Thursday, 17 August 2017

Carrefour Tuiles Goût Hot Dog

Goût Hot Dog? In the olden days (ooh, about 5 years ago, maybe 10) it would have been  Goût Chien-Chaud although a website tells me this is Canadian French so only used in Quebec. However, that doesn't apply as this flavour is firmly "Hot Dog".
Still a Student taste tester (she's new) went to France and very kindly brought back this tube of faux Pringles from Carrefour for the reluctant taste testers and me. Especially kind as she doesn't know me very well and I keeping piling piles of mystery filing on her desk.

Well, you all know what Pringles look like and feel like, and basically what you have here is a tube of own brand "Pringles" from Carrefour which is a French supermarket. The branches I've been to are gigantic and sell masses of crispy snacks so well done Still a Student for buying something we had not tried.

I've never had a hot dog. Which I announced this morning is a foolhardy fashion; it's likely that Dutch taste tester and Slightly Red Haired Bristolian may drag me off for a hot dog some time very soon to correct this aberration.... anyway, I've not had a hot dog, but of course I've eaten hot dog style sausages. What we used to call frankfurters. And didn't they used to come in tins? 

Some friends may wish to point out that they have seen me eat a sausage inna bun. Yes, I'll admit to that, and very nice too. But I've never ordered a hot dog from someone selling frankfurter sausages in long buns with squeezy things of bright yellow mustard on hand to provide the decoration.

So I'm not sure these crisps taste of frankfurter. It's a pleasant taste, sort of gentle barbecue and was pronounced very moreish by both Tall taste tester and Slightly Red Haired Bristolian. Most of the tube had been eaten by the time I left to go home but I snaffled a few broken bits at the bottom for the Chef to try. And he thought they were quite pleasant. High praise from the Chef who doesn't really like Pringles. 
Top quality crisp shopping from Still a Student taste tester. I'm sure she'll go on to greater things in the future. Oh and by the way, I started writing this blog almost exactly 4 years ago and this is post number 752. How did that happen?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Deep River Snacks Zesty Jalapeño

Tall Elegant taste tester went to visit a friend recently and brought back this small packet of crisps. Friend lives near Boston in the United States so that's where this packet comes from.

I've tried Deep River crisps before: New York Spicy Dill Pickle, which I found very spicy indeed. And now here we have Spicy Jalapeño. Which the reluctant taste testers and I found extremely spicy. Small and very crunchy but what a lot of taste.

Senior taste tester liked them a lot and thought them very spicy, Tall Elegant taste tester tried them and said they were extremely spicy, I thought the chilli taste was very hot, the Chef tried the last of the packet and said they were very strong.

You know how chilli often creeps up on you after you've eaten it. And you didn't think it was that hot but then suddenly it is. Not these crisps. No, you get the hot strong chilli taste at once. It's a very nice taste but it is a big taste. A very big taste indeed.

Mind you, the packet does have a warning. It says: Fair warning: the fresh heat of our jalapeño chilli pepper will leave your tongue tingling and your taste buds begging for more! And Did you feel the fire? I'm pretty sure our answer is yes.
Deep River Snacks support lots of very good causes and this packet encourages you to support the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Van Doesburg Cheese Filled Krisps Tin

So annoying. I wrote a whole post, filled in the labels section, published the post, shared it on face book and Google+ and wandered off to eat supper. After supper.... no post. All gone. Why does this happen? I have no idea.
Anyway.  Have you ever put a lot of stuff in storage for a while? It's very easy to forget what you own. OK, so it's hard to forget about sofas and dining room tables, but the bits and bobs and ornamental pigs fade away quite easily into the no-mans-land of memory. And when you went and picked up a bunch of boxes did you open one of them and wonder why?

Why did you save this lengthy correspondence with your friend in Morocco, why didn't you throw out this broken china dog ( I know it has a pretty face but...) or, oh look at this hat. It's got your mother's silk scarf tied around the brim. I know. It's tough throwing out your past life. The letters and cards from Morocco I have recycled. I'd be here 3 weeks from now still reading if I even started looking, and neither of us is famous (unless you could me: 135,000 readers and counting - no probably not) so someone would have to recycle it all some day; and the china dog has found a home with a friendly dog lover so I don't have to throw him away. And I'm going to keep the hat.

But sometimes you think amazing! I'm so pleased to find this again!

And here's an amazing one. I had completely forgotten about this little tin, and I don't remember where I got it, but what could be better?

This isn't a tin for my favourite KP Cheese Footballs. Instead it's for some football-like cheesy snacks made by Van Doesburg in the Netherlands. I've never seen them to try. Look tasty don't they?
On the tin there's an image of a windmill and a woman in Dutch national costume. She's even wearing clogs and clutching a handful of tulips to show how Dutch she is. So far so Dutch. Then there's a glass with a fizzy drink in it, and a .... strange kind of oval container with a sort of spout. What is that? Seriously, what is that strange container? Can it be a cocktail shaker?
Today's photographs aren't very good. The light was all wrong wherever I tried. I'm too impatient to wait until tomorrow and actually the forecast for tomorrow isn't much better so here we are with photographs taken too close to the window and the too much reflection. If you look hard enough you can even see that my camera is pink.

And here's the lid. It's a lovely little tin. A shame it looks as though these Krisps were made in the 1940s (websites in Dutch, which I don't speak).

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Savoursmiths Champers and Serrano Chilli

Oh dear, I'm not at all sure this brand of crisps was created with me in mind. Champers flavour crisps? Which is to say Champagne flavour.

I don't think I know anyone who calls Champagne "champers" but unless you make your wine using the methode champenoise actually in the Champagne region of France you use the word "champagne" at your peril. The lawyers who protect the Champagne brand are just as jealous of the name as those who protect Disney or Elvis's estate. So maybe it's best to stick to Champers.

Even though the flavour of these crisps derives partly from Champagne. Which I find quite hard to believe because I thought they tasted of soap. Soap with a hearty kick of chilli which was a nice touch. Not thrilled with the soap flavour though. And Dutch taste tester? She thought these crisps tasted of banana.
The crunch is nice but....

The packet says tastier than the cat's miaow and Cool cats love to live on the edge, so we've turned up the heat with this flavour, adding a scream of Serrano Chilli to the fizz of Bubbly & pinch of Sea Salt. The bee's knees have nothing on these! No, not sure about that.

Actually I don't usually drink Champagne in England because unless the Chef has chosen the bottle himself it can be quite poor quality. We are lucky enough to drive through the region of Champagne several times a year and some of the hotels keep a dazzling array of different wines in their cellars. They don't baulk at opening a magnum of Champagne to pour one glass for me and if I'm lucky there will be leftovers with my breakfast orange juice. Anyway, my luck includes trying a number of fabulous Champagnes and I am not convinced that these crisps do anything to encourage the drinking of a great wine.
Top tip: if you have dinner at a swanky French restaurant and they have a dedicated Cheese Waiter: on no account refuse the cheese course. Paddington Bear's famous hard stare has nothing on that of a Cheese Waiter spurned. It's alright. When we stayed at this hotel in January 2012 we knew better than to refuse the cheese.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Fonzies Gli Originali

On a second visit to the Italian deli hard by the Royal Free we failed to buy any pan forte, but found this little bag of cheesy crispy snacks. It didn't look a very exciting snack, but I bought it anyway because that's what I do.

These little corn based snacks are very like KP Nik Naks in shape and extremely cheesy, and I thought them rather dry. Dry maybe, but tasty nonetheless.

Thank goodness for Wikipedia which tells me that, as I thought, Fonzies are baked not fried, and can also be found in these other flavours; Time Out, Choco, Hot Passion, Bacon, Hot Chilli, "and others" unspecified. I wonder what flavour Time Out can be?

The fact that Fonzies are exactly the same as the much loved Aussie snack Twisties, caused much excitement on a forum for English expats living in Switzerland (I usually this site useful for information on curtain hooks which are mysteriously completely different in Switzerland from what we are used to in the UK). It seems there are more Australians living in Switzerland than you might think, and they are all thrilled to be able to buy Twisties in Europe.

Twisties seem to be a bit of a phenomenon. Available in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia, they come in numerous flavours some of which some of which sound a little bit mad. These are the flavours which have been available in Malaysia:
  • The Big Cheese
  • Yo! Chicken
  • Fizz - similar to Australia's Turns Your Tongue Blue! flavour, except with an effervescent effect
  • Duh! Tomato
  • Whoa! Spicy Garlic
  • Kaboom BBQ Curry"
  • Chilli Cheese
  • Lime Chilli
  • Sawadee Thai Sweet Chili
  • Super Starz - released as part of a 2012 promotion with Viacom promoting the MTV World Stage music festival in 2012
  • Honey BBQ Wings
  • Spicy Sausage
  • Double Kick - contains two flavours at once, released in 2010
  • Bolognese & Cheese Onion
  • Chicken Chorizo & Smokey Sausage
  • Peppery Jalapeno & Pickle
Coffee Bonanza - limited edition, currently discontinued
My packet of Fonzies tells me Se non ti lecchi le dita good solo a meta. Which means if you don't lick your fingers you only get half the pleasure. Of course that could in fact be said of many crispy snacks. A Twisties packet will tell you that life's pretty straight without Twisties. Not quite the same.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Savoursmiths Truffle & Rosemary

Here's a good example of a crisp that sounds utterly disgusting and turns out to be pretty good.

I really dislike truffle. I think it quite unnecessary to add such a strong musty flavour to perfectly good food and thus make it inedible. And quite a lot of my friends agree with. But I am aware that there are truffle fans out there and very likely this crisp was created with them in mind.

Now the reluctant taste testers and I have tried Torres Selecta Black Truffle crisps and most of us found them very unpleasant. Seriously not nice at all.

We also tried M&S Ever So Posh Hand Cooked Parmesan Asparagus & Truffle. That was back in 2014 (doesn't time fly, crisp fans?) Actually, they weren't too bad because basically the Parmesan flavour took over and we couldn't really pick the Asparagus or the Truffle.

Anyway, once bitten etc, so we approached these crisps with a little trepidation. And found we'd made a fuss about nothing. This is small crisp with a nice crunch (not too hard) and a gentle rosemary taste with a tiny hint of what was probably truffle. Rosemary can be a bit overpowering if not used in moderation but I recall a very nice bag of Kettle Chips Sea Salt with a Hint of Rosemary. It's not a common seasoning in crispy snacks but it can work very well.

And the reluctant taste testers, together with the Chef were pleased to approve these Truffle & Rosemary crisps.
I like the purple and green metallic colours of the packet but it took me a while to work out what the weird peacock person was up to. I thought she had her hand in a muff but it seems she is juggling giant truffles (sort of).

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Savoursmiths Parmesan and Port

Masters of flavour & faber says the packet a little mysteriously. Make room for a finer set of flavours, a better breed of snack. Hmm.
Well, I'm not sure. I was in my local Waitrose checking out their selection of flowers because I had been nudged (I hesitate to say bullied because the bully is far too nice) into joining in the flower festival at our local church. One of our local churches; we have 2 huge churches (and a largely Jewish population!). Anyway, there I was but their flowers didn't feature the colours I was looking for so I bought a packet of crisps instead. The packet does rather draw the eye don't you think?

I never saw this brand of crisps before but they must be putting themselves about. The Family Vegetarian tells me that shortly before she stopped working at the the very fancy gastropub in the next village they received a taster box of this brand. Apparently the Wagyu Beef & Honey Mustard flavour was wolfed down by the kitchen staff, and some unspecified bloke at the bar ate the bag of Parmesan & Port. But as neither other packet got eaten, the boss gave the remaining packets to the Family Vegetarian because "your husband's a chef". So watch this space for 2 more flavours.

I took this packet in to work for the reluctant taste testers to try. And I think they, and I found them a bit weird. For a start, the crisps are a bit pink. It's the Port. You don't really taste the Port that much, there's a sharp or sour taste that isn't really Port, but you really can smell it. But I don't know why you wouldn't just produce Parmesan flavour crisps?
Wouldn't that be much tastier? Because not only could the reluctant taste testers not pick this flavour; Tall taste tester thought Apple & Pork (?), and lightly Red Haired Bristolian hazarded Cheese & Chive (a little more accurate), but all of them seriously disapproved of crisps with alcohol. Not crisps with a glass of wine you understand; but crisps with added alcohol. Like Tesco Finest Limited Edition Prosecco & Elderberry Crisps. We weren't mad for them either.

Although having reported on the reactions, I can also report that almost all the crisps got eaten anyway. And the Chef started out by saying "ugh yuk" and found that he had finished a bowlful without noticing. I had one. Not for me thanks.
And just because I can, here are the flower arrangements I made for the church.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Snyder's of Hanover Sweet & Salty Pretzel Pieces Salted Caramel

Hmm... the name of this crispy crunchy snack seems to go on forever. The actual flavour is Salted Caramel and they certainly do taste of Salted Caramel.

I think the reluctant taste testers and I tried these Sweet & Salty Pretzel Pieces just before I was dragged off to hospital in early March. They've sitting around since then and are in pretty good condition considering. Paper clips seem to work as well as a kitchen clip at keeping the bag tightly shut. Which is lucky as here we are 4 months later.

As with all these Pretzel Piece snacks this has a huge great crunch which is fabulous, but of course as usual it looks like a snack cobbled together from the remains of an nasty accident in Snyder's kitchens. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that's what happened once upon a time and gave someone a marketing idea.

We've tried 4 different packets of Pretzel Pieces before but they were all savoury flavours like Hot Buffalo Wings but these are Sweet & Salty which is a very different taste. These pieces of pretzel are swathed in piles of flavour dust which delivers a great thwack of Sweet & Salty flavour. And the Salted Caramel is very caramelly.

It reminds me of the olden days when William Morris Fan taste tester who worked with me and the taste testers before ever the taste testing was invented, introduced me to Sweet & Salted as a flavour for the first time. She rushed out to one of the local kosher delis and produced a snack such as I had never seen before  - I think it was popcorn. Wow! That must be less than 10 years ago. Amazing. Crispy snack flavours have come on apace since then. Although possibly that comment applies more to the UK than the USA.

Never attempted this sort of flavour? Definitely worth a try. Go on. You know you want to.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Miss Vickie's Applewood Smoked BBQ

Crafted with care since 1987 says the packet. Many of the crispy snack companies I have discovered have been set up far more recently so this probably qualifies as a fairly long standing brand of snack.

I read that Miss Vickie's started out as a farm house crisp made by a a couple called Vickie and Bill Kerr who farmed in Ontario (which is in Canada) but at some time it was bought up by Frito-Lay's. Which means of course that like so many crispy snacks it belongs to the mega marketing monster that is PepsiCo.

So far I have only tried one packet of Miss Vickie's crisps and that not very enthusiastically. Partly because as you probably know I'm not mad for barbecue or BBQ as a flavour. I know a lot of people who love barbecue but I could live without ever tasting another BBQ flavoured crisp. And then there's another reason. As I write I have 7 pills to take each day and one of them, I forget which, has a depressing side effect: it affects your appetite. And in my case it means I don't really fancy crispy snacks just now. I'm just hoping I get over it.

These are the Miss Vickie's flavours listed on Wikipedia: 24 of them and only 2 discontinued. I'm a bit sorry I shall never get the chance to try the Honey & Roasted Garlic flavour. which sounds rather interesting.
  • Miss Vickie's Original Recipe (1987)
  • Miss Vickie's Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar (1987)
  • Miss Vickie's Jalapeño (1998)
  • Miss Vickie's Hand-Picked Jalapeño (1999)
  • Miss Vickie's Country Onion with 3 Cheeses (1999)
  • Miss Vickie's Roasted Garlic & Herb (2001)
  • Miss Vickie's Harvest Onion (2002)
  • Miss Vickie's Sweet Chili & Sour Cream (2003)
  • Miss Vickie's Lime & Black Pepper (2004)
  • Miss Vickie's Smokehouse BBQ (2005)
  • Miss Vickie's Honey & Roasted Garlic (2005) (Discontinued in 2009)
  • Miss Vickie's Roasted Red Pepper Grill (2006)
  • Miss Vickie's Vintage Cheddar & Red Onion (2007)
  • Miss Vickie's Creamy Buttermilk Ranch (2008)
  • Miss Vickie's Unsalted (2008)
  • Miss Vickie's Mesquite BBQ (Discontinued in 2008)
  • Miss Vickie's Rosemary & Basil (2008)
  • Miss Vickie's Crinkle Cut Original (2009)
  • Miss Vickie's Balsamic Vinegar & Sweet Onion (2010)
  • Miss Vickie's Reduced Fat (2014)
  • Miss Vickie's Applewood Smoked BBQ (2015)
  • Miss Vickie's Sour Cream & Caramelized Onion (2016)
  • Miss Vickie's Harvest Cheddar and Herbs (2017)
  • Miss Vickie's Farmhouse White Cheddar (2017)                               

I am going in to work about 6 hours a week now (don't knock it I can't manage any more just yet) and took this packet in to see what the reluctant taste testers had to say. I'm sorry to have to tell you that most of them quite forget they need to tell me what they think, but Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was pleased to approve these crisps.

Not very large crisps, with a slightly heavy bite and a very bright colour, these crisps seem to me to taste strongly of applewood (which I wrongly imagined to be one of the ingredients - it's not). Strange and not really for me. Still, Smokehouse BBQ (on the list above) sounds a lot nastier.
PS The Chef tried one of these crisps and thought it was horrible. He absent mindedly had another and before he knew it had eaten a whole bowlful.

Friday, 14 July 2017

7Days Bake Rolls Salt

We had left over guacamole from the other night's chicken tortillas (possibly as unauthentic as can be but the Chef has lived in Mexico) so the Chef said he'd buy some crisps to eat it with. I suggested Bake Rolls but apparently the Garlic flavour which the Chef likes best sells out really quickly and they don't get more Garlic Bake Rolls until all the other flavours like Pizza and Mushrooms & Cream ones have gone too.

But he went down the road anyway and came home with this packet of Salt flavour. Which sounds rather dull doesn't it? I mean... just Salt? However, since there was nothing else in the house suitable for scooping up guacamole, we tucked in. And were pleasantly surprised.
Tasty. A very nice combination of saltiness and fabulous crispy baked taste. It's a shame that guacamole isn't very photogenic but then green gloop rarely is, but I think we can recommend this crispy snack as one of those that don't seem to taste of much while at the same time tasting very good indeed. And just the job for scooping up a dip.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What do people do with crisp packets?

What indeed?

Well, throw them away mostly. Almost no crisp packets are currently recyclable in the UK so what are you, obviously a keen recycler and champion of the environment, going to do to salve your conscience? Perhaps you might make your own Christmas decorations? It may take you a while so better start now.
Or what about weaving a bag? There was a link to the instructions on the same page as the Christmas decoration suggestion but sadly it no longer works. But the photograph I have borrowed from that page shows the bags are very pretty. There's probably another place to find instructions; I expect I didn't look hard enough.
Of course handbag designer Anya Hindmarsh designed a bag to look like a crisp packet. Perhaps these bags are a trifle more expensive than a recycled crisp packet bag would be (18ct gold anybody?) and somewhat swankier than your average Lay's or Walkers packet they are rather fun. I want one! I'm going to borrow one of her images.
And what about making a dress or perhaps it is a wearable work of art? Here's a student called Rebekah modelling the dress she made from dozens of packets. I wonder how sturdy this is? From experience I know that crispy snack packets split very easily. I would have thought she might be better off printing the packet designs onto cloth; but then she would not have won an award for sustainable design.
As I said, crisp packets split very easily but I also wonder about washing them. They are usually so very greasy and I think you might get fed up with your project before you had produced anything clean and shiny enough to work with. So this dress may have won an award for sustainable design but I wonder how much precious water was used in its making?

It seems that one man from Hull grills (grills! you'd think a crisp packet would catch fire under a grill) empty packets and turns them into balls, which he will then makes into a work of art. Hull is the UK City of Culture this year and Gary Key has decided that's the way  he wants to join in. History has yet to relate whether or not Hull City Council will consider his offering to be art or not.

If you can't bring yourself to embark on any of these exciting, though possibly arduous projects, what about folding your empty packet into the smallest tidiest piece of rubbish possible? Here are some instructions to help you out.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

A Visit to Reims in 2016 (France)

In fact despite me begging the Chef to stop in Reims because I long to visit the cathedral, we actually stop at Tinqueux which is a suburb of Reims. And 2 minutes walk from the very comfortable Novotel there is a giant Carrefour supermarché. And we pass through Tinqueux at least 4 times a year.

I love it. I enjoy shopping a lot and all the more if I don't actually need to buy anything. And frankly I don't need to buy crisps or crispy snack. I just do.

Check out the huge array of crisps. I am certain the crisp market in France has got noticeably larger in the last 4 years, and certainly the range of crispy snacks was larger last year than in previous years.
I can see Pringles here, and the Carrefour own brand version, about 12 different flavours by the look of it. Also tubs of hula hoops which in the UK come in packets not tubs. And then to the left of the Pringles we move into the Biscuit apéritif section where the products are usually packaged in boxes.

I have scrutinised this photograph very carefully and have determined that there are 13 different Lay's flavours on the shelf; Poulet Rôti (roast chicken), Fromage (cheese), Cheese & Onion (yes, that's French for cheese & onion), Jambon Braisé (braised ham), Paprika, Bolognaise, Spicy (French for spicy), Barbecue, Moutarde Pickles (French for mustard and pickles, a very weird but rather fabulous flavour if you ask me but I have only tried the Bret's version), Saveur Giant (bonkersly this appears to be French for cheeseburger flavour these days), Salt & Vinegar (you guessed, French for salt & vinegar), á l'Ancienne which is a sort of old fashioned style of crisp the French seem to be very fond of, and Deep Ridge Barbecue. Phew. 

Lay's crisps of course are not available in the UK. We have Walkers instead with a rather different selection of flavours. We have Cheese & Onion but not cheese flavour. Salt & Vinegar but not Spicy or Moutarde Pickles. As for Saveur Giant! I have tried a number of these so I'll put some links in for you.

We also have Market Deli crisps in the photograph (2 flavours on the shelf), and Kettle Chips (2 flavours) and Tyrrell's. I wonder what the difference is between Sea Salt & Black Pepper and Sea Salt & Crushed Black Pepper? (4 flavours).

Then there are the French crisps. Vico Grillade aux herbes. I haven't tried this flavour and it sounds rather good. I haven't tried á l'Ancienne either but I can live with that because I think it's a rather dull kind of crisp. There are 3 kinds of Carrefour own brand crisps and then the Bret's crisps. Bret's crisps come from Brittany and feature flavours that are a little bit different; Chèvre (technically goat, but in this case probably goat's cheese), and au Comté which is a very nice French cheese and Chocolat Piment (chilli chocolate).

If you stand back, or in my case sit down, and list all the crisps in this photograph which is obviously not all the crisps in the store, it adds up to a vast number of crisps and crispy snacks. Huge numbers of crisps and snacks in dozens hundreds of flavours are manufactured all over the world. Tall taste tester suggested the other day that I should write a book about crisps but I think this is it. I have posted 741 different crisps and articles about crisps and photographs of crisp packets and reviews taken from magazines and newspaper. 741!! I guess I didn't look at the numbers recently. That's amazing. But it still doesn't qualify me as an expert when there are so many crispy snacks out there.
Here's what I bought at Carrefour in August 2016. See the Lay's Saveur Giant at the front? Oh dear. What a grumpy review I wrote abut that crisp.








Saturday, 8 July 2017

Smiths Potato Crisps tin found on Ebay

I chanced to see this pretty vintage crisp tin on ebay and entered a very low bid. I don't really enjoy auctions so I didn't think about it again. Apparently nobody else thought about it either and so I won the auction and the tin was delivered to me today.

I love tins. I really like interesting packaging of any kind (see my other blog: there are links on the right of this page) but you cannot beat a good tin. And oddly, while I have more than 30 tins for sweet biscuits or chocolate, I only have 6 tins for crispy snacks; one Ritz Cracker tin, one Walkers Crisps tin, three different tins for ROKA Cheese Crispies and now one for Smith's Crisps.
I imagine this is because people are prepared to invest more in a biscuit or a box of chocolates. And if the biscuits or chocolates come in a tin, hey! that sounds like a pretty good present for Auntie Madge or maybe even Uncle Dick. Few people give a prettily wrapped packet of crisps as a present. I can't think why not. One of my favourite Christmas presents was a homemade selection box of little bags of crisps. Brilliant.

Think about it. That Star Wars lunchbox you were thinking of buying for your 6 year old nephew's birthday will be a whole lot more exciting if you cram in a couple of packets of Smith's Twisted Flamin' Hot or Smith's Spicy Tomato Flavour Snaps. And if your sister doesn't like her children to have crisps..... Well, it's only once a year.
Anyway, back to my handsome new/old tin. I'd love to know how old it is because the way the blurb talks about crisps it's as though they are a whole new concept. Serve crisps with your morning bacon, chops & steaks, fish, poultry or game, cocktails etc. it says on the end of the tin. Crisps with fish? Really? I never heard of that before. Exciting stuff. I can't really see it though, especially as I don't eat fish.

And on the other end it says No picnic basket is complete without Smith's Potato Crisps. Always take a supply when cycling, walking, fishing etc. etc. Doesn't it seem odd to think of a world where you had to be told to take a packet of crisps with you. And please note; there's no mention of a packet, just "a supply". Do you suppose that in what ever olden day world this tin comes from you would actually buy your crisps by the tin?
Sounds unlikely doesn't it? But when I was a small child in the early 1960s (and I have written about this before) we used to buy ROKA Cheese Crispies in a tin. Which was expensive. So I wonder how expensive Smith's Crisps were, and did they really come in a tin? I haven't researched this at all so you may know more than I do.

The tin is about 6.25" x 4.75" x 3.25" ( 570 x 110 x 801mm) so not very large. About the right size in fact for a small packet of crisps. At a squash. So don't forget that modern packets of crisps are giant, and you shouldn't eat a whole one all by yourself. Moderation is the key.

Plain crisps with a little blue bag of salt remind me of the Smith's crisps of my childhood. Today they are made by Walkers but you can still see the Smith's logo on the packet.

And if you are interested here's the tapestry I used as a backdrop to my photographs today. I think my Auntie V probably worked it. She was rich and had no children, and her husband (he was my great uncle) spent her money yachting. Their large house was full of beautiful things including this once fabulous footstool. But at only 8" high and 18" x 28" in this house it was a major trip hazard so the stool had to go. The tapestry I will frame because it's much too wonderful to roll up and keep in a drawer. The tin will go into the bookshelf with the rest of the collection.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Visit to Bern in 2015 (Switzerland)

I am still mostly not at work (so far I've managed two hours at a time, two days last week: it was exhausting) but I am feeling better enough to attack all the tasks that have been sitting uncompleted on my own computer.

Way back in in 2015 I started a photobook. I usually make one for our proper holidays; a visit to Florence or Venice or somewhere, but I don't usually make a book for day trips. But in 2015 we didn't go away. We stayed home, either in the UK or in Switzerland, and made some amazing day trips.
Why am I telling you this? Because the first was a visit to Bern. Just for the day. By train. And while we enjoyed looking at the fabulous clock (800 years old according to wikipedia) and the weird statues Bern has to offer, and the fascinating way that restaurants in a city full of politicians and tourists are so reluctant to serve lunch at lunchtime (we eventually found a charming cafe run by Italians who seemed to know most of their customers by name), and the trams, and the bears (no longer thank goodness kept in a horrible concrete pit), and the fountains, we were delighted to end the day at a department store. What's better than a little light shopping?
Globus doesn't have a branch in Sion which is our nearest city, so I wasn't aware what a lovely shop it is. And I didn't know that in the basement it has a wonderful food department. Globus is handily close to the railway station so we knew we didn't have far to drag our purchases. So we bought delicious fresh pasta, and wine from the canton of Bern, and could I resist investigating the crisp department? What do you think?
Look, here's a reminder of what we found at Globus. The top shelf has Boxerchips (from Ireland) and the bottom row has Burt's (British, from Devon I think), Nandos (not sure but certainly available in the UK) and Roger's, which are from Belgium.

Globus does also sell own-brand Globus tortilla chips. but as I noted in my post they are not made in Switzerland at all but in the Netherlands. And if you like you can read all about my purchases by clicking on the links.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Pringles Original "Perfect Flavour in Every Bite"

I had to go into the hospital yesterday morning for an echo bubble test on my heart (I think that's what they call it), and have a blood pressure monitor fitted. This is horrible. I hate having my blood pressure taken; it's really painful. So I was feeling rather gloomy and in need of cheering up.

Luckily the hospital has a small shop. Quite a nice shop with lots of useful stuff for patients like extra pants and hand cream. It sells a selection of less than healthful drinks and snacks not ideal in a hospital (but also healthy fruit) and lucky for me I spotted some small tubes of Pringles at the back.

Pringles have recently been advertising an updated version of their crispy snacks featuring "perfect flavour in every bite". I don't eat Pringles very often so I honestly cannot remember how patchy, if at all, the flavour was before.  Basically "original" is quite a strong salty taste and as always with Pringles they leave a tingle in your lips. But tasty.

Do beware that this extremely tasty taste comes from 9% of the recommended daily intake of an average adult. And this in a a 40g tub of snacks. Really a lot of salt. But only the plus side; suitable for vegans.

Whether it's the case or not it seemed to me that these updated Pringles are slightly finer than before which I think is an improvement. And the Chef agreed. Certainly there were more broken bits of Pringle in the tube so maybe they are slightly thinner than before. I really do think this gives a nicer snack.

Pringles were recently named and shamed by the Recycling Association because their packaging is almost impossible to recycle. I see you can recycle the plastic lid but the metallic/card tube must be a nightmare. Come on Kellogg's, you bought this brand is 2012. Isn't it time to redesign the tube?

Back to the hospital today for a 72 hour heart scan. Oh joy.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Good Housekeeping Magazine: Gourmet Salt & Vinegar Crisps

I don't normally see Good Housekeeping Magazine so I wasn't really aware they had a "Taste Test" feature although it isn't a surprise. It looks like a regular monthly feature and could probably be a taste test of anything from plum jams to baked beans to ready to cook frozen prawns. Who knows? Except a regular Good Housekeeping reader. Anyway, lucky for me that the September 2015 issue I chanced to pick up while I was waiting to see Porsche Fan Chiropractor happened to be a review of crisps.

Not just any old crisps either, although they are nearly all supermarket own brand crisps which many reviewers consider beneath contempt. Pah! What do they know? There is nothing the matter with supermarket crisps; some of them are extremely good. We have offerings from both Sainsburys and the Co-op on our Recommended list (see right).

Here we have salt & vinegar crisps which of course is one of the original crisp flavours in this country, and gourmet salt & vinegar at that.

Well now, you're probably thinking "Hang on there Miss Cheeseburger-Crisps, this is September 2015 you're talking about. Isn't that rather a long time ago?". Yes, it is. But the reluctant taste testers and I tried the winning crisp in November last year and if it isn't still available I'd be very surprised because we thought this was pretty tasty.

The taste testers at the Good Housekeeping Institute tested salt & vinegar crisps from seven supermarkets and here we have the winning crisp Co-op Truly Irresistible Sea Salt and Chardonnay Wine Vinegar Crisps which were awarded 80 points out of 100.

Runners up were Waitrose Sea Salt & Somerset Cider Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps 74/100

Tyrrell's Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Crisps 75/100

M&S Hand Cooked Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Crisps 76/100

And Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps 76/100.

The reluctant taste testers and I haven't tried all of these crisps. But here's what we thought of two of them. And it might be worth our while seeking out the others if they are still available.

By the way, I did admit to Porsche Fan Chiropractor that I had torn a page out of one of the only two magazines in the waiting room. He didn't seem to mind.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Ideal Choco Crisps

So (taking advantage of the current style of explanatory speech), so I was looking at Amazon a couple of months back and spotted these chocolate coated crisps which looked rather interesting. But I told myself that there were plenty of crisps in the shops and anyway I was shortly going to be visiting a massive crisp heaven supermarket in France so it would be silly to buy them off Amazon.
Fast forward to the other day when we suddenly needed one of those lampshade ensmallifier rings that make the bit of your lampshade that sits on the part the bulb goes into smaller. Yeah I didn't know what they were called either but it turns out that Amazon's search engine was able to help me out there. Anyway, lovely old Amazon alerted me to the fact that Choco Crisps were now reduced in price. So I bought a packet.

And?

Well, these Spanish crisps come in two silver baggies inside a cardboard box. I went into work for a cup of coffee this week because I've been missing all the taste testers and they claim to be missing me. Plus, Tall taste tester emailed to say they have been finding themselves very short of potato based snacks. So I took one of the little silver baggies in with me. Well, I thought they might be disappointed if I arrived minus potatoey products.

Guess what? All the reluctant taste testers said they liked them. "Wrong but good" said Tall taste tester taking another. "Oh these are quite nice" said Tall Elegant taste tester. Yes, quite nice plain crisps with quite a lot of quite nice chocolate. As you can see from the photograph it's almost quite nice chocolate with a crisp on top.

Not sure I would buy them again though because to be honest crisp plus chocolate is slightly weird.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Corkers Simply Sea Salt in a box

When flying home from Geneva to London the Chef and I discovered this interesting box of crisps on  the list of snacks offered by Easyjet.

 I was pretty sure we had tried a Corkers crisp before and I was right: it was a sausage and mustard flavour we bought at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  And those crisps came in a normal style of packet. I checked the Corkers Crisps website and it seems that normally their crisps do come in a regular packet as before, so maybe the box is just for planes.

This is actually a pretty good salted crisp and the Chef and I wolfed them down quite quickly.

And this is a better recommendation than it sounds, because your sense of taste is less good than usual at altitude. So if you think it tastes good at 30,000 feet, then it really does.
The packet tells me that Corkers Crisps hold the Guinness World Record for biggest ever packet of crisps and have sent a packet into space! I hardly know what to say to that. They also claim that people prefer to snack on crisps while watching television rather than chocolate. Hmmmn I think the Chef would have something to say about that.

On top of everything, they have a nice little guy throwing his rubbish away responsibly.
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