Friday 30 September 2016

Vico Monster Munch Goût Ketchup

Another Monster Munch flavour from Vico. Someone asked if this is a Hallowe'en crisp. I think not. I think French Monster Munch are always this shape, and I rather like it. I find UK Monster Munch too big for comfort but these are just right and with quite a different texture.

The crunch is just right too, and the flavour not a bad version of ketchup. You can see Vico want you to think this is a Heinz ketchup flavour but the bottle on the pack doesn't say Heinz. I guess you can see by the colour of this crispy snack that there's something tomatoey going on.

I wasn't as impressed as I had hoped to be by this crispy snack but Slightly Red Haired Bristolian taste tester told me she was definitely a fan. And certainly the reluctant taste testers ate most of the packet without really noticing. That's the mark of a subtly tasty crispy snack. The Chef quite liked them too. Nicely ketchuppy; I thought it could be a better flavour but that's just me being really picky.

Tasty, though. And cheerful. You can't ask for more really.
And I went to a party the other night at a place where you aren't supposed to take any photographs. How could I resist the lock on the loo door? It's all modern on the inside with Dyson hand dryers and everything but this is the most beautiful lock plate (I think that's the technical term) I ever saw. Isn't that great?

Thursday 29 September 2016

Carrefour Crackers

Weirdly this crispy snack is sold on the same shelf as the salted crackers, and the sesame or bacon or pizza flavour crackers, but it doesn't have a flavour. Or… not an advertised flavour.
And to be honest I only bought it because the crackers are shaped like lions and elephants, crocodiles and hippos, tortoises and um…. what is that that says "gloups!!" exactly? It's hard to say when half your animal is hidden behind important calorie information. And do you know of any animal that says "gloups"? Even in French?

There is a fish-shaped cracker but I'm not convinced fish say anything very much.

These are nice little crispy biscuits, very lightly salted. They don't taste of much but somehow are very appealing and you probably will end up having another. And very likely revert to childhood and bite the head off first. The lion cracker is particularly well designed for this activity!

Do you suppose these are anything like the animal crackers Shirley Temple sang about in her soup?

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Carrefour Crackers Emmental

And yet another little crispy biscuit from the supermarket outside Reims. Really, the French appetite for little crispy snacks must be enormous! And don't you think they're a very odd shape? These little crispy snacks rather remind me of the London 2012 logo. OK, just me then.

Another deliciously lightly salted, lightly cheesy crispy crunchy cracker-type snack. Very nice. Some machine has gone to a lot of trouble to scatter grated emmental cheese over the top of these oddly shaped crackers and they are all the prettier for it. But not a whole lot cheesier.

However, this is rather a nice snack (one of so many available in France these days) and the reluctant taste testers and I enjoyed them.

You know, it's a lot more difficult to write interesting stuff about crispy snacks that are rather nice. They aren't horrible so you can't be scathing and mean. They aren't superb so you can't go into raptures. They're just... rather nice. Yes, I'd finish this little box of slightly cheesy snacks. So would most of the taste testers. Might be a little more exciting with a glass of wine but I wouldn't bet on it. 

Carrefour is a giant supermarket chain with branches all over France, possibly in Belgium? I've not been to Belgium (through it on the train in the middle of the night in 1979ish but I was asleep), and I'm sure there was a big branch on Mallorca. Anyway they seem to be working really hard on their crispy snacks. Good for them. Can't wait for my next visit!

Tuesday 27 September 2016

M&S Spirit of Summer Chipotle Chilli Coated Cashews

Well you probably noticed I don't usually write about nuts but here's a packet that made it into the office last week.

Cashew nuts coated with chipotle chilli. Not what I would normally buy for myself but certainly very tasty. Rather good in fact. This is a small packet and the nuts are in a very large bowl.

Definitely worth a try.

Monday 26 September 2016

The Giving Tree Strawberry Crisps

Strawberry crisps? Well, no, not really. Although this is a crispy snack. More of a crunchy snack perhaps.

Because I didn't read the label I was sort of expecting slices of strawberry, perhaps oven dried and rather chewy. What I got was whole strawberries looking quite surprisingly strawberry-like and freeze dried. Kind of astronaut food.

They certainly look pretty. And are very crunchy. And I do mean very crunchy. A little bit like Edinburgh Rock, a little bit how I imagine biting into a lump of chalk would feel and if you aren't careful when you crunch in you get a cloud of strawberry dust and there may be a lot of coughing involved.

Anyone else remember GloZell and the Cinnamon Challenge? OK, so that's an extreme example and we certainly didn't get that sort of reaction to our taste test but I think perhaps Tech taste tester laughed at the wrong moment. GloZell has her own Wiki page but that's another story.

Apparently if you managed to eat the entire packet (about 8 strawberries) it would constitute one of your five a day. I think I'll stick to real strawberries. With cream, obviously. However, if you fancy giving these crispy crunchy strawberries a try, Tell Elegant taste tester found this packet in the local health food store.

Bizarrely made in Thailand... because we don't grow strawberries in this country do we?
Oh sweet little thing, just where do I start?
This magical fruit that's shaped like a heart.
It's great on its own or topped up with cream.
On top of a scone, it's a tea party dream.
The Giving Tree has plucked this fruit from the vine.
With love, from the earth, a small taste of sunshine. Says the packet.

Friday 23 September 2016

Vico Monster Munch Goût Spicy

Petits monstres salés au bon goût de pomme de terres says the packet. And yet the flavour is not salted but spicy.
This is a very nice extruded potato snack. Lovely light and bubbly texture, and lovely spicy taste that gets spicier the more you eat.

The reluctant taste testers liked these a lot, the Chef liked these, I liked these too. Yup, a pretty good result here. We liked this crispy snack. It's nothing fancy - just rather good. Worked for us so why not give it a go if you are in France?

No idea why Vico Monster Munch snacks are shaped like ghosts but there you are.

The Chef and I tried this packet when we were out in Switzerland but didn't want to eat the lot. So I stuck the leftovers in a zip lock bag and brought them home for the reluctant taste testers. Great success. We like Vico's Monster Munch products.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Highlander Kiss My BBQ! (Gusto Barbecue)

The Chef and I have tried the Black Pepper Forever! and Tomato or Nothing! flavour crisps from Highlander. We discovered them at Italian railway stations and found them tasty, indeed pretty much irresistible. Especially the tomato flavour.
So when Noble Friend went to Rome for a family do I asked her to look out for a packet of Highlander crisps for the reluctant taste testers to try. Which she duly did. And the reluctant taste testers found this barbecue crinkle cut crisp really very good.
I quite liked them too and I'm not usually mad about BBQ/barbecue as a flavour. In fact sometimes I find it downright horrible. but not here.
Lovely crunch, nice rich colour and a very nice taste.
Sadly these crisps are no longer made in Scotland but for some strange reason Italian crisp giant San Carlo finds it a good plan to market these crisps with guys wearing kilts. Weird isn't it? But easily recognisable.
Highlander crisps: crunchy and brave!

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Bénénuts Apéro Cracks Fin & Fondants Sésame Pavot

Another little crispy snack to go with your aperitif. The apéro market seems to be big business in France these days: a tasty little morsel to go with your evening drink as opposed to a packet of crisps that you might munch down at any moment. At least, I guess that's the distinction. And the apéro usually comes in a little cardboard box with the crispy snack in a foil bag, while crisps come.... in a crisp packet. Oh the technicalities of the crispy snack market!

And this is a very little morsel. A crispy crunchy morsel but really very small. And sort of... lip-shaped. A bit unusual that. I can't think of another word for the shape but maybe there is a technical term for this shape that I haven't come across.

The mix of sesame and poppy seeds seemed to taste slightly more of sesame - but not overwhelmingly so. And then I thought maybe they tasted more of poppy seeds. These little biscuits have a nice crunch, and are not as sweet as many of this style of biscuit. They don't actually taste of very much... but in a very pleasant way. And you will find yourself having another.
The reluctant taste testers quite liked them and so the I, and the Chef too.

Bénénuts seems to be owned by Pepsico France. Wow, Pepsico owns a lot of companies. I wonder if they ever lose track?

Monday 19 September 2016

Zenhäusern Freres Croustilles de Sion

Oh dear. What a disappointment.

These crispy snacks are made by a really wonderful bakery in Sion. In Switzerland. And sold in local supermarkets as well as the bakery itself. Marketed as a fabulous local delicacy made using marine de seagull - NO! computer that should be farine de seigle - with which the fabulous local bread Pain de Seigle is made, and raclette de Valais AOP, which is a great local cheese.

And? And basically this is a little packet of highly priced very small slices of very finely sliced brown bread. And not very cheesy with it. But a bit crispy.

So really rather disappointing. Very unexciting. Which is a shame, because everything else the Chef and I have tried from this cafe; sandwiches, tartes au citron, chocolates... simply delicious.

Well I guess you can't have everything.

Sunday 18 September 2016

John & John Hand Cooked Aspall Cyder Vinegar Potato Crisps

Here's an interesting crisp. Looks English, made in the UK, owned by a German company and bought in France. Who'd have thought?

I promised the Chef I wouldn't buy any more crisps after the tonne I picked up in Rheims but really, how could I resist? Although it did seem strange discovering this crisp in the middle of Burgundy.

What a lovely crisp. A little thicker cut than mass produced brands as artisan crisps often are, this Cyder Vinegar flavour is beautifully delicate; nothing like as strong as many salt & vinegar flavours. And I gather from Tech taste tester that Aspall Cyder is rather good. He tells me he rather likes it, and  Aspall also make Cyder Vinegar.

Well the reluctant taste testers approved of these crisps. Even Senior taste tester who doesn't usually like salt & vinegar as a flavour.

Lovely packaging design. Although what an elephant has to do with cider vinegar I have no idea!

I thought the brand was called John John but it seems that the anchor on the packet is standing in for an & sign. So John & John it is. I think. You can read a bit about these crisps on Chips & Crisps  or here on John Crisps. If I need to try more flavours perhaps I should be heading for Germany?

Saturday 17 September 2016

Carrefour Crackers Gout Pizza

I must say that the reluctant taste testers and I really enjoyed this crispy snack, but we wouldn't call it a cracker. Crackers are flat aren't they? Crackers are for loading up with cheese or a dip. This is a tasty morsel of crunchy deliciousness but not a cracker.

But enough nitpicking about nomenclature. This is a very tasty crispy snack with a just-right crunch and a pretty good pizza taste. A little bit cheesy, quite a lot herby, the streusel style topping is very nice indeed. 

Along with all the reluctant taste testers I liked this snack from French supermarket Carrefour a lot. Delicious. 

Saturday 10 September 2016

Lay's Saveur Giant

Saveur Giant??? Giant taste? Taste of what?

Well, I think what we have here is a double burger with cheese. A double burger with cheese flavour. That's what I get from the picture on the packet. Does everyone in France know that "giant" means a double burger with cheese? How can I possibly tell as I'm not from France.

Giant says the packet. Le burger cult. Venez vite le deguster. It's a cult burger, come and try it quickly. Perhaps before they run out? And you get a coupon on the back of the packet: buy one double burger with cheese, one drink, one (probably) large fries and get another double burger with cheese free. From Quick. Which is a French burger restaurant. I've seen it advertised on TV, but not seen a branch in real life.

And what do we think? Sorry. Not impressed.

Immediately from my point of view; why is this flavour made with celery? Regular readers will remember that I cannot tolerate celery. Lots of people can't. Not just me. I won't come out in a horrible rash or die in agony, but I will be very uncomfortable for maybe 12 hours after eating celery. And I do wonder what it contributes to an alleged cheeseburger taste. If, for example, I were creating a cheeseburger in the privacy of my own home I would use beef mince, sliced cheese, maybe tomato ketchup, maybe a little cornichon, perhaps some sweet mustard, but celery? No. And you know what? At home I never use a bun.

Anyway, the Chef and I were not impressed.

The aroma isn't right. The crunch is fine but the flavour is all wrong. Unless this is what a double cheeseburger from Quick actually tastes like. I bought this packet of crisps in the hope of a really good cheeseburger flavour (well, obviously) but this is disappointing.

Sorry Lay's but we really don't like this crisp. And sorry Quick, but this crisp does not encourage me to visit your restaurants.

I first tried a packet of cheeseburger flavour crisps in August 2013. And with all the changes they haven't got any tastier. 

Friday 9 September 2016

Benenuts les inCRAquables Gout Sale

I have no idea at all why Benenuts thought it a good idea to spell les inCRAquables with such an unusual combination of capitals and ordinary letters but thought it best to copy their example in case it was important to them.

This is one of those crispy snacks extruded from a massive machine somewhere. And none the worse for that because I think it's rather tasty, and the Chef agrees. The reluctant taste testers loved this crispy snack. Yum!

But what a scary design! Why would you design your crispy snack to look like a devil mask? The packaging says a partager aver tout la famille! but really, would you expect your 6 year old grandchild to enjoy this creepy snack? Maybe children aren't bothered about this sort of thing.

I wonder if this oddly creepy snack is a Hallowe'en design? It's hard to know. Very tasty though.

Thursday 8 September 2016

Bret's Saveur Fromage Frais Fines Herbes

We visited the Aletschgletscher yesterday. Took two large cable cars up from Fiesch to the Eggishorn and basked in the most amazing sunshine. This is the biggest glacier in Europe. We've been before - but that was before the days of massive megabytes and digital photography a gogo. And in fact, I think the weather was not so nice last time we made this journey.

A wonderful wonderful treat to see such an impressive piece of geography. The views are absolutely stunning. We are very lucky to be able to leap in the car whenever we fancy to visit such a great place. I remember learning about glaciation at school but never thought I would have the opportunity so see so much of it.

But an excess of sunshine is very tiring so today we are staying home. I have a load of washing drying in the garden, the Chef is doing chores (washing his ski suit, pulling up that small willow tree growing on the terrace, recharging the battery on the car etc), and I can write up a crisp or two.

This is another crisp bought in Rheims, and another packet that weirdly blows up like a ballon when it gets a little bit warm. It is a mystery to me why some crisp packets do this and others don't. Maybe one day I will discover the science of crisp packets.

Anyway, here we have another flavour from Bret's of Brittany. Of course Bret's are very fond of this fine crinkle style of crisp, and here they have created a very fresh flavour with an interesting combination of cream cheese, and parsley, chives, dill and mint. Interesting. And I think rather tasty.

Nice crunch, typical rather pale Bret's crisp, lots of green herbyness going on. Does this qualify for a yum? Pretty much I think.

And does the Chef approve? Yes he does. And I will try to take some home for the reluctant taste testers to try. I think these crisps are rather good.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Vico Chips Kettle Cooked Gout Creme Oignon

Ah, look. A packet of crisps that can't help itself from blowing up like a balloon if it gets a little bit warm. Which means we try to eat them out here rather than cart a balloon of crisps back to London. 

But first, here's one of our favourite sculptures at the Fonadation Giannada in Martigny. Very sheepy sheep don't you think?
And an extra special place because they encourage you to walk on the grass. Most unusual. The Fondation puts on two big exhibitions each year (we went to see the Picasso) and has a large collection of sculptures; some in the gardens and some set on the roundabouts in and around Martigny. Which makes Martigny a great place to visit. There are Roman remains too if you are interested, including a little amphitheatre. Oh, and if you have children or are mad for dogs there is also the Fondation Barry; an exhibition devoted to the heroic exploits of St Bernard dogs in the Alps (named after the first and very famous rescue dog). Sometimes they have puppies I'm told.
Anyway, what about the crisps themselves? Not bad. A very nice rich golden colour but a slightly hard crunch I thought. Well, the packet does say tres croustillantes.  And to be quite honest I am not mad about the cream and onion combination as a flavour for a potato crisp. I cannot explain why: it's just this flavour doesn't really do it for me. 

Could it be that this is in fact not cream and onion, but cream and spring onion? Quite a different taste. Although packet shows spring onions the list of ingredients just says powdered onion. So who knows?

However, the Chef really rather likes these crisps. In fact he ate about half this 20g packet all by himself. And all of his own accord. I didn't make him. Honest.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Benenuts Apero Cracks Maxi Craquants Gout Bacon

We tried this crispy snack in a traffic jam on the A31 going South through France. A lorry with a heavy load had fallen over in the night and the authorities were taking forever to tidy up the load (which didn't look that heavy) and move the vehicle.Three lanes of motorway traffic filtered into one so we crawled along for about 45 minutes. Hope the driver was OK.

I reached behind my seat for a crispy snack and this was at the top of the pile.

Hmmnnn..... Not sure I would have chosen this under the circumstances. In fact I would probably have taken it home for Tech taste tester to try: he loves a meaty flavoured crispy snack.

Can you tell from the photograph? This snack is not square. It's not oblong. It's not even a rhombus. It's a kind of uneven squarish shape. Nice texture, but wow what a strong flavour! This snack " gout bacon" tastes strongly of maple cured bacon. Very sweet. 

Quite nice, but to be honest with you, not really suitable for a traffic jam on a very hot day. 

Thursday 1 September 2016

Beigel & Beigel Pizza Flavour Snack

Well this is a pretty good pizza flavour. I've tried some pizza flavour crispy snacks which were... not very pizza-y but this one does not a bad job.

And of course it's another lovely flower-shaped crispy snack so it has a lovely light crunch.

Pretty tasty!

And you know what? It's always more difficult to write stuff about a crispy snack that you rather enjoyed. So I haven't written much here because this was pretty tasty. Although not as good as the onion flavour.