Saturday 31 January 2015

Thomas J Fudge's Flaky Cheddar Wafers and Fiery Jalapeño Wafers

Perfect for Nibbling says the packaging.

What raindrops are to turnips nibbles are to friendship. Or it could be the other way around: nibbles are to friendship what raindrops are to turnips. In either case: what? There's quite a lot of weird stuff going on with the packaging.

These two biscuits were also chosen for the recent leaving party at work because we were looking for something a little bit posh. And a little bit posh they are.

Both have a soft crunch with almost a home-made feel, although I think you would struggle to make little biscuits quite this thin at home.  The Flaky Cheddar wafers have a gentle cheesy taste, and the Fiery Jalapeño wafers (which you can tell apart from the Cheddar by the little green bits of chilli) have quite a significant fiery hot bite.

Both wafers are rather good. And exceedingly posh.

Thomas J Fudge is a "remarkable bakery" which was established in Dorset in 1916 by the current owners' great-great-uncle Thomas J Fudge. According to the packaging he was a dapper chap with a distinctive moustache. His bakery is described as remarkable and Dorset is beautiful and bountiful. His buns were buttery, his bread was brilliant and his biscuits were the business. Or so the packet claims. And the family continues Thomas J's remarkable, edible work. Or so they say.

The biscuits come in a plastic baggie encased in a smart cardboard box. And in the side of the box is a scalloped peep hole through which you can see the wafers of your choice.

The family Fudge recommends ice cold white wine with the Flaky Cheddar wafers; delicious with a portion of witty banter. Or try the Fiery Jalapeño wafers with cooling yoghurt dips, bubbly beverages or something rich and red; perfect with plenty of hysterical laughter. So; many instructions on how best to enjoy your wafers.

Great to fancy up your drinks party. Some of these were eaten at the party and the rest were eagerly snapped up by the reluctant taste testers the next day.

Friday 30 January 2015

Waitrose Crisp & Savoury all butter Cheddar twists

Here's a cheese straw-style crispy crunchy snack from Waitrose.

Obviously shop-bought but very tasty and fabulously buttery in a great almost home-made way. Not obviously cheesy but without the cheese I imagine this crispy snack would be a little bit dull.

And they don't fall apart as soon as you bite into them. Because I am a bit prone to dropping crumbs down my front this is a great plus.

We bought these for a leaving party at work and the reluctant taste testers and I liked them a lot. I think the trustees did too.

The cheesy twists come in a silver baggie inside a cardboard box. Nothing fancy but very nice.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Bissli Smokey Wheat Flavoured Snacks

Well now, look at that. Turns out this is my 201st post. Who knew there were quite so many crispy snacks readily available in this crispy crunchy world?

And I'm pretty sure that I haven't scratched the surface.

This 70g bag of crispy snacks from Osem were contributed to the cause by the senior member of the taste testing club.

Kosher (obviously), quite a nice crunch, and they kind of taste of ham and cheese. But the after taste is cardboard.

So it's a sort of fairly tasty cardboard snack. But don't run away with the idea that cardboard is a bad taste. It could be a great deal worse. For example the, er,  fabulous Bissli BBQ snacks which were oh so horrible (in my opinion) that I couldn't bring myself to finish the pack.

Isn't it a bit odd, don't you think, that Bissli should produced 2 crispy snacks called BBQ and Smokey? Oh well. Who can fathom the thoughts of crisp manufacturers?

So there we are. Not too bad but a bit cardboardy. Despite the cardboardiness we quite liked this crispy snack.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Crosta & Mollica Crostini Oregano


I picked up a bag of these tasty and very crunchy crispy snacks from Waitrose for a leaving party at work. Aren't they good?

Well, you can't tell until you try but let me tempt you with lots of yummy delicious crunchy goodness; made with local olive oil and oregano and twice baked for extra crispiness. "Altogether Italian" and made in a family bakery in Italy.

I must try these again. Crunch crunch crunch. Teeny weeny crunchy little garlic breads. Or maybe croutons. Only tasty oregano flavour. A little bit herby, a little bit salty and a whole lot of crunchiness.

There's an important distinction between crispy snacks I like, snacks I like and wonder if there is another flavour I can try, and crispy snacks that are so good I want another bag. The Chef was driving past the only place we have ever seen Seabrooks crisps this week (one of our very favourites) - so I asked him to stop off and buy another bag. Tragic news: they didn't have any. Oh no! Where are we going to find another bag?

Luckily I'm pretty sure I can get another bag of oregano crunchiness. Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, I very much like the Crosta & Molllica striped packaging too. It has gussets to make a good fat bag. On one side the gusset is yellow, and on the other; green. Very smart.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

M&S Hand Cooked Soy & Balsamic Sweet Potato Crisps

Only a very quick post on these as I had a very few of them at a party - although I did salvage the bag from the rubbish (how sad is that?).

Quite small and fine cut and rather broken up. It's remarkable how different sweet potato crisps are from ordinary potato crisps. The orange colour no doubt reflects the orange of raw sweet potatoes.

Lovely aromatic taste. A lot nicer than I was anticipating. And the reluctant taste testers seemed to like them too.

Suitable for vegetarians.

Monday 26 January 2015

KP Nik Naks Nice'n'Spicy

Weirdly perhaps I've never tried Nik Naks before. I didn't mention this to the newest of the taste testers as I think he was thrilled to see a blast from his past on offer.

I have seen Nik Naks of course. But so often them come in a multi pack and I really hate to buy something for the first time if I can only get 10 at once.

So anyway, guess what? Yes the local Budgens has again come to my rescue and sells 50g "grab bags" of Nik Naks.

And? And, although obviously one of those crispy snacks aimed at small boys, these are really great and the nice'n'spicy flavour is inspired.

Basically; yum. What have we got? Onion, curry powder, spice and spice extracts (yes, but which spices?), garlic, sugar,  soy sauce, and the ever popular natural flavourings. So what have we got? Not sure but it certainly tastes good.

Even the empty bag (orange and red with cartoon explosions of taste) has a generous spicy aroma.

Nik Naks (it says here): knobbly, wacky sticks of corn. Intensely tasty, unusually knobbly.
No artificial colours or flavours (although we don't really know what the flavours are dammit), no MSG, and made with 100% sunflower oil.

Definitely worth a try. Now. Can I find small bags of their other flavours?

Sunday 25 January 2015

M&S Guilt Free Snacking Cracked Black Pepper & Salt Popped Chips

Noble friend at work who tries hard to eat a healthier snack for her crunch at lunch tried these popped crisps. And she really didn't like them at all. So like the generous person she is, she brought them in to work for me and the reluctant taste testers to try.

And frankly, we were baffled. These are really nice. What's not to like?

Nice texture. Made of potato flakes and extruded into the correct circular shape (so not your usual slice of potato), and flavoured with salt and pepper.

Nothing fancy, nothing fabulous or strange, just a really great taste of salt and pepper. Quite a big taste of pepper but I honestly thought these were really good.

Small 23g bag containing 95 calories of crispy snack. And a very smart dark grey packet with black trim. I think well done Marks & Spencer.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Portlebay Popcorn Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup

Wow! this popcorn is truly astonishingly tasty!!

Portlebay Popcorn; the original since 2012.  Hand popped in Devon. With a picture of a seagull eating popcorn on the packet. Nice orange and lemon stripes on the packet, and a handsome blue and white nautical trim. Is this the best popcorn ever?

Well, I was in the house on my own the other weekend and accidentally ate a whole bowlful all by myself. Although I did feel guilty I did feel well-fed and the popcorn really was good.

I took the remains in to work for the reluctant taste testers to try and it was a great success. Everybody loved this popcorn; even the most reluctant tester who is oh so suspicious of new flavours.  She admitted to liking it but then when she asked the flavour there was a stunned silence and I could feel the waves of disapproval. Oh dear!

But don't let that put you off. None of us could really put our finger on what the flavour is; we couldn't really be sure we could taste the bacon or be certain that the sweetness came from maple syrup - but who cares? Lots and lots of sweet and salty tastiness. We loved the flavour.

Great popcorn, great taste. We were all as happy as a pig in syrup.

No gluten, but not suitable for vegetarians (made with real dried bacon: hurrah). Well done Budgens in East Finchley for stocking this great product. I think they may have other flavours.... do you suppose I'll be going back?

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Brannigans Proper Thick Cut Crisps Roast Beef & Mustard

And here's a little 40g packet of Brannigans thick cut crisps from Budgens in East Finchley.

I suppose I must have seen Brannigans crisps before but perhaps they were always in large bags which as you know I hesitate to buy. And I'm glad I didn't find a bigger bag because I wasn't mad for these crisps.

However, quite a number of the taste testers liked them a lot.

The problem for me is that I couldn't taste much on the roast beef front... and I don't like mustard. And the mustard part of this crisp flavour is very much to the fore. But, you know, as I said, some of the taste testers were very pleased and admit to liking mustard a lot. So the contents of this small bag didn't hang around for long.

The crisps are quite thick cut (as advertised), with quite a lot of flavour dust, but rather pale in colour. Nice crunch. And the aroma from the bag is more beefy than the actual taste. And yet, there is no actual beef. Probably. The bag doesn't say they are suitable for vegetarians but as the flavour seems to be compounded from milk, mustard and yeast extract I can't see what meat might be involved. Unless it's in the "flavourings" of course.

Brannigans crisps are made by KP Snacks.

Saturday 10 January 2015

Kubeti Mega Stix Ketchup Flavour

I had to go to the local sorting office this morning to pick up a parcel too big to fit through the letterbox (three books), so I went a little further, to East Finchley, to pick up a newspaper and a loaf of bread from Budgens. And, oh joy! It turns out that Budgens sells an exotic and different selection of crispy snacks and I found a couple I had never heard of before. And fancy that; I couldn't resist buying one or two. Or maybe five.

So here we have Kubeti Mega Stix. These square tubes are about 50mm long and made so you can actually see through them. They had two flavours but I got the ketchup because I thought it might be more fun.

And they are rather good. There's a slight smell of ketchup when you open the bag, and a slight taste of ketchup, but mostly they taste of frying. In a good way. A good golden yellow with a spattering of dark orange; I expect that's the ketchup flavour dust. Nice crunchy texture.

Of course these are not crisps. These are made from extruded potato starch and all sorts of things like disodium gaunylate (what is that? I probably don't really want to know) and obviously we know that's a bad thing. But there is no denying that this is very tasty snack and if I'm not careful I will eat the whole bag on my own. Well, the Chef is in another country so there's only me here.

I couldn't find out much about Kubeti from the website which seems to be under construction and a bit clunky. There are going to be games so I suppose this crispy snack is aimed at teenagers. The packaging does say POTATO + GAME = STIX.

But guess what? This snack comes from Bulgaria! Although it is, somewhat confusingly, produced by a company called Ital Food Industry S.A. So initially I thought Italy.

Since when did Bulgaria have a crispy snack industry? Well, what do I know? Why shouldn't Kubeti export crispy snacks to all the exciting places listed on the back of the packet: Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia, Albania, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Repulika Srpska? This makes me feel a little bit old. Some of these countries weren't even invented when I was at school, and don't feature on my atlas. Armenia and Georgia have very exciting alphabets too. It's always fun reading the ingredients in 12 different languages although the different alphabets do make it more complicated. Luckily Kubeti also exports to the UK so I can read the ingredients in English if I want.

I like these. And will definitely go back for the cheese flavour Stix at some stage.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Lay's Saveur Barbecue

Here's another crisp found in a French motorway service station. And it's another barbecue or BBQ flavour crisp. And yes, because it's another barbecue flavour I've put off trying this packet.

Perhaps because it's a French idea of barbecue it simply tastes rather sweet rather than horribly of smoke which I really don't like and cannot understand. Who wants that? Well, obviously not me, but apparently a lot of other people.

We found these crisps toujours aussi savoureuses in a nice small 45g bag. Quite a fine crisp with a light crunch and a warm orange colour (extract of paprika) with a lot of little dark red speckles. The crisps are made without palm oil, and with no artificial colours or preservatives.

Lay's: des chips au goût exceptionnel! says the packaging. Well, perhaps not my most favourite crisps but not bad. There's not really a whole lot to say.

It's a bit of a mystery though how come Lay's describe this combination of onion, garlic, paprika and tomato (along with base aromisante barbecue and arômes de fumée) as barbecue flavour. I can only suppose that barbecued food in France tastes rather different from in the UK. Mmmn... maybe they were aiming for barbecued tomatoes?

I think we'll leave it at not bad. I wonder if barbecue flavour crisps always come in a black packet in France?