Wednesday 30 November 2016

ROKA Cheese Sticks Gouda Cheese

This is another cheese stick from those lovely people at ROKA in the Netherlands.

Very nice lightly cheesy cheese straw sticks  with a sort of streusel topping probably  made of Gouda cheese. The crunch is light, not too crunchy, the taste is light, not too cheesy and sort of without concentrating I tried one with a cheese and herb dip and.... it works amazingly well.

Less golden than shown on the packaging but very nice.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Gesher Snow Flakes BBQ Flavored

Here we have another of those strange little flower-shaped (or perhaps snowflake-shaped) crispy snacks from Israel. I think it's a great shape for a crispy snack; light crispy crunchy little pillows - they're very nice. And a good base for a flavour.

So why have I never seen this shape in a snack not intended for the kosher market? I have no idea and  I think it's a bit odd. Still, perhaps there is a crispy developer planning a British version of this snack even as I type.

Another weird thing is that the only other flower or snowflake snacks I have tried were made by Beigel & Beigel. And guess who owns Gesher? Beigel & Beigel. So they market two different kinds of exactly the same snack. The Snow Flakes look as though they may be aimed at children, the Beigel & Beigel version has a more upmarket style of packaging and larger packets.

This is sold as a BBQ flavor snack. Which it isn't. The taste is more cheap tomato ketchup. Which is a shame. Because the crispiness is just fine.

Monday 28 November 2016

Pipers Crisp Co Atlas Mountains Wild Thyme & Rosemary

I've already tried 6 different flavours from the Pipers Crisp Company so it's very nice to be able to try a new one. I really must try and remember to add at lest one Pipers crisp to the all time favourites list. Several I have described as superb and to leave them off the list is seriously unfair.

Anyway, this is a present from the Family Vegetarian (thank you very much!), and doesn't it have a great packaging design? When did you last see a fabulous lilac coloured packet? Me neither.

These crisps are perfectly crisp with a great crunch. And boy are they herby! Extremely thyme-like, not so strong on the rosemary. I'm almost inclined to say they might be a little bit too herby.

The fabulous wild thyme is sourced in the Atlas mountains. The land is divided into parcels and local families bid to collect the herb for 3 years. Each permit holder harvests the herb sustainably, leaving some of the plant to continue growing and collecting only a set amount each week. Says the packet. We don't get told where the rosemary, tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano, parsley or sage are sourced. It is quite a complicated sounding recipe.

But let's not get too picky. I really did like these a lot. The Chef liked these crisps and Christmas Tree Decorator taste tester said she liked them too. Plus they work extremely well with a dip.

Can't say better than that.

Still going April 2021, still very herby.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Snyder's of Hanover Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces

Yes... I honestly wasn't sure what to expect of Pretzel Pieces.  But you know, what you get is pieces of pretzel. Trouble is I'm wondering do Snyder's make a bunch of pretzels and then hit them with a hammer or something?

A thousand years ago when the world was young you used to be able to buy biscuits by the pound, or half pound from the local grocer. Biscuits didn't come in packets. And if you had a bit less money you would buy broken biscuits. Which tasted exactly the same but (you've guessed) were all broken bits. Only in this case it does seem that the "whole pretzels" never exist. All you can get is the broken bits. Weird.

So this flavour of Pretzel Pieces is Hot Buffalo Wing. Which means chicken wings. Well, we all tried really hard but none of us could detect any trace of chicken in this flavour. And do you know, I have two (2) friends who tell me that the wing of the chicken is the tastiest bit. Now that is weird.

Anyway, ignoring that weird fact, we move on the the taste of this quite dark orange crispy snack.

Despite themselves I think the reluctant taste testers rather enjoyed this snack. Some of the bits  (sorry: pieces) have a sort of shiny pretzel skin which holds the flavour dust a lot less well than the inner bits of pretzel which are well impregnated with lots and lots of flavour and are very very flavoursome.
Which is great. We just weren't quite sure what they taste of. Since there's no sign of a chickeny taste, perhaps the taste is simply "hot". Whatever it is, it's really very tasty. The reluctant taste testers and I surprised ourselves by eating quite a lot of these strange broken bits of pretzel.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Tesco Mini Snackers Pigs in Blankets

You know, the packaging on these two Mini Snackers packets, Turkey & Stuffing (see forthcoming post) and Pigs in Blankets reminds me of old fashioned American Christmas cards. My parents knew a lot of American Navy families from the old days when we were based in Dunoon (Scotland) and we always got a load of Christmas cards which were totally different from English cards. They featured pine branches, dark panelled rooms, tartan armchairs and sometimes old fashioned globes.

I don't really know why, but the packaging here really says American greetings card to me. Although I have to say that recently the cards I have received from the USA have been quite different. I guess we have all moved on since the 1960s.

Anyway, I though that the reluctant taste testers and I should try this just after the Pringles version of Pigs in Blankets. Which I rather liked.

Compare and contrast you know.

"Quite biscuity" said Noble Friend (she's learned the taste testing jargon hasn't she?), yes, quite biscuity and a bit dry. But nonetheless they proved quite popular with the taste testers. More popular with them than with me. I don't know. I wasn't massively fetched. Quite tasty, but nothing like as good a version of Pigs in Blankets as the Pringles version. Not nasty just not... terribly exciting.

You get quite a lot in the packet, so if you enjoy these, you're in luck.

Friday 25 November 2016

Pringles Pigs in Blankets

馃巹Merry Pringles馃巹says the tube. I couldn't find a holly symbol so I used the Christmas tree instead. It's not the same I know, but we have to work with what we've got.

And Pigs in Blankets as a flavour for Pringles? Well, apparently, yes. And the Pringle on the tube is shown wearing a Christmas bobble hat, skiing on actual pigs in blankets (that's mini sausages wrapped around with bacon for those of you not in the know), and with a string of Christmas lights wrapped around its neck. It must be hard to ski with no arms or legs.... and no head either. Life is so tough when you're a Pringle.

Slightly oddly the tube also says Immagini a scopo dimostrativo (for illustrative purposes only - so they don't actually expect you to believe in a skiing Pringle). Which is Italian. Also Snack Sal茅 au Go没t Chipolata et Bacon. Which is French. I've got used to the fact that Bacon is apparently a French word, but Chipolata? Very strange.

I have the say the Chef is a bit horrified. "I thought it was real pigs in blankets" he said sadly. He doesn't like Pringles.

So let's find out what the reluctant taste testers have to say.

"Just like crackling".
"I could taste the bacon".
"These are really good". They said.
Except Tall taste tester who said, "Well, they just taste like Pringles don't they?" He doesn't really like Pringles either.

A success then. Not unqualified, but definitely a success.

Thursday 24 November 2016

M&S Christmas All Butter Rosemary & Sea Salt Straws

This rosemary flavoured (not very strongly flavoured - but in a good way) cheese straw from Marks & Spencer is kind of like a really rich shortbread. It is so extremely buttery that I felt I could only eat about half a straw at a time. They are rather large so you get quite a bit of buttery rosemariness with each straw.

Want to follow the serving suggestion? Take a white table cloth and scatter it liberally with golden glitter (can you imagine? glitter gets just everywhere), then strew the table with bits of yew, with red berries if possible,  and place your plateful of crispy snacks on the glittery cloth. Making sure, obviously, that there is a string of fairy lights in the background (actually not a problem this house because the Chef and I rather like to light the place with fairy lights).

Very tasty, but extremely rich. So you may feel like me that you can only manage about a half of one of these at a time.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Golden Fluff Potato Flutes Honey Barbecue Flavor

Another kosher snack for the reluctant taste testers to try. Another tiny 14g packet containing only 60 calories and 3g of fat.

We had already tried the Ketchup flavour, and enjoyed that, and the Onion Garlic flavour, which wasn't bad either. But I'm not sure that the reluctant taste testers and I were massively impressed with this Honey Barbecue flavour.

Yes, the whole bag was eaten up in no time at all, but you don't get many potato flutes in the average 14g packet. I mean, check out the photograph. That's all you get.
The flavour was a bit nothing. Which is a pity. But there you go. I guess not all your crispy snacks can be as good as the one you like best. Which so far, for me, is the ketchup flavour. 

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Shufra Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzel Nuggets

The Nosher's Choice

This packet of snacks was another choice from the extremely kosher local deli which I revisited the other day with Noble Friend (it's a bit scary to go on my own!). And Noble Friend was keen to try. So...

Er... well I thought this crispy gloopy snack was incredibly weird. I mean, seriously weird.

I would have been happy with the pillow-shaped pretzel casing which is crunchy and tasty. I never realised until recently that pretzel flavour (and texture) is rather to my taste. But this gloopy inside was not what I was expecting and I didn't like it at all.

However, those of us who enjoy peanut butter, which includes the Chef, liked it quite a bit. So this whole 226.8 (8oz) packet got eaten up. Peanut butter filled snacks are heavy.

Peanut butter lovers rejoice! says the packet. Because these little treats pack a big surprise inside (hmmn...). One crunch and you will know that Shufra Peanut Butter Filled Nuggets are anything but ordinary. Enjoy real creamy peanut butter inside every crunchy bite-sized nugget!

OK, so not exactly aimed at me then.

Tall taste tester said he found this crispy snack weirdly strange, but somehow he really liked them. And he loved the packaging. Even the strange spoon full of gloop.

Monday 21 November 2016

Walkers Sausage & Brown Sauce

Ooh dear. This was not a popular flavour with the Reluctant Taste Testers.

Dutch Taste Tester told me recently that she had tried this crisp and quite enjoyed it. I think I can safely say she was the only one of us (not sure if the Vinyl Collector enjoyed them; history doesn't relate).

I couldn't really say what this crisp tasted of except it was very fruity. Kind of like a mince pie suggested Slightly Red Haired Bristolian Taste Tester. I suspect she meant this not in a good way.

And Noble Friend almost spat out her crisp. What kind of brown sauce is this she asked? It can't be Daddy's, it must be OK.... Or perhaps she said it can't be OK it must be Daddy's. In fact, it's HP Sauce. Who knew there were so many brown sauces? Not me.

My mother thought that brown sauce was for people who watched Coronation Street (we never did) or lived in the North (we'd lived in Scotland of course, but that's not the same thing) so naturally she didn't buy it.  My mother was brought up in a household where food tasted of as little as possible (sad but true) so she was not a natural taste tester and we never had brown sauce at home. Until my brother went to work on a building site one summer and learned to drink tea and eat fry ups with brown sauce. And even when the larder did feature brown sauce I never fancied it (too brown!) so I never discovered how weirdly fruity it is.

For someone not brought up on the strange concoction that is brown sauce this is not a sandwich filling that I ever even considered. I would go with sausage and ketchup. Or mayo perhaps. Anyway, it seems that this weirdly fruity taste did not please the reluctant taste testers. And we did not finish even the small 25g packet. Pity.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Golden Fluff Potato Zagz Original

This little bag contains only 60 calories! This little bag contains only 3g of fat. Huzzah! Sounds awfully healthy doesn't it?

This little bag contains only 14g of extruded potato snacks. Of which 3g is fat. Not so healthy then. And less than 1g of fibre. Again, not so healthy. It rather sounds as though the healthiest thing about this little bag of crispy snacks is that it's very small indeed.

This little bag contains a rather boring not very crispy, not very tasty snack. I'm disappointed and the reluctant taste testers were too. Golden Fluff can definitely do better than this. The bite is a bit heavy, the texture's not right and frankly we've tried a dozen tastier lightly salted snacks. Perhaps this natural flavour is supposed to have no salt at all? In which case it fails: 125mg or 6% of your daily recommended allowance.

Just stop what you're doing and grab a zag or two! Crispy, crunchy, crinkly, rippling with fresh potato flavour. Guaranteed - two won't do! says the packet. Hmmn.

Well I don't know. I think I'd sooner have something a little bit less "healthy".

I read online that an orange (fruit chosen at random) contains about 60 calories (maybe - different websites give different answers but let's run with this), and 0.1g of fat. The orange contains no salt and 2g or so of fibre. Of course it also has 9g of sugar. But think of the calories you use battling your way in through the skin.

If you haven't yet read it, you might like to take a look at my recent post on "healthy snacks". Which mostly really aren't.

Saturday 19 November 2016

M&S Christmas All Butter Mini Goats Cheese Straws with Chilli & Roasted Onion Chutney

What a mile long name for a crispy snack. What a terrifically tasty crispy snack!


I think if you asked them you'd find that all the reluctant taste testers liked this mini cheese straw concoction very much indeed. I thought they were very good but we all liked them; Senior taste tester, Tech taste tester, Giraffe Fan.... even those of us who don't like goats cheese (Tall Elegant taste tester "but I don't like goats cheese") enjoyed this extremely good and terrifically tasty crispy snack.

Lovely texture, nice bite, the sort of streusel cheesy topping was cheesy and crunchy, nice heat from the chilli aftertaste and the onion chutney adds to the rounded taste: altogether a tremendous snack. 10/10 for general deliciousness.

Grab some while you can because this is probably a limited edition for Christmas only. And grab them now because Tall taste tester is going to buy up the entire supply to give to his family for Christmas.

Probably not madly healthy. Because you will eat more than you meant to.

Friday 18 November 2016

KP Oven Baked Italian Herb Peanuts & Cashews

I really am not at all sure about these nuts. The Chef seems to quite like them but I'm not sure.

The packet shows the nuts all glossy and golden and brown and covered in herby goodness. The nuts in real life are a bit matte and more grey than golden brown. Which is not exactly a great look. But they do have some herbs on.

And the flavour? Er... well to be brutally honest I felt the taste was more sick than Italian herbs. Not nice. After 2 or 3 nuts they start to taste OK, a fairly tasty herbiness. But honestly I thought the initial taste was very unpleasant.

The Chef, however, didn't seem to know what I was talking about. He said they were tasty. And that was that.

I'm really not sure I want my nuts oven baked to lock in flavour. Which apparently is how they cook nuts these days. I have no clue how they used to cook nuts (presumably in a thoroughly unhealthy fashion) but whatever they did it was pretty tasty (and did not include Italian herbs), and I think I really liked it.

Why can't we all learn to eat less of the full fat version? Because the healthier oven baked or whatever is never as nice. And I feel sure that people are encouraged to eat more of the "healthy" version because it is labeled healthy even though the healthy aspect is quite limited.

Seriously, and I do mean seriously, I would far prefer to eat something full fat and bad for me - but carefully, thoughtfully eat less than I I'd really like - than eat more of a so-called healthy version which isn't anything like so nice.

In this case less really is more. And don't let anyone try to persuade you otherwise.

Thursday 17 November 2016

Tasto Japanese Seaweed Crisps

Tall elegant taste tester has been to the Far East recently and brought back this offering for the reluctant taste testers and me. She is now covered in confusion because she has subsequently discovered that the signature crisp of Tasto is apparently curried crab and she stupidly bought Japanese seaweed instead. Doh! I think we can forgive that. Of course we can. We'll live. I mean, it's very kind of her to bring any crispy snack home with her.

And what did we think? Japanese seaweed? Sounds disgusting doesn't it? But in fact not so weird as you might suppose.

And the reluctant taste testers, far from saying "ugh yuk, what's this nonsense?" said, instead that this is a very tasty snack, delicious, they liked the umami, and what was the flavour because they were rather enjoying it.

OK. So the reluctant taste testers are getting really international in their appreciation of crispy snack flavours. And good for them. Or... why not?

A pretty good crisp, not a bad flavour, not a bad crisp. Tasty. We quite liked these.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

M&S Christmas Belgian Dark Chocolate Coated Chilli Tortilla Chips

This is another product I went back to the shop to buy another packet and found it had disappeared from the shelves. Maybe it will return (would be fun for Christmas Day) but it does seem odd that products are so ephemeral these days.

I'm not sure that the reluctant taste testers were terribly fetched by the idea of a chilli tortilla with a thick layer of chocolate. I confess I was rather dubious myself. However, I decided that this is a rather fabulous crispy snack. Hence the attempt to buy more. And they did all get eaten up.
The outside of the packaging looks like this, the inside is a shiny and golden. No point in scanning that because it doesn't really come across, but it does make a great backdrop for the tortilla chips.
The chocolate is really good and thick, the tortillas not too chilli-y (maybe a little more chilli would not be a bad thing) but the whole effect... I decided I really liked it. It's a very nice combination.

Maybe you'd look at this and think ooh that sounds a bit odd. But I think these tortillas are rather good. Give them a try if you spot them on a shelf.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Walkers Cheese, Cucumber & Salad Cream

This is one of the new (presumably limited edition) sandwich filler flavour crisps from Walkers. And what a strange sandwich this would be. Or would it?

I have to say I have never made a cheese, cucumber and salad cream sandwich. Having just typed that I'm sitting here thinking, well, maybe that would be quite tasty. And yes, it probably would be; depending on the cheese of course. From the photograph it could be basic cheddar. But I've never thought of building such a sandwich. And we don't usually have Heinz Salad cream in the house; we have Hellman's Mayo instead. So... you know...

Am I right in thinking that not so long ago Heinz tried to get rid of their Salad Cream? Yup, here we are (I'm afraid this link is from the Daily Mail but it is interesting); in 1989 Heinz considered scrapping Salad Cream. But after a massive public outcry (apparently led by Roy Hattersley MP) the scrappage was quickly cancelled and it seems the product has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Here it is starring in a Walkers crisp flavour!

And oh dear! Do you see what I thought there? "Not so long ago" I wrote. And it turned out to be 1989. Oh dear, oh dear. That makes me feel very old....

Anyway...This isn't a bad crisp. Quite fine cut, a little pale in colour and tasting slightly of little gherkins rather than cucumber. But interesting. It's hard to pick the cheese or the salad cream but most of the reluctant taste testers quite liked these crisps.

It's still a bit weird. In fact, somehow the whole sandwich filler flavour thing is a bit weird. But the way crisps are going I guess you have to come up with new flavours all the time. So why not?

Monday 14 November 2016

The Mail on Sunday Asks: Just How Healthy Are "Healthier Crispy Snacks"?

The Mail on Sunday's Health page decided to take a look at the so-called healthier crisps on sale these days. Ans there's no denying there are plenty of them.

The Mail says: It is the snack trend of the moment: crisps made from root vegetables, beans, chickpeas, egg-whites or, if it must be potato, baked rather than fried. They promise not only to preserve our waistlines but also boost our health. I am not convinced this is correct. Healthy option crisps are an old story and most of them say they are "guilt free" rather than try to convince you they are actively good for you.

So anyway the Mail on Sunday asked nutritionist Fiona Hunter to examine some of the most popular "healthy crisps"... and her verdicts may come as a surprise. Well, maybe, but I hope you've noticed that my sidebar shows "crispy snacks that may be a little more healthy for you than most". They may be slightly healthier but I'm not convinced that any crispy snack is particularly healthy because almost all are chock full of salt (and fat and goodness knows what else) and these days salt is universally agreed to be a bad thing.

So what's the verdict then? Here's my synopsis, and my comments, going anti-clockwise round the page.

Popchips Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
The packet says "All the flavour with less than half the fat of fried crisps."
Fiona says 3/10
Low in fibre so no positive contribution to your diet.
I think Fiona is a bit optimistic expecting a positive contribution from a crispy snack, but there you go. I tried Popchips Barbecue Flavour and wasn't that impressed. I seem to remember the texture was fine. But not the flavour.

Walkers Sunbites Sun Ripened Sweet Chilli
The packet says "An extraordinarily tasty multigrain snack, 30% less fat than regular crisps."
Fiona says 5/10
Multigrain is one of those terms that sounds good but offers no nutritional benefits whatsoever.
I tried a packet of Sour Cream & Cracked Black Pepper Sunbites and rather enjoyed them.

M&S Eat Well Spicy Chorizo Sweet Potato Snacks
The packet says "Baked not fried."
Fiona says 8/10
Fewer calories and less fat than many other snacks... fibre equivalent to about two oatcakes.
The reluctant taste testers and I haven't tried these. Mostly because I tend to avoid sweet potato snacks. I have to admit this is a pretty good score but I don't terribly like chorizo so not sure about the flavour.

Tyrrell's Mixed Root Vegetable Crisps
The packet says "Hand cooked beetroot, parsnip and carrot crisps with sea salt. No artificial ingredients, Free from gluten."
Fiona says 4/10
The bag contains more fat than a McDonald's cheeseburger.
Frankly I think I'll stick with a cheeseburger! Again, I haven't tried this crispy snack because I don't usually buy vegetable crisps. But there's really nothing to stop me expanding my horizons.

Chirps Free-Range High Protein Egg White Bites Sour Cream & Onion Flavour
The packet says "Made with free-range eggs: high protein, low in carbohydrate, low fat, low sugar, natural flavouring, 30% less calories than other crisps."
Fiona says 3/10
Low in fibre and the highest in salt of all the crisps we looked at.
I have never seen an egg white crispy snack and the concept sounds all wrong to me. What do you think? I mean, what do you have to do to an unsuspecting egg white to come up with a crispy snack? I might try this for the purpose of research but reluctantly.

Yushoi Sweet Chilli & Lemon
The packet says "Baked, source of protein, high fibre, made with 68% green peas, no artificial colours, flavours or MSG."
Fiona says 7/10
Peas are better than a potato-based snack... you should feel fuller for longer.
The reluctant taste testers and I tried Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks Smoked Salt & Szechuan Pepper. I've got to say we weren't mad keen. I've tried several pea based snacks and honestly? I'll take potato every time. However, the most popular post on this blog is pea-based: M&S Eat Well Green Chilli Lime & Coriander Pea Snaps. Which the reluctant taste testers and I thought were horrid. And that has absolutely not stopped anyone wanting to read about them. Remarkable.

RW Garcia Organic Thai Sweet & Spicy Tortilla Chips with Flaxseed
The packet says "The perfect organic snack. Organic, non GMO, transfer free and gluten free certified."
Fiona says 5/10
The suggested serving size (50g) is far too big for a snack...
This sounds like clutching at straws. I have never seen any RW Garcia products but certainly 50g is about twice the size of a small packet of crisps - which I would usually take as a serving.

Beanitos White Bean Chips
The packet says "Source of protein, high fibre, gluten free... beans are better."
Fiona says 8/10
As much fat as a bag of [Walkers] cheese & onion, but similar protein to a 150ml glass of skimmed milk and the same amount of fibre as two and a half Ryvita Multigrain crackers. But available only as a 170g pack so you might end up eating more than the suggested serving of 28g.
Again, I have never seen a Beanitos product but this crispy snack seems to get the best review (and I have quoted it in full).

The thing is, most people don't expect to get their fibre or protein from a crispy snack; they don't say to me "well, I'm hoping this crisp will lower my cholesterol/blood pressure". No, they expect to get a quick fix of salty yumminess.

I can't help feeling it's going to take a whole lot of education to make your average snacker think about protein in their snacks. And a whole lot of crispy snack manufacturers making completely different crispy snacks.

Of course that would be considerably healthier for all of us, but a miserable prospect for me. I love salty crispy snacks. I know they aren't good for me... OK, they're bad for me. But I can't help loving them. Is it my fault my parents decided sweets and chocolate were a bad thing and gave me and my brother salty crispy snacks instead?

Actually I really do eat fewer crisps and crispy snacks than you think. I have the reluctant taste testers and the Chef to help me out and often try only 1 or 2 crisps. Yes of course, sometimes I eat a lot more, but truly I could be eating a great many more crisps than I do. And the great thing is to understand how bad for you the average crisp is.

So my advice is:

  • Don't feel the need to eat "healthy" crispy snacks that you don't fancy.
  • Eat fewer crispy snacks. Eat crispy snacks as a special treat, as a luxury that you will savour. Save up your crispy snack ration for the weekend or a special occasion. Make a packet of cheese & onion or slightly salted something to look forward to. Try not to nosh down a vast packet of high salt, high fat, low protein, low fibre (which is to say totally normal) crisps every day.
  • And eat them slowly; a small packet lasts longer that way. 

Sounds simple doesn't it? If you think you eat too many crisps why not give it a try?

Sunday 13 November 2016

Dao Fruits Mixed Fruit Chips

Yes, I know. Not my usual territory, but this packet was brought home from the Far East by Tall Elegant taste tester who has been away for a couple of weeks.

This snack was provided by Lao Airlines and included banana, jackfruit, sweet potato, pumpkin, taro, and pineapple. I'm not convinced that sweet potato is a fruit but I'm not going to argue with the manufacturers.

The packet suggests you could try this snack at home. At tea time. On a picnic. Or outdoors. Which is weird considering the packet also says quite plainly "Lao Airlines"! Outdoors? On the wing perhaps? Maybe they just expect you to stuff it into your hand luggage and take it away to eat in a jungle.

The reluctant taste testers and I did not get to try this fruity snack as Tall Elegant taste tester ate it on her Lao Airlines flight. But it was handsome of her to bring the packet home for posterity.

I asked her if these fruit chips were good and she said yes. Yes, very nice, really really nice. She was very impressed with them. So fly Lao Airlines then for the highly recommended fruit chips.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Pom-B盲r Paprika

This is a huge 100g bag of Pom Bears I found in Switzerland.

Now, I rather enjoy Pom Bear original. It's a lovely flavour of not very much. And increasingly I find I really like a crispy snack that tastes of not a lot. So I wasn't really sure I wanted to enjoy paprika flavour Pom Bears.

But they are kind of moreish.

The Chef really enjoyed his share of the packet (about half) and most of the reluctant taste testers were happy too. 'I really like a Pom Bear' they said as they snacked into a slightly orange, slightly smiling potato foam bear-shaped snack. Even Discerning Architectural taste tester likes Pom Bears, although Tall taste tester wasn't that impressed.

We have now tried Pom Bear Cheese & Onion and Pom Bear Original. So it was interesting to try another flavour. And indeed a flavour not bought in the UK.

Friday 11 November 2016

KP Frosted Honey Roast Peanuts & Cashews mixed with pieces of Belgian Milk Chocolate Honeycomb

As we step forward cautiously into this brave new world of ever stranger politics (forthcoming attractions: elections in The Netherlands, France and Germany), perhaps it's time to buy more nuts.

Regular readers will have noted that I haven't had a whole lot to say about nuts until just recently. There are so very many potato crisps to write about, and crispy snacks, and popcorn, that I thought nuts might be an unwelcome distraction.

However, I couldn't help observing the stealthy entry of nuts, alongside crisps and popcorn, into the weird and wonderful world of fancy flavours. Dutch taste tester tells me she welcomes this departure. Apparently interesting flavours of nuts have long been on sale in The Netherlands. I gather they are called Cocktail Nuts.

Anyway this little packet of Christmassy nuts (snowy Christmas trees on the packet - what a giveaway) almost leapt off the supermarket shelf into my shopping basket.

Oh dear. The Chef and I think this packet of nuts is rather good. We could get seriously fat. And the reluctant taste testers haven't got a hope of trying this packet because I don't think the Chef would be happy to see it leave the building. But I will buy another packet for the Christmas tea table when the relations come round.

Peanuts and Cashews, all covered and coated in sparkly honey roast yumminess and chocolate coated honeycomb! Amazing eh? Who could possibly resist? Apart from people with a peanut allergy obviously. Which is a dreadful thing. But seriously give them a try if you can find them.

Not nearly enough chunks of chocolate coated honeycomb. But that is a tiny criticism.

Oh, and shock horror.... none left in the supermarket just one day later. And no space on the shelf for them either. None at all in two other supermarkets the Chef has investigated. Did I imagine buying this fabulous product?
Update: the reluctant taste testers have now had an opportunity to try this amazing product. And found it almost universally fabulous. Senior taste tester (who has given up remarking when something is not a crisp - no! it's not - you're quite right) did suggest somewhat grumpily that the taste is a bit sweet but everyone else ignored this truth. History Graduate taste tester (back again) said it was without doubt the best selection of nuts ever. Yum!

And: luckily this product is now available in the shops again!

Thursday 10 November 2016

M&S The Collection Bucks Fizz Hand Cooked Potato Crisps

What was the Senior taste tester thinking? He sprang this crisp upon the reluctant taste testers and me without any warning so we had no idea what we were crunching into. And I have to tell you that it was a bit of a shock.

Have a crisp said he. So I did. Aargh! And oh dear.

If you don't know what Bucks Fizz is, let me enlighten you. It's a cocktail made from two parts Champagne to one part orange juice. Slightly different from the more prettily named Mimosa which is half and half Champagne and orange juice (or other citrus fruit juice). So obviously it's fizzy. And these crisps are fizzy too.

I really cannot reconcile myself to the idea of fizzy crisps. Somehow fizz and potato crisps don't seem to be made for each other. Naturally I don't want to prejudice you in any way against these crisps but I didn't like them at all. Orange doesn't seem to be a good flavour for a crisp and fizzy crisps are just wrong. The reluctant taste testers weren't mad about them either.

The crisps themselves are rather nice. A good crunch and the skin left on. But they have these little gold bits scattered across them (edible gold of course) and then there's the weirdly fizzy flavour dust.

I have to confess I had already bought a packet of this new flavour from Marks & Spencer. I'll keep them now for Christmas to surprise and stun the family.

We tried two different Prosecco flavoured fizzy crisps last year, and I'm sorry to say that both of them made it onto the Crispy Crunchy Snacks We Really Didn't Like list (see the sidebar).

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Walkers Tear'n'Share Lightly Salted Crisps

This 150g packet of lightly salted, thicker cut crisps from Walkers comes in their new (fairly new) Tear'n'Share packet. The idea is that you grab the packet and pull. And you get a bowl. So no need for an actual bowl then.

But I couldn't open the packet! I put my thumbs in the designated "place thumbs here" spot - a red thumb-shaped place - and I pulled, and pulled but nothing happened. So I had to resort to stabbing the perforated line with a small sharp knife to help me break into the packet. Maybe I didn't push down strongly enough. Or perhaps I am simply not strong enough to fight my way into a crisp packet. You'd think I might have had plenty of practice.
But the bowl design works really well. The top part of the packet folds inwards and lo! you get a bowl.

Plus these lightly salted crisps are very nice indeed. Very nice on their own, very nice with a dip. This is an excellent crisp..
Not so lightly salted either. I wonder how salty the fully salted version is? Or perhaps they don't make a salted version any more. Anyway, this definitely deserves a yum!

Monday 7 November 2016

Belin Les Frenchips Go没t Poulet R么ti

Cuites au four & maxi craquantes says the packet. And maxi craquantes is right. These very fine roast chicken flavour crispy snacks are extremely craquantes - very crunchy indeed. Very crispy really because they are so fine is seems better to say crispy than crunchy. It's a fine distinction I know, but there you are.

And the flavour? Interesting... it seems that the reluctant taste testers who knew they were trying a roast chicken flavour crispy snack picked the flavour with no trouble at all and agreed it was really chickeny. Those who weren't told didn't get the flavour. Obviously I knew because I bought the packet so I found it odd that those who didn't know did not pick this flavour which had seemed so obvious to me.

Well, again, I guess there you are.

Tr茅s tr茅s nouveau says the packet. Not just new, but very very new. Amazing!

And apart from the name "Frenchips"... friendships? ..... what did the reluctant taste testers think?

Delicious. Pity the extreme thinness of the crispy snack leaves us with so very many breakages but the taste and the crunch is just great. Everyone loved it.

Yes, a great shame so many of the very fine crispy snack (almost but not quite biscuitty) thins were broken. This could be because the packet was bought in France, driven to Switzerland and then driven home to London. But I suspect not. I think it's because the fineness makes them very brittle. But that does not affect the excellent taste.

There are other flavours which I hope to discover next time the Chef & I are in France.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Ikea Potatischips Saltade

Noble Friend went to Ikea to buy who knows what and carefully rang me up to find out which of their crisp flavours we had tried, because last time she bought the same flavour again. And this is the other one that we hadn't. Tried.

Plain salted potato crisps. And very nice too. Made of nothing but potatoes, sunflower oil and salt.

A very slightly thick cut, a bit kettle chip, a bit hand cooked with a hearty crunch. And a great big whack of tasty salt. A very nice crisp I thought, and the reluctant taste testers thought so too.

Probably no-one will read this review because all you lot out there seem to be irresistibly drawn to the crispy snacks I really didn't like, but if you go to Ikea any time soon check out their crisp selection. Maybe not a reason to visit Ikea, but perhaps a reason to check out their food section while you are there. Really, this is very tasty crisp and you would be hard pressed not to enjoy it.

I bet they work well with a dip too.

Oh and these crisps did not require any styling. Because they all looked equally crispy and hand cooked I did not feel the need to arrange a "pretty one" on the top of the bowl before I took the photograph. Well, you know, some crispy snacks have lots of breakages and obviously your correspondent (that's me) wants you to see the snack at its best; hence the need for a little tidying before the snackshot.


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