although, of course, these crisps are nothing at all like a Zweifel tomato crisp (wrong thickness, wrong taste...) that hardly seems to matter.

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