Thursday 30 June 2016

Chimpeys Baked Peanut Snack

Noble Friend went on a cruise recently and brought back four packets of crispy snacks from Malta. Who knew that Malta would be such a mecca for fans of crispy snacks?

Never having seen anything like this little packet of Chimpeys the reluctant taste testers speculated as to whether the snack would be chimp-shaped or not. I confess I was pretty sure it wouldn't be, but History Graduate taste tester agreed with me that a chimp-shaped snack would be rather wonderful. Not chimp-flavoured. Obviously. Because that would be silly.

Anyway, what do you get  in your Chimpeys bag? A small crunchy snack, not unlike a Cheesy Wotsit or a Cheeto but brown. And a delicate but definite peanut taste.

Despite my disappointment at the shape I rather enjoyed this snack and would be very happy to try it again. The small bowlful was snacked up well before lunch.
In place of the usual little guy throwing away his rubbish responsibly, we have a jolly sun inviting us to keep our country tidy. Which I will attempt to do.
Have you noticed that Tarzan is not dangling from the branch of a tree but from the chimp?

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Howdah Onion Bhaji

On our recent road trip I managed to pick up 20 different bags of crisps or crispy snacks. Some I can't remember exactly where I got them, but not these crispy crunchy Onion Bhaji snacks.

These came from Gloucester services on the M5. and since I've been there I have been boring all and sundry with tales of what an amazing building it is with its fabulous green roof (even the petrol station part has a green roof) and huge windows. And guess what? This motorway service station has been named on the 2016 RIBA National Awards List. How improbable does that sound?

Unfortunately our visit there was marred by nose to tail traffic but I can report that the Farm Shop is wonderful with a great selection of foods (and other stuff I did not have time to investigate), much of it from small local suppliers. The bread looked very nice and I would certainly have bought a loaf if we had not been on our way to the Peak District. The loos were super clean and designed so you don't have to sidle in sideways with your elbows clamped to your waist; this is an important point that should be given more consideration by many public spaces. And finally, the car park was full of happy smiling people. Quite a lot of them proudly clutching a handsome loaf of bread.

Anyway, back to the crispy snack which is curvy and small with a pronounced onion bhaji aroma. And a pronounced onion bhaji flavour too. Very tasty with a slightly dull crunch, and a hot aftertaste. I thought this crispy snack was pretty good, and most of the reluctant taste testers seemed quite enthusiastic.

Of course, Tall taste tester had to say this crispy snack looks like deep fried slugs. Which I suppose it might if deep fried slugs were a bright orange. But I suspect they wouldn't be. So don't pay any attention to that.

It's good to find a slightly different sort of a crispy snack.

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Walkers Smoky Bacon

I don't think we have tried a crisp from Walkers for a while, so here is a packet of Smoky Bacon. A classic Walkers flavour. And in fact, it is a "grab bag" of Smoky Bacon crisps. Effectively this means you get twice as much as you would if you bought an ordinary small packet of crisps. And naturally, it also means you eat twice as many crisps as you meant to. Because who folds the bag over carefully and leaves half the contents for tomorrow?
A typical crisp from Walkers; nice golden colour and a good crunch (not too hard). I thought this flavour was... OK, but the crisps seemed to disappear from the kitchen mighty fast so I judge that all, or at least some, of the reluctant taste testers found them very tasty. And once again went out of their way to disagree with me!

Monday 27 June 2016

Tyrrell's Hand Cooked Ludlow Sausage & Mustard

Here's another packet of sausage flavour crisps from the road trip but it is quite different from the Golden Wonder Sausage & Tomato flavour the reluctant taste testers tried the other day.

These crisps have the well-known hard crunch of the typical Tyrrell's offering and lots of flavour dust. A common-sense combo of meaty Ludlow sausage, pokey mustard and the finest Herefordshire potatoes says the packaging.

The ingredients do include pork bouillon so it is disappointing that the taste, while tasty, is not particularly sausagey. Tech taste tester thought they were cheese & onion until he hit a mustard flavoured crisp (you don't get the mustard on every crisp). A nice enough crisp but the reluctant taste testers felt there was something wanting.

And we wanted to know; what makes a Ludlow sausage so special?

As always with Tyrrell's the packet design is great. Are those sausage garlands photoshopped into that picture or what?

Sunday 26 June 2016

Yorkshire Crisps Natural Sea Salt

Oh boy this is a lovely crisp. Not too salty, but not "lightly salted" either which often seems to mean slightly salted but not salted enough.

Just the right crunch and a good colour too. Very nice indeed.

The Chef and I felt we needed a treat so we scoffed this packet along with some Marks & Spencers onion & garlic dip (it's fabulous). We didn't need dip to make this crisp any better but it did make the treat more treaty.

Yes, crisp fans, get yourself to Yorkshire or at any rate anywhere that sells this fab crisp and try for yourselves. Or get a kind friend to import them from Yorkshire (I did).

Yum yum.

Saturday 25 June 2016

Golden Wonder Sausage & Tomato

This packet of crisps was recommended by Roxie at the bakery in Tetbury. She told me it's her favourite and I can see why.

And indeed the reluctant taste testers could see why too. Despite being suitable for vegetarians (no sausages were harmed in the making of this crisp) the taste is definitely sausage and tomato ketchup butty. I could taste the sage so that would make it a pork sausage; albeit faux pork. A very superior sausage butty.

Tech, Dutch and History Graduate taste testers were all enthusiastic and the little bowl of crisps (it was only a 32.5g packet) did not last long. Oh yes!; a great big two thumbs up from History Graduate.

Once again an old fashioned crisp with a light crunch. And we thought it rather tasty; very nice indeed.

I wonder where I can buy Golden Wonder crisps in London? I only go to Tetbury every couple of years or so.

Friday 24 June 2016

Tyrrell's Hand Cooked Coronation Chicken

A special summer edition. The British culinary triumph that is coronation chicken brought to life in a crisp form: a right royal union indeed, and surely a moment for a reverential pause. So says the packet.

The country has been celebrating the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II this summer (and the 95th birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh) and we've been enduring the usual lovely chill wet weather to go with the picnics and street parties, so I suppose this summer seemed a good time to launch a Coronation Chicken flavoured crisp.

I have read that cold wet summer weather was named Queen's Weather because the summer of the coronation (June 1953) was so dreadfully cold and wet. However, I have also read that Queen's Weather indicates a fine day for a fete because Queen Victoria was usually blessed with good weather when she appeared in public. Mind you, that comes from the 1894 edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. So we've had one or two queens since then.

If you take the first meaning of Queen's Weather you'll probably agree it's not a bad description for this June. In London anyway. We also have Glastonbury (famous for mud) and Wimbledon (famous for rain) fast approaching so I see no reason for the weather to improve any time soon. A pity because much of May was lovely.

Anyway, whatever the weather we can all enjoy a packet of crisps now and then, so why not give these a try? Dutch taste tester really rather enjoyed them even though she doesn't like coronation chicken, and History Graduate was spotted in the kitchen several times. He thought the taste was mostly chicken without the coronation.

Myself, I thought the taste was mostly chicken with a handful of curry flavour chucked in. But isn't that more or less how you make Coronation Chicken?

Quite a tasty crisp with rather a hard crunch. Not bad. And we really liked the packaging design.
On this day that Britain has voted to leave the EU, and the Prime Minister has resigned (or announced he will step down), it seems appropriate to offer you a crisp that commemorates one symbol of stability in this country: the Queen.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Zweifel Flȗtes à l'Ancienne Fromage

Wonderfully homemade-tasting twisted cheesy flutes from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel.

Not homemade of course, and in fact not very cheesy. But somehow that doesn't matter because... well, because this is a very nice, gentle and grown up crispy snack. And the Chef and I ate the whole packet between us without noticing we'd eaten the lot. Taste and tradition says the packet. A traditional recipe from the Jura bernois. Which is slightly confusing as the Jura is one Swiss canton, and Berne is another. But it seems that there is still a part of the Jura in Berne. Swiss geography eh?

A buttery, flaky crispy snack. No need to say anything else.

Except: probably only available in Switzerland. Pity about that.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Bloom's Popcorn Salted Caramel

Hand-popped corn with a muscavado sugar caramel. Sounds very tasty doesn't it?

And it is tasty. Very sweet, but quite tasty.

The problem with this popcorn is the popcorn. The back of the packet tells us that our jumbo-sized popcorn is hand-popped the traditional way, in small batches in steel popping pans, to give crunch and character. But it isn't jumbo-sized. Or if it is then pretty much all the popcorn I've ever tried qualifies as jumbo.

And to be honest I wasn't that impressed at all the tough little bits of kernel skin (if that's a thing) that got stuck in my teeth.

None of the reluctant taste testers were particularly enthusiastic about this popcorn. In fact, Noble Friend said she thought it far too sweet. We didn't quite finish the packet.

I have another packet of Bloom's popcorn to try so we'll see how we get on with that.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Yorkshire Crisps Henderson's Yorkshire Sauce

While the Chef and I were road tripping the other week we spent a lot of time in traffic jams. At times it seemed that the whole of England had ground to a halt. OK, so it was half term, but even so. Seriously, it was hard to get anywhere without taking to a B road.

Well, anyway, sitting in a lengthy nose to tail slow moving not-quite traffic jam, we tried this packet of Yorkshire Crisps generously donated by bloggy friend News From Nowhere Alan and his GLW.

Yum. Very tasty indeed. As I knew they would be.

A lovely rich spicy, oniony, lemony flavour on a terrific crisp. Delicious. Or as the packet says Deliciously Moreish. I'd agree with that.

I haven't tried Henderson's Yorkshire Sauce but I imagine it must be tasty too.

In fact we had tried this flavour before in pre-blog days and enjoyed it very much. If I remember correctly I bought the packet at a sort of snack truck outside Hardwick Hall in 2011. No. I don't have an astounding memory for purchasing crispy snacks, but my iPhoto tells me when I took pictures of Hardwick Hall.
If any of you crisp fans have been paying attention to Euro 2016 you might like to contemplate the fact that Wales (a country famously, one might say infamously, "the size of Wales") thumped enormous Russia 3-0 in the football last night. "The size of Wales" is of course an internationally recognized unit of geographical measurement. Lake Ontario is, for example, pretty much the size of Wales, as are Slovenia, El Salvador and Israel. Russia on the other hand is about 823 times the size of Wales.
I am not aware that anyone has tried to calculate the number of football pitches (soccer pitches) or double decker buses you could fit into Russia. Or Wales either come to that. Football pitches and double decker buses are also frequently used as units of measurement; the first for area, the second for length as in "how many double decker buses would you need to reach to the moon?"

Monday 20 June 2016

Chio Xtreme Wasabi

The Vinyl Collector (Dutch taste tester's husband - keep up!) went to Prague on business the other day and very sweetly brought back a packet of crisps for the reluctant taste testers to try. Extra generous when you think he has only met us once, if at all.

Slightly unfortunate that Dutch taste tester hasn't told him I don't like wasabi. But I don't imagine they discuss me much at home. And I am sorry to say I spat my first (and last) crisp out. Ugh! What is it that the whole world but me sees in wasabi?

But worry not that this effort was wasted because most of the reluctant taste testers like wasabi a lot. And indeed, Tall Elegant taste tester was effusive in her praise, and Tall taste tester opined that these crisps were pretty much the best ever. Despite being green.

So good reviews all round. Except from me. Oh, and the Chef said he tried "the xtreme (no kidding) wasabithings and they are without doubt one of the most evil tasting snacks ever" so he didn't fancy them either.

Strange stuff, taste. So says the Chef. And of course he's right.

If you like wasabi you should seek them out. But you may have to visit Hungary, the Czech Republic,  or Slovakia to find them.
The extremely green packaging gives the somewhat misleading impression that these crisps are all bubbly. Like mint Aero. But they aren't. They're just potato crisps.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Kettle Bites Mozzarella & Pesto Lentil Curls

Here's another new little bag of Kettle Bites. And this one has a whole 2 calories extra compared to the Maple Barbecue Waves. 2 whole calories? Amazing. Mind you, there do seem to be a lot more lentil curls than you get waves.

I rather like lentil curls as a crispy snack shape. They really do seem to work well with a good crunch and a great shape. But I'm not so sure about the flavour here. I don't terribly like pesto (I always feel I ought to like it and keep trying but I just discover yet again that I don't, much) and these curls do seem to be particularly pesto-tasty. Not sure the mozzarella shines through.

However, that didn't stop me quite enjoying this tasty little snack. And certainly none of the reluctant taste testers had any reservations; or none that they voiced. Extremely Senior Volunteer taste tester seemed particularly fetched.

Not bad, then? Yup. Not bad at all. Better yet if you like pesto.
And yes, since you asked, this is another road trip find.

Saturday 18 June 2016

Kettle Bites Maple Barbecue Wholegrain Waves

Road trip! Again. Or perhaps, still.

Yes another small packet of crispy snacks found somewhere on the crowded roads of England. And look! Only 95 calories in this bag. Hmmn... could that be because there are only about 10 wholegrain waves in this 22g packet? The waves are quite big and the packet quite small.

Quite a nice crunch, quite barbecuey, but the reluctant taste testers all thought this a very sweet crispy snack. I little bit too sweet. And the packet image of maple syrup dripping off the waves (which you don't actually get) really does tell you all about the sweetness. Not sure there was any obviously herby flavouring going on - but perhaps we would have noticed if it wasn't in the recipe?

If you like other wavy snacks such as this Honey Barbecue one from M&S you might like to try this Maple Barbecue snack for a change.

We seem doomed lately to try maple syrup flavour stuff. It must be the season for it.

Friday 17 June 2016

Frit Ravich Ruedas de Patata

Un snack muy crujiente says the packet. Which I judge to mean a very crispy/crunchy snack. Interesting to note that Spanish for snack is... snack. And why not?
 ¿Todavia no las has probado? (not tried this product yet?) Crujientes y sabrosas (crunchy and tasty) and ¡un sabor sorprendented! (a surprising taste). Well, now we know.

This wheel-shaped snack was brought home by the Dutch taste tester and her husband the Vinyl Collector from Barcelona. The wheels survived the French railways (including a strike and cancelled trains) but suffered some breakages on the public transport network in London. Which is a shame, but of course wheel-shaped or not, the snack still tastes the same.

And what does it taste of exactly? To be honest, not very much. Basically it tastes of frying. And it's mostly air. But surprisingly tasty not-tasting-of-anything-much Spanish air.

All the reluctant taste testers really rather liked this no-taste style snack. Most of us felt that we could happily sit down in a comfy chair with a good book or a box set and eat the entire packet.

And we feel that's a pretty good recommendation.

Thursday 16 June 2016

Kettle Chips Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup

Road trip!

You absolutely cannot beat motorway service stations and small shops in faraway towns for an interesting and exotic selection of crispy snacks. In small packets (all the better). But I can't remember where I found this packet. Sometimes all the service stations merge into one.

Anyhow, the reluctant taste testers and I tried these crisps and were amazed how mapley they are. Not that this is necessarily a good thing as we are fairly united in our desire to keep crisps savoury not sweet.

It was quite interesting trying these crisps because the week before we had another packet of Portlebay Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Popcorn which I wrote up in January 2015. Tall Elegant taste tester wasn't here then so she didn't realise we had tried this superb popcorn before.

So, faced with two entirely different textures, but two very similar tastes, what did we think? For myself, I think Bacon & Maple Syrup works better with the popcorn.

However, please don't run away with the idea that these crisps are in any way nasty. It's just that they are a bit sweet. And may not suit your idea of what a potato crisp should taste like.

Not suitable for vegetarians because they are made with actual bacon. From Norfolk. I wonder why the bacon should come from Norfolk in particular? I didn't know it was a centre of excellence in the pig farming world. And muscovado sugar too. No wonder they are so sweet.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Willy Chase's Fit Corn Cider Vinegar

I found this popcorn at the Gloucester Services on the M5. Yes, road trip! Although the motorway and A roads were so clogged with traffic we took to the B roads as soon as we could. And weirdly no-one else did. Which was really odd as there was no traffic but us.

Anyhow, the fabulous Farm Shop at Gloucester Services has all sorts of goodies on sale. And so I picked up a couple of packets of crispy snack.

This popcorn was made in a kitchen on a farm in Herefordshire. Make a Difference, Be Fit & Hooy, You Are What You Eat. Wo... eat local, fresh, seasonal veg, exercise lots and avoid fatty snacks (& twee stories) says the packet.

Free from gluten, frying, wheat, peanuts, dairy, MSG, GM/Frankenstein, Twee Stories, Guilt says this popcorn packet. Although I can't help feeling you would not expect to find some of these (dairy or wheat for example) in a packet of popcorn.

The reluctant taste testers were not mad for this Cider Vinegar popcorn. I quite liked it. The popcorn itself seems nicely popped and has a good fluffy texture and I quite liked the cider vinegar flavour which is not too sharp and seemed to me to be quite well achieved. I think perhaps that the others were expecting something different.

It is interesting how your expectations affect your reaction to a taste. As I say, I quite liked this; the rest of the reluctant taste testers not so much.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Golden Wonder Ready Salted


Who knew Golden Wonder crisps were still going? Not me. Not any of the reluctant taste testers. Not even Glamorous Hotelier from Tetbury who lives mere steps from a bakery that actually sells Golden Wonder crisps!

I saw the Golden Wonder crisps through the window and rushed in to engage bakery assistant Roxie (I think that was her name) in conversation. She tells me that she loves Golden Wonder crisps and was super excited to get a job in a shop where they are sold. Plus, she told me that writing about crisps would be the "best job ever!". Sadly it's not my job. But Roxie is right. It would be a great job if anyone ever wanted to pay me.

Anyhow, all the reluctant taste testers were thrilled to see a packet of Golden Wonder Crisps. Yes, indeed. Some of us remember Golden Wonder from when we were growing up. I remember Golden Wonder from before I ever saw a packet of Walkers crisps and I'm not the only one.

Lovely old fashioned salty, oily taste. Very nice. Nothing fancy but we liked these crisps a lot.

Monday 13 June 2016

Kallø Sundried Tomato & Herbs Corn & Rice Snacks

Well, this little packet of gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, coeliac friendly and certified carbon neutral crispy snacks was a present from the Family Vegetarian. Which was a very kind thought.

But how could she know how difficult it was for me to find the  ø symbol on my computer. For some reason it doesn't appear along with the  ö, the ȏ, the ố, the ȭ, the ỡ, the ợ or even the ǿ. No, it has to be searched for specially.

Well, anyway, this crispy snack made by Wessanen UK (based in Surrey) obviously has the best of intentions. Why not whip me out for some delightful al desko elevenses? suggests the packet. Kick out the crisps! Mmn... I don't think so.

This is another of those crispy snacks that look like a bunch of rice crispys kind of gummed together into circular cakey thing. The packet tell me this is all about living life in a positively fabulous fashion. Sounds great.... but.

The reluctant taste testers and I tried hard to like this sensible sounding snack with only 91 calories per bag, less than 3% fat, and no artificial colours or preservatives. Sounds good doesn't it? Yes, it really does. Unfortunately the taste is not so tasty. We thought mass-produced pizza or perhaps spaghetti bolognaise (but not in a good way).

And so, although it looks good, we cannot really say that (in our opinion) we recommend this snack.

Monday 6 June 2016

Propercorn Fiery Worcester Sauce & Sun-Dried Tomato Popcorn

Wow! this popcorn is extremely good. I tried Propercorn Sour Cream and Chive last November and to be honest I thought it tasted of washing up liquid but friends had other ideas. Yes, I didn't like the flavour at all but obviously that was just me. Anyway you can read about that here.

So (bravely) and because Waitrose had this flavour on special I thought I'd try it. And I'm impressed. Very nice. Yum. Lovely and a very hot tomatoey flavour. Indeed, quite fiery. A bit more fiery than I would usually go for but somehow this popcorn is extremely moreish.

I tried a bowl on the reluctant taste testers at work and the popcorn was suddenly (as the snow from the desert's dusty face) gone. I tried a second bowl and that disappeared too. So a definite success.

It's very nice popcorn. You can see from the photograph that there is a fair amount of flavour dust going on here. Lots of cayenne and pimento pepper probably. The crunch is a little bit soft but that's OK. And, impressively, there are very few unpopped kernels. It definitely qualifies for a yum.

96 calories per serving, gluten and wheat free, suitable for vegetarians. Oh, and made in the UK.

Very pleased that I tried this popcorn. I like the packaging better than the Sour Cream and Chive flavour too.

There's an article on the BBC website today about Propercorn so I'm going to repost these thoughts (first posted on 5th March 2014)..

Friday 3 June 2016

Yorkshire Crisps Cheddar & Caramelised Onion Chutney

I was due to meet kind bloggy friend Alan at a lunch party (for which we arrived terribly late: traffic jams .... what can you do?) and he lives in Yorkshire. So I asked him if he would very kindly bring me some Yorkshire Crisps because I tried them in pre-blog days and was impressed, but have not been able to find them since.

Anyway, Alan said yes of course but it turns out it was a more difficult task than he had supposed. Now I may get the details wrong here (if so I apologise) but it seems that daughter-in-law suggested trying the canteen or cafe at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. That's in Yorkshire not Alabama or Ohio. Obvs.

And indeed it was not Alan who purchased four special packets of crisps for me but his GLW. And to my shame I totally forgot to ask how much I owed her. I dare say there will be a way to pay her back in due course.

So here we are on a road trip to Minchinhampton, Tetbury and Snowshill in Gloucestershire, and tomorrow onwards and upwards to Derbyshire.  So naturally I bought a new crisp bowl and the Chef and I tried this first crispy flavour from Yorkshire.

Pretty good. We really liked this delicate flavour. It sounds as though it's going to be a great big strong flavour but it is much more sophisticated than that. And not too oniony. Nice crunch too.

Photos will have to follow later as I am having computer issues this week. But not crisp issues. Very nice.