Saturday 30 April 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Smokey Tennessee Rib

Gracious me! Yet another new crisp flavour from the ever hardworking crisp development department at Marks & Spencer.

And, you've guessed, I wasn't expecting to enjoy them much because you know I don't really care for barbecue as a flavour. But this is a very discreet barbecue flavour and I thought it worked quite well.

But I have no idea what this flavour has to do with Tennessee (I haven't been there) or indeed, what it has to do with ribs. Because it is suitable for vegetarians.

Sigh. I don't know why I bother to type anything at all before looking online. It seems that Tennessee Ribs are a thing and there's about a million recipes out there for me to try should I so wish. The first one (courtesy of Good Morning America) is labelled difficult, and features more than 20 ingredients but mysteriously not the method for making the complicated sounding barbecue sauce and barbecue rub. As we don't have a barbecue or a pit (whatever that may be) I think I'll stick with these crisps.

I think this packet was the choice of the Senior taste tester and the photograph shows the end of the packet so there are more broken crisps than you would usually expect. But it does show the amazing rich red colour. Which doesn't really show on the packet.

Friday 29 April 2016

Manischewitz Salted Potato Chips Ripple

Have you noticed that it's Passover this week? Maybe not if you live hundreds of miles from the nearest kosher deli, but here in North London it is all too obvious. And the most obvious thing for me was this seriously large 170g packet of crinkle cut crisps. Kosher for Passover says the packet. So obviously I had to try.

What a great crisp! Good size, nice colour, great big crinkles and a fantastic crunch. Plus, just about exactly the right amount of salty yumminess.

What more could you ask?

Unfortunately these ripple chips were so tasty I had to put the packet in another room; I was in serious danger of eating far too many crisps for my breakfast. Or indeed, my all day long snack fest.

The reluctant taste testers were far from unimpressed and tucked in enthusiastically.

Interestingly these crisps are cooked in cottonseed oil. I'm not sure I have come across that before. Lactose free, suitable for vegetarians, kosher for Passover and all year round.


Thursday 28 April 2016

Vico Crazy Craq Spicy Lovers

This squirly crispy snack from France isn't quite what I was expecting.

I thought it was probably a maize based snack but instead it's a maize and peanut based snack. If I had read the packet I would have known that of course. The crunch is heavier than it would be without the peanut. And the odd sounding "spicy lovers" flavour (at least I suppose that's the name of the flavour) is only a gentle chilli flavour. Nothing too adventurous.

But the combination of peanut and chilli, plus onion and tomato and the ever popular "spices", is really extremely tasty. The reluctant taste testers and I liked these spirals a great deal. In fact I liked them much more than I was expecting and ate rather a lot.

Yum! I'd buy these again I think. I may have to. There was nothing left in the bag to take home to the Chef and he was a bit miffed.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Jacobs Oddities Salt & Vinegar.

I picked up a multi pack of Jacob's Oddities the other week. Called Oddities I suppose because these crisp little biscuits are all sorts of odd shapes, they are even odd in the packet department. Look at that; the packet opens down the side. Or maybe the packet opens at the top (or bottom) as usual, but is printed sideways. I can't decide which would be easier for the factory.

These little biscuits come in all sort of improbable shapes. Bird, owl, bone, camera, speech bubble with LOL on it, windmill, pineapple.... Somehow eating a salt & vinegar biscuit shaped like a pineapple does feel a bit odd. Hence the name I guess. And lip shapes, sky rockets, and flowers.

Anyway, the little biscuits (baked, the packet tells us) are quite sweet tasting with the salt & vinegar flavouring chucked on top. Which sounds odd but works quite well.

You only get 25g in each little multi pack packet which is less than an ounce. We ate our way through 3 packets with no trouble at all. The biscuits are so tiny you get a lot of them in 25g but of course they are very easy to eat.

And for those of you anxious about a very strong salt & vinegar flavour: this is a very gentle version.
I should say that somewhat to my surprise this is my 500th post. Who'd have thought the project I started by accident one rainy summer afternoon in Switzerland would last so long? Who would have thought there are so many crisps to try?

Tuesday 26 April 2016

M&S Full on Flavour Roast Beef & Onion

Yet another different flavour of crisp from those insatiable guys at the Marks & Spencer crisp development unit. Do they ever sleep? On recent evidence it would seem not. Although for some strange reason these crisps are made not in the UK but Denmark.

The reluctant taste testers and I quite liked these beefy crisps for the most part. I think most of this 150g packet got eaten. Quite beefy, quite oniony, and weirdly, suitable for vegetarians. Nice aroma too.

And there's an interesting serving suggestion here. Put the crisps into a bowl. Chop up some parsley, and cut up some onion rings. Toss the parsley and onion rings into the air over the bowl of crisps. I think it would be a mistake to do this, not to mention annoyingly fiddly to tidy up.

Monday 25 April 2016

Bret's Les Aromatisées Saveur Carbonara

Here's another packet of crisps brought home from the supermarket outside Reims. And we think they are pretty tasty.

Bret's usually made a pretty good crinkle cut crisp and this is very nice. The reluctant taste testers and I were a little puzzled at thought thought of Carbonara as a crisp flavour, but somehow it works quite well.

I gather that France and Italy have been having a bit of a spat recently about how you should make a Carbonara sauce (rows about recipes are nothing new but this seems to be working up to be quite serious) however I have no idea at all how this crisp flavour has dealt with that super important issue. Or not. I'm guessing probably not.

I have a problem with Carbonara as a pasta sauce flavour simply because it is so very creamy. And then there's the creepy way some restaurants serve it with a raw egg (in the shell) on top. Ugh! I can't bring myself to fancy that. I know you are supposed to mix the egg into the creamy sauce but I'd rather not.

OK, so some of the reluctant taste testers liked this crisp flavour a great deal. And some of them didn't. So I guess you have to try them for yourself. But I liked them. I thought they were pretty good. And no raw egg!

The finely cut crinkles of Bret's crisps are as good as ever, and the crunch is nice. And you really can taste a combination of creamy sauce flavour and bacon flavour. Not suitable for vegetarians.

Not bad.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Zweifel Moutarde

A new crisp flavour from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel.

And I thought I was't going to enjoy it. But I also thought that Noble Friend, and Dutch taste tester, and probably Tech taste tester too would like it a lot. And I was right and I was wrong. Because yes, they all liked this crisp a lot. But I quite liked it too. Despite not being a fan of mustard (but I did say "quite liked"). But the consensus was that the reluctant taste testers were pleased to approve of this flavour.

It's new, it's from Switzerland, and they liked it (mostly).

Interestingly the Chef. who eats far more mustard than I ever do, found the taste far too strong and really didn't enjoy these crisps. He was extra disappointed because he almost always enjoys Zweifel crisps.

As usual with Zweifel, the crisps are finely cut with a lovely light crunch and rather light in colour.

Don't forget, I have never seen Zweifel crisps outside Switzerland, but if you like mustard and you're on your way to Switzerland these might just be the crisp of your dreams. You can't miss the mustard coloured packet, so give them a try. What have you got to lose?

Saturday 23 April 2016

Burton's Daily Fish'n'Chips Curry Sauce

What? Curry sauce?? Oh dear. I didn't fancy that.

And how wrong I was.

The reluctant taste testers and I have tried two Burton's Fish'n'Chips flavours before: Pickled Onion and Salt & Vinegar. But I don't think we were expecting Curry Sauce. And most of us were fairly impressed. Including Architectural taste tester who hardly ever comments because she's not a massive crispy snack fan. But she admitted that she really liked these little fish- and chip-shaped biscuity snacks rather a lot. I caught her snacking in the kitchen more than once. Unprecedented!

I confess I was expecting a strong curry flavour (hence the doubt) but although the initial flavour is certainly curry, you then get a wonderful and quite unexpected citrus burst. Really quite delicious. The curry and the citrus work very well.


Friday 22 April 2016

Riceworks Wasabi Soy & Ginger

So, a gluten free crispy snack made from rice: bumped brown rice (what is bumped rice?) and rice flour, plus ground white corn. Tall Elegant taste tester chose this snack and tells me it was very expensive. Lucky thing she loved it then.

I have to say I wasn't mad keen myself. But then you already know I'm not crazy about wasabi. And frankly I was a but stunned when the inside of my mouth went all numb and tingly after just one crisp. But that's just me.

Most of the other taste testers are made of stronger stuff and were pretty impressed. And ate quite a lot of these triangular snacks. They were quite popular.

And you can't really tell that this is a rice-based snack not corn or potato. Not bad. But (and not for the first time) I was disappointed that a triangular crispy snack seems far more breakable than snacks of other shapes. OK, I know that broken crisps taste the same as the unbroken ones. But the experience is not the same.

Interestingly the packet says that a serving is 1oz (28g), which is about 10 crisps. I hadn't thought of that.

And here's something else I hadn't thought of. This is a product made by Shearer's Foods in the United States. Why did I not consider that this might not be a British product?

Thursday 21 April 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Lightly Salted Carnival Mix

Red, white and blue potatoes, plantain, orange and purple sweet potatoes and beetroot. Wow, what an amazing mix. And how pretty this mix of crisps is. At times it looks like the fanciest potpourri and you expect it to be rose and violet petals rather than potatoes.

History Graduate taste tester picked these up at the local M&S. I had been aware of them for a couple of weeks, but frankly I was a little worried we were over-dosing on M&S crispy snacks. Well, maybe you can't.

This is rather nice. Very pretty, enormously pretty, and in fact rather tastier than you might suppose. Some crispy snacks which include beetroot or sweet potato aren't quite as nice as what you might hope, but this is all pretty tasty. Nice crunch and a gentle salty taste combine with the crisps to produce an impressive crispy snack. Although some of the reluctant taste testers were not mad for the plantain component. Well, there wasn't too much plantain, and I didn't get to try one so I can't comment.

Another entry in the Spirit of Summer range so the packaging is as gaudy as you might expect.

I've been away from the blog for too long. My computer has been suffering password problems. I can't tell you how many passwords I've had to change recently and I don't know why. It really put me off opening up my computer this last week in case I had to change my password again. Infuriating. (Grrrr.)

Wednesday 6 April 2016

M&S Pea & Mint Hand Cooked Crisps

By chance we are in the middle of  massive binge testing of new crisps from Marks & Spencer. Suddenly we cannot move for brand new crispy flavours. Honestly, it seems as though the M&S crispy snack department never rests.

So here's another offering from M&S. This is one of the Tastes of the British Isles range but it's not clear exactly what part of the British Isles is particularly represented by peas and mint. Perhaps it's a fairly flat area with not many trees? Er, no. That looks like a field of potatoes not peas.

I must say though, that for a pea flavoured crisp the packaging couldn't be much better.

Lovely big crisps with a great crunch, but a slightly greenish (or even blueish one taste tester hazarded) tinge (a bit weird that). I wasn't quite sure myself about the taste. It's mostly mint but then you get an aftertaste of pea. Kind of.

Tall taste tester said he really rather liked them. But incorrectly identified the taste as horseradish! However, I don't think even Extremely Senior Volunteer taste tester was particularly enthusiastic about this crisp flavour.

I don't really get pea as a flavour for a crispy snack. I don't think pea is a strong enough flavour even with the added mint but there you are. It's maybe just me.

But think on this. The ingredients include spinach (possibly for colour?) and carrots. Carrots? Really. Now that is seriously weird.
The greenish colour doesn't show up on the photograph.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

KP Snacks Roysters Bubbled Chips T-Bone Steak flavour

Here is a crisp from Roysters which is a subsidiary of KP Snacks. And this packet was donated by Tech taste tester who says this is a crisp from a student lunchbox. I sort of see what he means.

This is a bubbled chip made with dried potato so (presumably) not cooked in the same way as your average potato crisp. And the result is slightly bubbly, cream coloured and matte. Not at all like your average potato crisp.

And what an amazing taste. I couldn't pick the difference in taste between T-bone steak and any other kind of steak but I did think the taste is a astonishingly meaty. Tall Elegant taste tester could not credit how meaty the taste is. And following the meaty taste, you get a quite separate peppery taste.

Not super gourmet; but very fabulous in its own way.

As luck would have it I had left my camera at home so couldn't take a picture. But the packet image gives you a pretty good idea.

Monday 4 April 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Creole Spiced Bean & Rice Corn Chips

This is an amazing crisp. Well, it's a corn chip. So, this is an amazing corn chip. And a third choice from Marks & Spencer's new Spirit of Summer range.

I have to say if you don't like your snacks a dark brown, you may not exactly be fetched by the look. Both the images here fail to show just how dark brown these corn chips are. But you would be wrong to turn up your nose and not give them a try.

Because they are pretty tasty. And we did quite enjoy these spiced Creole flavoured corn chips with baked in pieces of red kidney bean & rice. Although I do have to say that I am dubious at best at the thought of baked in rice. What is that exactly?

Anyway, this was History Graduate's choice from the new range. And the reluctant taste testers thought he chose quite well.

Can you tell from the packaging that the last three choices of crispy snack come from the same range? Of course you can.

Sunday 3 April 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Corn Chips

M&S are determined to get us all into the spirit of summer and no mistake! Here is another new crispy snack for summer 2016.

Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Corn Chips it says on the packet. BBQ flavoured corn chips with baked in black pepper and coriander. 

Well, the reluctant taste testers found this crispy snack flavour slightly wanting. It's a little bit hot, but not very. It's not very BBQy. I never had bourbon so I can't say of it tastes authentically of bourbon but it is on the list of ingredients; weird!

The crunch was a bit dull and we felt that the taste was very superficial. Once you've eaten the taste (as it were) then the actual corn chip doesn't taste of much. Which is a shame because the chips are a nice rectangular shape with not many breakages. You can see the baked in black pepper but I don't really know what baked in coriander would look like.

Quite nice. But not as nice as Tall Elegant taste tester, who supplied this packet, had hoped. Interesting idea though. 

And... I just tried another. Perhaps I have damned these with faint praise. Maybe you should try them for yourselves.

Saturday 2 April 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Manchego & Jalapeño Hand Cooked Crisps

The Senior taste tester discovered that now Easter is over and done with M&S have leaped into summer mode. And here we have his choice of the new summer range of crispy snacks.

Quite a tasty choice in fact. I've not had Manchego cheese as a cheese (I don't think so anyway) but here we have it as part of a crisp flavour. Pretty tasty. Good and cheesy, and a little bit hot too.

Not a bad combination.

I was allowed one of these tasty crisps (with a good crunch) and the Senior taste tester ate the rest. Which is fair enough. Because after all he bought them.

Friday 1 April 2016

Tyrrell's Furrows Sea Salted

Tyrrell's have produced an amazing crinkle cut crisp with the deepest crinkles I ever saw.

Lovely old-fashioned aroma of properly fried crisp, great crunch, super deep crinkles, and a nice lightly sea salted taste.


I don't know what else to say. This is a pretty good crisp. And in keeping with the Tyrrell's tradition; the packaging design is as bonkers as ever. Aren't those ploughing camels great?

The reluctant taste testers reckoned that Tyrrell's are right, and this crisp would would very well with a dip. Maybe hummus, maybe something else. But we ate them all before we could try.