Friday, 30 December 2016

Yorkshire Crisps Sweet Chilli & Lime

Noble Friend won a tub of Yorkshire Crisps in the office raffle and gave them to me. Which was extremely noble of her.

So what do we have here? Luxury Hand Cooked Sweet Chilli and Lime crisps. Hmmm.... Well I'm not sure that I am convinced. Not sure the Chef is either.

The crisps are great. Lovely texture, very nice bite. But the taste... I can't really decide what it is. Not Sweet Chilli & Lime anyway. Or not that I can put my finger on. I'm not that unhappy because I really don't care for Lime as a flavour. It's a bit blue.  I don't like blue as  flavour.

But worry not because the loveliness of these crisps transcends the lack of whatever flavour they are supposed to be. And they work wonderfully well with a sour cream and chive dip I happen to have handy.

Very nice indeed. Nice tram on the packaging too. You can't go very far wrong with a tram, especially a double decker tram. The packaging tells us that this is Sheffield's last tram. And you can read about Sheffield's tramways here. Trams are great! Who can say why stupid British councils got rid of them? I'm British so I'm allowed to shout STUPID! here.

Nice crisps.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Lay's Hamka's Original

Dutch taste tester's sister (also Dutch) (obviously) came to visit with her husband (he's also Dutch) and brought a pile of exciting (Dutch) treats with her. Including this very exciting packet of crisps (which are Dutch).

I often peer over Dutch taste tester's shoulder as she lusts after Dutch treats on Dutch websites (in Dutch); it seems you just can't buy Dutch goodies in this country. No, not even in London. Not what Dutch taste tester really wants, anyway. I had picked these crisps as something to lust after myself. And lo! here they are.

Wow! Much bigger than I was expecting. A whole mouthful all at once. Not a crisp at all of course, because it's made of maize, so more of a crispy snack in a similar sort of style to Monster Munch but in a checkerboard pattern. And not a scary Monster Munch style flavour.

Rather a smokey flavour to start off with, but more and more moreish as you have another, and yet another. In fact, very tasty. Sort of hammy, and sort of cheesy. And a lovely light crunch. Very nice.

So many thanks to Dutch taste tester's sister.

Monday, 26 December 2016

ROKA Cheese Crispies (re-post)

Boxing Day! A time to recover from the excessive eating and drinking of Christmas Day, although in fact the Chef and I really don't eat or drink that much. Our house will not be filled with tonnes of leftover Christmas pudding and turkey; we haven't bought any in the first place so we don't need to worry how to be creative with leftovers. For others it is a time to rush out and do a massive post Christmas shop. I have never really understood that so I don't know what everyone is shopping for, and I do feel sorry for the shop workers who probably worked late on Christmas Eve and then have to work Boxing Day too.

I am lucky. I can slump around doing nothing much and wonder why whoever it was thought I might like whatever it was they gave me? Please note that I am writing before Christmas Day, so I haven't opened any of my presents yet. So maybe I am wondering how they knew I would be so pleased? Yes, socks can be a fabulous present if they are made of cashmere, or you know what? Why not just give me a crispy snack?

Anyway, I would like to re-post one of my favourite crispy snacks. This is, and remains, one of my all time favourites. And always will be. I wrote this post in 2013.

A very long time ago in the 1960s we had a yellow and blue tin with a picture of a cow on it. And the ROKA biscuits lived in that tin. They were expensive - possibly because they came in a tin - so we didn't have them very often, and we called them Cow Biscuits. Because of the picture on the tin.

This is a very old memory but a real one; not prompted by photographs of very small me and my smaller brother eating crisps.

I don't know what happened to our original tin or tins but I found this on eBay. Amazing! Just how I remember it. I still need to attack it with wire wool  to get rid of the rust but I've got to say I'm pretty thrilled with my purchase.

But look at this: ROKA Cheese Crispies are still made, and they haven't changed a bit. Oh, they make all sorts of fancy new versions but the basic Crispie is just the same as ever. Or is it a Crispy? Well, anyway, it's a small cheese biscuity thing. And they still make them!

 These are very delicate little biscuits, like cheese straws in a way, with a delicate cheesy taste. It's Gouda cheese from The Netherlands - which does have a delicate taste. Nothing shouty like mature cheddar. I guess they're made in the same way as puff pastry with lots and lots of very fine layers, and they break along the fault lines between the layers. You really need to take care when you bite because otherwise a chunk will drop off and then it's gone forever.

I have a very strict rule about not eating stuff that falls on the floor. I gather some people have a 5 second rule but for me if it falls on the floor I'm not eating it. And that would be a waste.

Cheese Crispies are so good but for some reason they are even better if you warm them slightly. I wouldn't put them in the oven, but maybe if you have an open fire put a little bowlful by the hearth and they'll taste even better after a couple of minutes. Yum.

So these Crispies come very very highly recommended although please don't expect a modern exciting taste. It's not about excitement. It's not about a big spicy taste. It's about a gentle grown-up cheesy biscuit that tastes very good with a glass of sherry or champagne.

They probably taste pretty good with anything although maybe not a cup of coffee.

You can still get ROKA Cheese Crispies in a tin if you look hard enough. They usually come in a cardboard box, with the crispies in an airtight silver baggie. But as I write Lakeland are selling tins at £6.99 which is quite a lot for two packets of cheesy biscuits. But I guess if I got one of these tins now I wouldn't have to buy one off eBay in my old age. Something to consider perhaps. Maybe I could even sell it on eBay in my old age?



Brilliant.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Tesco Penguin Bites

Since when were penguins seasonal? By which I mean, since when were penguins the sort of creature that along with robins and reindeer feature on Christmas cards and wrapping paper?

Robins I understand of course. The Robin Redbreast is a constant feature of the British countryside, and indeed townside. Although that's not actually a word. And at this time of year with few leaves on the trees it's easy to spot all the robins that sing so loudly everywhere I go.

And reindeer. Well, who would question the festive reindeer? I have even seen festive reindeer in Sydney in the middle of an Australian heatwave. Poor things, they were even less happy than I was to be celebrating Christmas in such heat. Don't misunderstand me, I have lovely friends in Sydney but the heat and the sunshine felt all wrong to someone brought up on damp, raw, dark British Christmases. Fairy lights and tinsel don't work so well when the sun shines so brightly.

But penguins? Is it the snow do you suppose? Could it be the John Lewis ad from 2014 featuring Monty the Penguin? If you have never seen this utterly charming commercial do click on the link. Maybe it's something to do with the Penguins of Madagascar (who I love, but I find they're more fun in French). Who knows. But whatever it is here we have a festive Christmas penguin snack.

This is a crispy snack made from maize, potato and tapioca. And basically it's a sort of Pom Bear in disguise. A vaguely penguiny disguise. And it has a light fluffy foamy bite and a light slightly salty sort of a taste. And quite nice.

Merry Christmas! Perhaps there'll be a penguin under your Christmas tree this year. But don't forget, crisp fans, penguins are for life, not just for Christmas.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Simba Salt & Vinegar Flavoured Potato Crisps

This small packet of crinkle cut crisps from South Africa came for one of the local kosher delis. Which was a bit of a surprise. However, on close inspection of the packet I see that these crisps are both parev and halaal. So there we are.

This is a very nice crisp, good bite a lovely sweet salt & vinegar flavour. I liked them a lot. Tall Elegant taste tester liked them too. A tasty reliable crisp that I would certainly buy again.

Not super exciting but very tasty.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Tesco Potato Chips Ready Salted

Wow this is an old fashioned crispy snack! When I was very small we used to call them chipples. And somehow they seemed just the right size for a child's fingers. Now I am grown up they seem very small and actually quite hard to pick up.

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was a big fan. I suspect several of the other taste testers were big fans too but they did not admit to it. However, since most of a large bowlful went missing during the course of the day I deduce that someone, indeed several someones, was eating this crispy snack. And I cannot let Slightly Red Haired Bristolian take all the blame or the credit.

Very small. Very simple. Rather crunchy. Called "Ready Salted" but I'd thought could qualify as slightly salted. Just not very exciting.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Burt's Guinness Rich Beef Chilli

History Graduate taste tester went to Dublin for 2 days as you do when you are young and full of energy. And he brought us back a packet of Guinness crisps.

Although [spoiler alert] these crisps are in fact made in Devon by Burt's. Of course they are. Cooked by Richard 2 and grown in a field called Roseworthy. You know, speaking as one of the nerdiest crisp writers around, I feel sure I have eaten crisps grown in that field before. Well, perhaps not. I can only lay my hands on a crisp (potato) grown in a field called Roundwood. Give me time....

Anyway, these richly coloured crisps have an attractive hand cooked look to them and a rich meaty chilli casserole flavour. Although the reluctant taste testers rather liked this crisp we couldn't quite put our collective finger on exactly what they taste of. But it is tasty. And while hot, not too hot.

Nice. But could anyone detect a taste of Guinness? Not sure that we could. Not really.

But maybe if you made a nice beef stew and chucked in half a bottle of Guinness instead of stock or red wine, maybe you wouldn't expect to taste the stout particularly. You'd be looking for a rich taste and I'm guessing that's what you'd get.

Very Guinnessy packaging.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Walkers Stax Limited Edition Sour Cream & Onion

Walkers Stax? Since when?

Lay's Stax, yes. Of course I've seen them on websites and so on, but they've never been available in this country. Because as you know, we don't have the Lay's brand here.  But Lay's is Walkers in disguise (or vice versa) and maybe Walkers have decided to trial a Stax brand.

So what do we think?

Well, obviously this is the Walkers (Lay's) version of a Pringle. Stax come in a tube but with  a cardboard lid not a plastic one. And Pringles are circular while Stax are more of an oblong. Which I like. Because they fit in my mouth better. Pringles are too big. Or I have a small mouth.

But aside from that this is pretty much the same product. Doing its best to avoid copyright issues.

Most of the reluctant taste testers (except those who don't enjoy Pringles) rather enjoyed this crispy snack and quite a lot were eaten up. I have to say that when I first tried I thought the oniony taste was very strong, and then it rather grew on me. But since I had some sour cream and chive dip handy I tried it with these crisps.

You might suppose that a sour cream and chive dip combined with a sour cream and onion crispy snack would be too much of a good thing. But guess what? The two tastes combined to successful effect and I thought worked very well.

What did we think? Rather good. Now, can I find another flavour before this limited edition disappears forever?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

KP Frosted Maple Syrup Roast Peanuts & Cashews with Plain Chocolate Chunks

I guess you might suppose that this here packet of frosted nuts is a companion to the ultra fabulous KP Frosted Honey Roast Peanuts & Cashews mixed with pieces of Belgian Milk Chocolate Honeycomb nuts. And yes, it seems to be. There are Christmas trees on the packet and it all looks very similar.

But is this nut selection as fabulous? Sadly, for us at any rate, the answer is no.

Perhaps if we had tried this version first this would have been the fabulous one. But I suspect not. The maple syrup flavour doesn't seem to work as well as the honey roast, which I have always loved, and the chunks of plain chocolate simply cannot compete with the milk chocolate coated honeycomb chunks. Why no plain chocolate coated honeycomb? That could have been great.

Don't leave a packet on the supermarket shelf just because the Chef & I didn't enjoy this as much as the Frosted Honey Roast version. You might love this fancy nut selection.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Walkers: The Little Guy Throwing His Rubbish Away Responsibly

Recycling is obviously the way to go, and both at home and at work I try to recycle as much as possible. But I'm sure we all know that much crispy snack packaging is not recyclable, or if it is... do you actually know anywhere that will take it? Often the answer to that is no.

So you have to throw the packet away. Hence the importance of the little guy throwing his rubbish away responsibly; with any luck reminding you to make sure os the nearest bin when you have finished your snack.

Not noticed the little guy? Take a look at the back of your next packet of crisps and see if it has a little guy.

If your crisps are made by Walkers, chances are there will be a little guy, and even better Walkers will have commissioned a nice design to reflect the style of crispy snack.

So how can I direct you attention to these little guys? Take a look. There are quite a lot to choose from I know, and I can't make you look at them all, but they are all different.

1. Walkers Doritos Ultimate Cheeseburger which was part of a shootout (as it were) to decide between Cheeseburger flavour and Spicy Salsa. And the "little guy" design is great; the little guy is weighing up a triangle against a .... well it looks awfully like a slice of toast. Seems a bit weird but I'm not going to argue.
2. Walkers Baked Cheese & Onion I can't make up my mind whether or not this little guy is in fact a woman. The hair is very short, but the body shape is less manly than usual. Anyway, this little guy has been used for more than one style of crisp. This is a Tear'n'Share packet.
3. Walkers Quavers Cheese Flavour Everyone knows light and fluffy Quavers. And here's the little guy sitting on a floating fluffy quaver. Great!

4. Walkers Max Flamin' Hot has a slightly odd little guy. For reasons best known to Walkers, he is chucking the packet into the bin backwards, over his shoulder.

This came from a discontinued Walkers brand called Red Sky.
5. Walkers Baked Hoops and Crosses Roast Beef has a completely different style of little guy based entirely on the shape of the snack.

6.Walkers French Fries Ready Salted is a long thin snack.... so the little guy is very long and thin

Where did this guy come from? I can't remember now. Juggling little guys is time consuming and not a little confusing!

7. Walkers Sunbites Sour Cream (and cracked black pepper) Flavour has a little guy with a halo! These crispy snacks may be better for you than some but I'm not sure they quite deserve a halo.

8. and Mega Monster Munch Pickled Onion obviously has monster throwing his rubbish away responsibly. Because that's what monsters do.

9. Walkers Baked Wotsits Really Cheesy Who is throwing away the bag here? A mouse! Of course.
10.Walkers Bugles Southern Style BBQ bugles are triangular bugle shapes so naturally the rubbish bin on this packet is triangular.
11.Walkers Deep Ridged Salt & Malt Vinegar And here a climber in search of a bin. Because Walkers Deep Ridged crisps are so steeply ridged you probably ought to rope yourself to a group of experienced climbers in order to better enjoy them.
Finally, here's an example of a little guy from a multi pack of Walkers Crinkles. Why is this guy bending his knees do you suppose? I can't answer that, but I can point out that he has his sleeves rolled up.

It would be nice to think that printing this little image on crisp packets would encourage snackers not to throw the empty packets on to the pavement or stuff them into the nearest hedge. Sadly local evidence would suggest otherwise. We are lucky enough to have hard working street sweepers. But I notice there are all too many crisp packets to be swept up.
And here's a picture of Tall taste tester. Actually I was photographing this beautiful tunnel at Kings Cross station but he boldly leapt into the shot just as I was about to click. Anyone else reminded of the Man from Uncle? Not Tall taste tester - the tunnel itself!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Lidl Deluxe Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream Extra Crunchy Skin-On Hand Cooked Potato Crisps

History Graduate taste tester went off to to take the theory part of his driving test, and flushed with success (because, dear reader, of course he passed with flying colours) he rushed into a Lidl supermarket and purchased a packet of crisps. Obviously.

And boy do these crisps have a long name. And weirdly, they don't say Lidl on the front of the packet. Although, I guess, you can only buy Lidl crisps in a branch of Lidl, so perhaps they don't feel the need to tell us. It says Lidl UK GmbH in tiny writing on the back. At the bottom. But luckily, we know this anyway because History Graduate went to Lidl.

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was a fan, and Tall taste tester was a really big fan. "There's a Lidl in my road," he confided. "I might go there at the weekend and buy a packet for Christmas."

Nice little crisps, I like the skin left on and they really do look hand cooked. The Chef has carried out a controlled experiment and discovered they work extremely well with a sour cream & chive dip. He's right. They do.

I think most of the reluctant taste testers quite liked this crisp, but not all could pick a flavour and perhaps found that a bit of a flaw. I couldn't pick the flavour either but it didn't stop me enjoying some of these crisps, plus a little dip.

And the Chef has given these crisps his seal of approval. If he were in a TV ad perhaps he would  tap the packet in an appreciative fashion. You know how people in commercials do? I call this the tap of approval - I am sure there must be a technical term but I don't know what it is.
More Lidl news: this packet features the biggest barcode I have ever seen. I have turned the packet sideways so that you get the full effect. I daresay this makes it easier to scan?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Weird & Wonderful Crisp Flavours: What Have Other People Had to Say?

Quite a lot of people (and webpages) have their own ideas about what constitutes a weird flavour from a crispy snack. It all depends where you come from, and who you are writing for.

Take this article from BBC America31 Wacky and Weird Flavors of British Potato Crisps. Speaking (writing) as a Brit I'm quite offended by this selection. I can only suppose it was written for an American readership, and OK, I thought a few of these choices were a bit unusual, but the reluctant taste testers and I have tried many of these crisps and I don't think we thought they were wacky. Or particularly weird either.

What's so odd about Worcester Sauce and Sundried Tomato crisps from Tyrrell's? I haven't tried that one, but I have tried at least four different Worcester Sauce flavoured crispy snacks, and one popcorn. I think they were all pretty tasty. Even delicious. This popcorn was certainly pretty good.
And the Kent Crisps. Roast Beef & Spitfire Ale, not tremendously unusual I would think, Oyster & Vinegar more so, but these crisps are made in Kent and people eat oysters in Kent; in fact they actively go to Kent to eat oysters so an oyster flavoured crisp seems like a natural progression. But wacky and weird? The reluctant taste testers and I have tried all the Kent Crisps flavour we could get our hands on. I don't think these two flavours were our favourites but I also don't think any of us would describe them as wacky. Maybe Americans won't know about Worcester Sauce, but if they are travelling to Europe perhaps they won't mind trying something new?
And seriously Walkers Prawn Cocktail? That's a really common flavour, been going for years, and no-one in the UK thinks it's at all weird. Look, the reluctant taste testers and I tried this posh version from Marks & Spencer.
I guess this article was aimed at Americans but hey, there are loads of wacky and weird flavours of crisps available in the United States, Canada too.

Here's another article, slightly more recent and from The Daily Mirror: British Crisp Flavours are Baffling Tourists Because The Are Too Fancy. Are they indeed? Well, you might say, so what? I never heard of anyone coming to the UK specially to try our crisps, but if they did, maybe they'd like to try something unusual rather than the same old crisp flavours that have been around since the 1960s.

Guess what? I've tried crisps from France and Switzerland that seemed a bit weird. Lots of crispy snacks from Israel too. They have flavours you just can't get in the UK - or not made by UK manufacturers.

So what is The Mirror writing about? Kettle Chips Chef's Signature Gressingham Duck, Plum Sauce & Spring Onion. Now that's a flavour I looked for but failed to find. I really wanted to try this crisp because it sounded so interesting. The article describes the flavour as "barely believable". Really? But even Tesco has sold Hoisin Duck crisps. And Tesco (a huge supermarket chain) can hardly be described as niche.
What else qualifies as a barely believable flavour? Here we are, Kettle Chips Chef's Signature Yorkshire Wensleydale and Cox Apple Chutney. Definitely sounds worth trying. I'm sorry I never spotted this flavour on the supermarket shelves. Does it really sound so bonkers?

All this froth from the Mirror was inspired by a Reddit post from bink_uk who posted that British crisp flavours are out of control, it seems he (she?) worries that crisps are now "a whole food experience". Well, yes, regular readers of this blog will know that has been the case for some time. But you can still find perfectly ordinary flavours of crisp. The complicated flavours are much harder to find than the simple ones.

Here's a post from AVclub.com way back in 2009: Cajun Squirrel Potato Chips, Chilli and Chocolate Chips and more.... This writer doesn't get the Walkers crisps on offer at all (he doesn't get British spelling either but that's another story). And he offers his workmates the chance to comment on all six Do Us a Flavour flavours of the day. I don't think they're that impressed!

I am not going to complain too much because that's how the reluctant tatse testers and I carry on. But it seems that people who decide to write a blog called something like "This is My Blog And it's About Crisps" (not a bad title actually - why didn't I think of that?) tend to be a whole lot more positive about slightly wacky crisp flavours than those who look around for something they find weird or annoying.

And to illustrate that, here are some thoughts from Boredpanda.com. There are some very interesting crisps on this post including Lay's Cappuccino which I thought were horrible! But Bored Panda seems interested in trying new flavours which makes a big difference. Some of the choices sound really good... some of them not so much. But you know, if you really don't like your weird crispy snack you don't actually have to finish the packet.

You don't have to buy a packet in the first place.

And if you would like to read more about crisp flavours you could do worse than check out Taquitos.net (the crunchiest site on the interweb) which features many many reviews of many many crispy snacks. They don't say much, but what they do say is full of interest. If you are at all interested it's well worth taking a look.
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't step back in horror when you see a fancy new crisp flavour. Maybe give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised and go back for more.

And how ever much you don't like it.... for goodness sake... it's only a packet of crisps not the end of the world!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Badatz Paskesz Nosh.kes Falafel Crisps

I have no idea why this crispy snack which is shaped like worms is called a crisp. It doesn't make any sense at all. Except, I suppose, that calling it "Nosh.kes Falafel Worms" probably wouldn't lure the average punter into giving them a try.

How does that song go? Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I'm going down the garden to eat worms. Something like that. Well, perhaps not such a top advertising jingle for a crispy snack.

These "crisps" have a very hard crunch, and they're quite hard to pick up. But the taste, the falafel taste, is very nice indeed. Once again I ask, why no falafel flavour crisps on offer to the great British public? Because not everyone has access to a kosher deli.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Walkers Sensations Californian Honey & Salt Oven Roasted Peanuts

Another packet of ostentatiously oven roasted peanuts. Just how are old style (you know, what we grew up with) nuts cooked? Tossed in a giant frying pan or something?

Here's a recipe explaining how to make salted peanuts at home. I never thought about soaking the nuts in brine but now I know. There are also recipes that explain how to do it without the oil, but where's the joy in that?

I wonder. Do you suppose that products labelled oven baked are cooked without oil, but those labelled oven roasted are cooked with oil while still managing to sound a little bit healthy. What do you think? There is certainly oil involved in this recipe, but perhaps there is no difference between baked and roast.

One of my cousins makes a really tasty Christmas Day treat of fresh almonds fried in butter and sprinkled with salt. It's really good. Hot buttery saltiness makes almonds so easy to eat with a glass of fizz. And I don't really like almonds much. I guess you could try this with other nuts too.

Anyway, these peanuts are a lot more complicated than ordinary salted peanuts, and thus, I daresay, even less good for you. Look at all the honey and salt, and the second ingredient after peanuts is sugar. No real surprise there, but remember to restrict your intake because they won't do your diet any good.

They do taste good. And I think the sweet/saltiness works very well.

But both the Chef and I thought the nuts are rather harder than we were expecting. I don't know why they should be quite so hard.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Tesco Finest Hand Cooked Norfolk Bronze Roast Turkey with Sage & Onion Stuffing

You know, I've been putting off trying these crisps because I don't like turkey. But I was quite wrong because these are great crisps.

This is a Tesco Christmas special crisp. And, in fact, as I try them today they are well past their sell-by date. But hey! It's a crisp. It's not going to kill me is it? (Certainly hope not.) It's a shame though that I didn't get around to recommending them before because I don't suppose they are still available. But if you are reading this, Mr Tesco; please make these again next Christmas because seriously, this is a great crisp.

You may have read my reviews of other Christmas specials from Tesco and some of them were distinctly... unusual. But this flavour? Oh yes. I approve.

These are truly yummy potato crisps. Really quite big. Great crunch, not too soft, not too hard. A little bit of dark flavour dust with a few little herby bits. And a great flavour. What more could you want? They smell good too. Yum. Oh yes, yum. Lipsmackingly yum. You know what? I could probably eat a whole packet.

This is another crisp flavour that suffers from five star restaurant menu-itis. There's a bit too much going on in the flavour description I think. But it is still a very good flavour. I don't know if it makes any difference that the turkey comes from free range Norfolk Bronze turkeys but.... maybe.

However, the sage and onion flavour is concocted from a thing described as "stuffing and onion gravy flavour seasoning" which seems a bit odd. Where does the gravy bit come from you ask? Well, on the back of the packet the crisps are described as "roast Norfolk turkey, stuffing and onion gravy flavour" which is a bit different from the front page. Why? I don't know.

Not suitable for vegetarians because there is real turkey in these crisps. Which is a good thing. The potato variety is Hermes and they were grown in Devon in a field named Roundwood.

I'm sorry to see there is celery included in the seasoning; I am intolerant to celery and in larger doses it makes me feel quite unwell. The only thing I can say is that as a flavouring in a crisp it doesn't affect me in the same way it would if it was included in a stew or a soup. But I see it regularly included as an allergen these days so there must be people out there seriously allergic to it. In which case, why is it so routinely added to so many things? Not good.

This is a Christmas crisp from 2013. I don't know why so few of you out there read about this crisp so I'm going to post it again. Just for fun. You can see I thought it was a pretty good crisp.

And I was just reading one of the many "present giving" articles which appear in newspapers and magazines at this time of year. In this case several famous people (although I had only heard of one of them) gave their ideas on what to give at Christmas. One (designer Molly Goddard) had such a sensible idea, and you will see why it appealed to me; if you have a hard-to-buy-for friend why not give them a little hamper? A nice bottle of wine, she suggests, some good cheese and a packet of interesting crisps. Why not? I see our local branch of Marks & Spencer has a pile of baskets on sale to make your own DIY hamper but you could just as well use a pretty paper bag.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Gesher Snow Flakes Falafel Flavored

Another little packet of snow flake/flower shaped crisps snacks from Israel. And these ones are falafel flavoured.

I have probably said it before but I do wonder why we don't have falafel flavoured snacks in the UK? Or not that I have seen. Perhaps it's because even these days there may be parts of Britain where the wonder of the falafel has yet to penetrate?

Obviously, coming from North London as I do, I have access to all sorts of exotic foods at the drop of a hat, and I've not felt that I needed to drop many hats to find a falafel around here. Maybe if I were shopping in Cumbria or Orkney or Lincolnshire (no offence meant, honestly - I've simply chosen places I have never visited) maybe falafel might not be so easy to find.

But falafel are very tasty. And I do enjoy the taste. And I do enjoy the taste in a crispy snack. Especially in a lightly crunchy flower shaped crispy snack.

Very nice.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Tesco Mini Snackers Turkey & Stuffing

A little packet of crispy crunchy biscuits from Tesco... actually make that quite a big packet. 150g. And I don't think they come in a smaller size.

Another Tesco snack where the packaging design mysteriously looks like a 1960s Christmas card, these little biscuitty snacks actually taste pretty good: not at all like a leftover from the 1960s.

Yes, these are rather nice little biscuits, albeit rather dry, with a good crunch and texture. And a very nice taste of turkey and stuffing. I'm not actually mad about turkey, although I do like stuffing, I'd far rather have a proper free range chicken than a turkey. However, it seems that turkey & stuffing makes a very nice flavour for a crispy snack.

At Christmastime all sorts of snacks appear featuring so-called seasonal flavours, and they're not always that successful. But somehow the turkey & stuffing flavour seems to work rather well.

All the reluctant taste testers approved of this little biscuit. And you get lots in the box.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Hippeas Sweet & Smokin'

What? Tall Elegant taste tester went to the local health food shop and discovered organic chickpea puffs. Which look just like Cheesy Whotsits (Cheetos for those of you outside the UK). They also look very like Bamba Peanut Snacks from Israel or even Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs.

I must say that from the look of the snack I was expecting a soft crunch (Wotsits) or a velvety texture (Bamba) but what you actually get is quite a hard crunch. A bit of a surprise.

And the taste is slightly sweet, slightly smokey, a little bit oniony, and also a little bit fugitive. Not a whole lot of taste to test. But quite nice and rather different.

The packet says We don't follow the rest of the snack pack. We go our own way. We think 'tastes good' and 'do good' can be in the same sentence. And we like, totally, love snacks. Join us to change things for the better, one chickpea at a time.
Peas, Love & Giving Back.

For every Hippeas bag sold, we give back. Find out about our social mission online. This company obviously has its heart in the right place, so check out their website and read all about how they support Farm Africa.
And there's an interesting new departure on the little guy throwing his rubbish away responsibly front. The scan got a little bit blurry so you may not be able to see that this guy is not only sporting a CND sign but making a V sign too.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Tesco Finest Mature Cheese Oat Nibbles

Obviously a posher snack than your average because there's more packaging involved. Always the way. And obviously you get fewer snacks.

Hand baked, melt-in-the-mouth oat nibbles from a small family-owned bakery in Aberdeenshire. They use an all butter recipe, locally milled Scottish oats and freshly mature cheddar cheese, then bake them in small batches at a low heat for a beautifully soft texture. Says the packet.

Mmmnn.... these little nibbles look surprisingly dull but taste surprisingly good. Certainly very cheesy. And with an oddly cool mouth feel - that must be something to do with the oats. I can't say that they melt in my mouth but I do find them rather tasty.

Nice.

The Chef, who is mixing our Christmas cake as I write, thinks the is a pretty OK crispy snack too. He says the cheesiness kind of creeps up on you. And suddenly these little biscuits turn out to be really very cheesy indeed.

If you feel these little oaty biscuits are a little dry (which I don't) it works very well indeed to add a little application of butter. Probably works nicely with a little extra cheese too.
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