Thursday, 9 July 2015

M&S Glastonbury Cheddar & Somerset Cider Toasted Stottie Chips

This new offering from the crispy snack development department at M&S sharply divided the reluctant taste testers. The senior tester and the newest tester really liked them a lot, but the tall taste tester and the Dutch taste tester really didn't. And me? I quite like the taste... I just don't think it works as a crispy snack.

I really do wonder how many people work in crisp development for M&S. It seems that the developers never stop. There is always something new for summer, they have crisps for Halloween, and Christmas crisps (or popcorn), and I'm sort of wondering if these Stottie Chips were created for the festival season?

No. I think that would be too much. It's the Cheddar cheese in these chips that comes from Glastonbury. Which is, after all, a real place and not just the venue for a world famous music festival. Pity really; I've noticed that clothing, shoe and handbag companies produce special lines for festivals these days. Why not special crisps?

On this particular day I wanted a crunch with my lunch but I couldn't find the crispy snack I'd first thought of and discovered this new product instead. There weren't very many bags, and they were tucked away on a different shelf to all the other crisps. And in a different shaped bag too.

Perhaps the squarer than usual bag is to protect the little stottie toasts which are biscuity in texture. Of course all crisps break in the packet to a degree but square or oblong snacks look worse when they're broken than the usual potato shape crisps. Or perhaps M&S are simply changing the design of their bags.

I went online to see what I could find out about these crunchy little biscuits. And found an article in The Straits Times. Which is a newspaper based in Singapore of all places. Well, why not? I just wasn't aware that M&S sold food in that part of the world. And then there's a French blog called Carapomme all about Marks & Spencer products. But not a lot else. Once again I am baffled at how hard it is to read about M&S crisps online.

This crunchy snack is a square little biscuit with quite a hard crunch. The cheddar is not immediately obvious in the taste which is amazingly cidery. There's an added zing from the chives too. I like the smell, I like the taste, but as I said before, I'm not certain that this flavour works with a crispy crunch. It really makes me think of a pork dish I used to make. I don't recall the recipe exactly but there was a lot of cider involved.

Stottie cake or stottie bread originated in the North East of England (I read). It was heavy and doughy and called stottie because if you dropped it it would bounce. Maybe. When you see antelope bouncing away from predators in the Kruger National Park or on the plains of the Serengeti (or more likely on the Discovery Channel), what they are doing is stotting. However, none of this erudite research explains why M&S decided to use the name stottie for these crunchy little "toasts".

I can't quite make my mind up here but I don't think Stottie Chips work for me. The Chef didn't like them at all. He found them a bit odd. But some of the reluctant taste testers were very impressed. So give them a try.

2 comments :

  1. Thanks a lot for this article which is very detailed and give me much interesting information about these crisps that I personally enjoyed a lot. They are indeed unconventionnal (maybe a bit odd, you are right), but they disappear at a very fast pace in my kitchen closet :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for posting Carapomme. At least some of the reluctant taste testers agreed with you! But even if I didn't much like these Stottie Chips myself, it's always interesting to try new tastes.

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