Tuesday 31 January 2017

Zetov Super Snacks Wavers Wheat Snack Wild Onion

Hmm.... wild onion eh? And a wheat snack.

This square crispy snack reminds me of Shreddies breakfast cereal. You don't get the same checkerboard effect, more of a sort of corduroy stripe, and they are kind of wavy which Shreddies are not, but nonetheless, I did get quite a Shreddie vibe.

They taste, to me at any rate, of falafel. Onion flavoured falafel. Quite nice. But the bite is very dull which is not ideal. OK, but not super exciting and the reluctant taste testers didn't finish this little 40g bag.

Super Snacks, it says on the packaging, often imitated, never duplicated. A yummy treat that's good to eat. Yes well.

Made in Israel for a company based in Brooklyn, NY.

Monday 30 January 2017

Manōmasa Chipotle & Lime

I'm so bored with chipotle sighed Dutch taste tester, and I didn't expect much myself as I don't usually care for crispy snacks made with lime. But. actually, I thought this combination or chipotle chile and lime wasn't at all bad. Pretty tasty in fact.

These tortilla chops are quite tasty. Very nice indeed. And despite my usual dislike of lime as a flavour (it tastes blue); I really did like this flavour. Although, having said that, I don't really get tortillas; the bite isn't right and then there's that odd floury texture.

Not all the reluctant taste testers were mad keen on this flavour. Giraffe Fan particularly told me she didn't fancy these crisps (tortillas). Got to say I was quite surprised because I had thought Giraffe Fan would rather like them.

Some of the reluctant taste testers thought these were rather good. Some didn't. So I guess you have to make up your own mind. And as always with Monomasa the packaging design is lovely.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Pret a Manger Maldon Sea Salt

Here's a packet of crisps that was bought at Luton Airport for a snack on the flight to Switzerland but not eaten and brought home again to London.

So we thought we had better eat them before they took to the road again.

A small packet of basic sea salted crisps. Good crunch, and a pale golden colour. We thought these were more lightly salted than salted but they were tasty. And they all got eaten - quite quickly.

Pleasant but not amazing.

The clever packaging design is simple but tells you everything you need to know.
The reluctant taste testers have got a bit fed up recently about the complicated flavour of so many modern crisps. So when Noble Friend was out and about the other day she picked up this packet of crisps from Pret à Manger. Which is why I am reposting this.

Malden Sea Salt. I love the taste of salt (I know, I know; we know it's a bad thing these days but hey! I was brought up in the 1960s sp give me a break) but Maldon salt is the tastiest. THE best salt. It comes from Essex and they have been collecting salt since 1882 (before my grandfather was born) and it really is fabulous. If you can find it give it a try. And although these crisps are not labelled "lightly" salted, it does seem that the taste is just right. Not too salty.

Well, the Chef and I had tried these crisps back in March 2015 and quite enjoyed them, but the reluctant taste testers had not. And? It's a lovely crisp, a little thicker than your basic crisp, and a beautiful taste of hand cooked potato with a fabulous lightly salted taste.

What could be better than that?
Once again we ask ourselves, are complicated crisp flavours what we are all looking for? Architectural taste tester, the most discerning of testers, thinks plain in best. Lots of the other taste testers think so too. So probably not. And this flavour? Lovely. Simple and tasty.

OK then. Come on crisp manufacturers, listen to the taste testers we all like the simple flavours best (the crisp makers won't read this - probably).

Friday 27 January 2017

Ardens Twists Tomato & Basil

Tall Elegant taste tester won this packet of sort-of cheese straws in the Christmas raffle but brought them back into the office because she wasn't sure she'd like them. I don't know why. I thought they looked really tasty and was quite jealous.

But lucky for me I got to taste them anyway. And they really are rather good. Well, I thought so.

But. But take a look a the packaging design. This is a prime example of the product looking nothing at all like the pack shot. You could probably do Ardens for misrepresentation. These puff pastry twists look nothing at all like the large cheese straws shown on the packet.... maybe a little bit like. But not much.

It's hard to tell from my photograph but these twists are a lot thinner and narrower than shown on the packet. I thought it would show up better. Less beautifully twisted too. But of course that affects the flavour not at all.

This crispy snack comes in a little silver baggie inside a cardboard box. You'd think the box would protect the product but I thought there were far too many breakages. That's a shame. The photograph shows the first twists that came out of  the baggie. The second helping was a lot more broken.

As I said, I thought this crispy snack was rather good, but I'm not sure that Ardens are fully behind their product. The packet suggests their twists are stupendous with soup, lush with dips, heavenly warmed, divine at wine time, fun with friends (all ticked) or just straight out of the box. Hmnn. It almost seems they aren't quite sure we will enjoy their product.

Apparently this is a product Ardens discovered in Switzerland. I wonder if it was the Zweifel Flȗtes à l'Ancienne Fromage?

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Kettle Chips Limited Edition Hand Cooked Baked Camembert & Oak Smoked Garlic

Oh dear. I really don't like this packaging. Although I suppose it is kind of camembert  colour so I can see why Mr Kettle chose it.

I don't find it very appealing. But I must admit that the gold detailing is rather grand, and the dark red strip has a very smart self-coloured pattern. Which shows up almost better in the scan than it does in real life but only on the red. The dark cream (which is darker in life than the scan shows) also has a self pattern which doesn't show up in the scan at all. I don't know what to make of that.

Not sure about the flavour either. Was it Noble Friend who said it's just a fancy version of cheese and onion? Whoever it was was quite right.

I love camembert. I used to work for a man (sadly no longer with us) who was the proud owner of the smelliest camembert in the world. My goodness it smelled bad. So bad that his French wife wouldn't let him store it in the house. You would think a Frenchwoman would allow the cheese in the building. But no. The cheese lived in the garden shed and came into the kitchen at lunchtime. It smelled bad but wow did it taste good!

Not sure these crisps actually taste of camembert. Or oak smoked garlic. I think we're verging on the complicated flavour front. Not ideal.

And Dutch taste tester complained the crisps are too thick and the bite too hard and she prefers a lighter bite. I'm a bit surprised by this as she had such a professional crunch when taste testing. And it seems most of her friends would be surprised too. Apparently when Dutch taste tester and the Vinyl Collector give a party loads of people generously bring Kettle Chips with them.

Kettle Chips look a lot fancier than your basic Walkers or Smiths crisps both of which are a thinner crisp with a much lighter crunch. Trouble is, crisps from Walkers or Smiths look more everyday. Well... not like a present. Dutch taste tester likes a lighter bite. And maybe you do too?

And hang about; the packet says absolutely nothing artificial. Oh good. Because that rather implies that other Kettle Chips flavours might be made with plastic or polystyrene. I'm fairly sure they're not. In fact, looking at the list of ingredients they do all look fairly real. As far as dried roasted garlic (for example) can be real. Still. It does seem an odd thing to say.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Good Boy Wagtastic Chewy Chicken Twists

Here's another doggy treat tried out for us by Taste Tester Honey. And she does love them.

These treats look creepily like those cheese wrapped up in parma ham snacks you sometimes get at a party. But they're a whole lot chewier than that. Because they are chewy I wonder are they intended to last a little while? Honey polishes hers off in no time at all. I'm not sure it qualifies even as a little while.

Taste Tester Honey had an operation recently and you can still see the place where the vet shaved her ankle  to put a drip in. It was touch and go for a while but don't worry crisp fans; Honey is just fine now.

Monday 23 January 2017

AM Buffy Corn Snack

Another choice from the local kosher deli. Another bugle snack. Which has a lighter colour than most bugle snacks, which I like, and a lovely light crunch, which I also like.

It also tastes of almost nothing. Pretty much no taste at all. Which it turns out I like quite a lot. And it turns out the reluctant taste testers rather enjoyed a taste-free snack too.

I think the reluctant taste testers get very fed up with crispy snacks that taste of far too much. And the crispy snack development departments of many companies seem oh so anxious to tempt our jaded palates. New crisps and crispy snacks are increasingly complex and often end up being either nothing like the flavour they purport to be, or really not very nice. Or both. Well, if you've read any of my posts before you'll be up to speed with this argument already.

So we really enjoyed this nothing snack.

Giraffe Fan taste tester took one look and said, oh I know these. They don't taste of anything do they?

No, they don't. But in s good way.

Sunday 22 January 2017

KP Hula Hoops Golden Hoops Sour Cream & Chive

I'm not completely convinced by this new product, these hoops baked with 30% less fat.  But the reluctant taste testers seemed more impressed than me. Well, what do I know?

Having said the reluctant taste testers were more impressed than me, I should add they were not mad for this baked biscuit. Yes, it's a biscuit! Really. Definitely a biscuit. All the reluctant taste testers were determined that this was a biscuit.

And is it a Hula Hoop a biscuit? You know, the actual Hula Hoop that we have been eating for years in the UK (apologies to readers from overseas who may not know Hula Hoops). No, that's a crispy snack. But not a biscuit.

But here we are with the Golden Hoops, and yes, they are a brand new crispy snack. I mean biscuit. Which isn't at all like a Hula Hoop although I suppose they are fairly hoopy. (Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.)

Anyway. Golden Hoops are made from wheat flour which has been enriched with vitamins like thiamin and niacin. Just like a breakfast cereal. Weird!

Not at all bad on the biscuity front. Sour Cream & Chive isn't my most favourite flavour but it's not a bad snack. Interestingly almost all the reluctant taste testers said they didn't really like the flavour, saying it was too strong, and I thought they  tasted a bit like washing up liquid which is a bit unfortunate. However most of the taste testers seemed to eat quite a lot of them.

And it is interesting how people can say in a determined fashion that they don't like something and then go on to eat quite a lot. It happens quite often.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Ital Food Bruschette Maretti Mixed Vegetables

Well, it's not entirely clear to me exactly what vegetables we're talking about here. The packet shows a green pepper, a tomato, red onion and garlic; the ingredients list says these bruschetta are flavoured with a devour vegetable mix. Which could mean anything really.

However, all the other Bruschetta Maretti flavours the reluctant taste testers and I have tried were extremely nice, so let's give this a go. What do the taste testers think?

Beautiful crunch, very savoury taste. Not sure it's a vegetable taste particularly but it certainly is a tasty taste. I think this crispy snack gets a thumbs up.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Golden Fluff Veggie Flutes Garden Vegetable

And yes, another little packet of crispy snacks from the local kosher deli. Actually I should say one of the local kosher delis as we have a large selection. There's a couple of Japanese delis too but I haven't yet plucked up the courage to go in!

Anyhow, these little Veggie Flutes have only 60 calories! I should hope so. This little packet contains only 14g of snack. That's half an ounce of snack for those of you not up to metric speed. Half an ounce? That's a ridiculously small packet isn't it? A little bit yes, but these little potato/wheat starch flutes are very light. Oh, and only 3g of fat.

These extruded square profile faux chips (french fries) come in three favours: garden fresh potato (slightly salted but the packet doesn't say that), tomato (the pale orange ones) and spinach (the green).

They have a slightly harder crunch than you might expect because they do look so light. And Senior taste tester told me he really didn't care for the green ones. Nor me, really. But, you know, we can't really complain too much as the green ones aren't actually nasty.

Mind you, it is a tiny packet so even if you aren't mad for the green ones you will find yourself finishing the packet anyway.

I wasn't really aware that Garden Vegetable was a crispy snack flavour until fairly recently. It isn't a traditional UK snack flavour. But we tried a Garden Vegetable snack from some people called Sensible Portions about a year ago. And no doubt I'll stumble over another packet sometime soon.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Manōmasa Limited Edition Cinnamon & Muscavado Sugar

This packet of unusual crisps was a generous donation from Tall Elegant taste tester.

Not actually a crisp; more of a circular tortilla made with finest white masa, this really is a pretty unusual snack.  The flavour is made from cacao nibs (Tall taste tester asked if they were embedded with chocolate chips and it does look like it), maple sugar and cloves in addition to the advertised Muscavado sugar and cinnamon. Oh, and buttermilk.

Weirdly these tortillas are not particularly sweet. Not particularly cinnamony either. What particularly struck me was the texture. The bite is a bit dull and then as you crunch through you are left with a mouthful of kind of gritty flour. Not ideal.

Tall taste tester said "this is just wrong!" after his first bite, and then ate several more tortillas. Slightly Red Haired Bristolian said "they aren't exactly horrible", damning them with extremely faint praise. Sadly nobody told me they liked them. But I noticed that a large bowlful was very nearly finished. Not an enthusiastic response but somebody, probably more than one somebody, was eating them. So, no, not exactly horrible.

Extra weird (could it get weirder?) the packet suggests that these tortillas might best be enjoyed dipped into melted dark chocolate. And thinly sliced strawberries should be added for a little slither of heaven. Well! Not what you expect from what looks like a packet of crisps.

 "Not salty enough" complained Tall taste tester. And therein lies the rub. The reluctant taste testers have tried 700 different crisps and crispy snacks over the last three and a half years, but even they were not prepared for what the lovely people at Monomasa call Recipe No: 31.

Obviously we have tried other crispy snacks we were not prepared for, like Lay's Cappuccino for example (seriously weird), but this Cinnamon & Muscavado Sugar tortilla is what we are considering today.

I guess that a lot of people will buy a new or limited edition packet of crisps (or tortillas) out of curiosity. The question here is will they buy it again? In this case I'm not sure. But don't take my word for it. If you spot a packet give them a try and prove me wrong.

Fabulous packaging design though. I really love it.

Friday 13 January 2017

Badatz Paskesz Nosh.kes Grill Rings

Another tiny little packet of kosher snacks from Israel. And this time the grippingly exciting flavour is "grill". Grill? Yup.

I really have no idea what sort of a flavour grill is supposed to be but I'm guessing it's a variant on barbecue. Or BBQ. However you spell it, these little tubular crispy snacks are a gentler milder version of the barbecue flavour so beloved by the Israeli snack industry. And also, I suppose, by Israeli snack fans.

The ingredients list isof  no assistance. Apparently the flavour is made from the ever popular (and completely opaque) "flavourings". Helpful eh?

Not a bad little crispy snack. Finer and more fragile than Hula Hoops or Wheat Crunchies or even Cofresh Potato Hoops, these little crispy tubes do suffer quite a lot of breakages before you open the packet. But somehow it doesn't seem to matter too much.

Thursday 12 January 2017

Kettle Chips Chef's Signature Gressingham Duck Plum Sauce & Spring Onion

A couple of months ago I was reading an article about weird flavours of crisps, and it mentioned these. At the time I was rather sorry I had never seen them. but guess what (you've probably worked this out for yourself already); here they are.

The packet is a very swanky purple and (and I asked Dutch taste tester if she agreed) the wooden chopping board shown does actually feel faintly wooden. Amazing attention to detail or what? And the duck, spring onion and plum sauce on the chopping board are a different very glossy texture.
Yes it's a Chinese meal in a packet of crisps. Albeit without the pancakes.

We had mixed opinions on this crisp. Tall Elegant taste tester doesn't like spring onions, so they definitely weren't for her, and I confess I thought they were much too spring oniony. With a strong spring onion style aftertaste. However, Tall taste tester was very keen indeed and asked to take the leftovers home with him.

Not a bad crisp with a good crunch but in my opinion any taste of duck is overpowered by the plum (quite sweet) and the spring onions. They do taste a little bit meaty but Tech taste tester, a big fan of  meaty crisps, was not able to pick the taste and wondered if it were lamb. This is a shame as Gressingham ducks are famous.
The packet has a sticky label on it so you can stick the packet shut. A good idea if you are embarking on this 150g packet on your own, and a fun design too as the sticky label is disguised as the Chef's apron. If you peel the sticky label off, the Chef is no longer wearing an apron. Nice design. But as you can see, the little guy throwing his rubbish away responsibly is just the generic design; nothing special.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

M&S Christmas Belgian Dark Chocolate & Ginger Popcorn

A belated Happy New Year crispy snack fans.

I've not been so well since the New Year so didn't feel up to much snacking. But luckily I am up and about again and was at work today when Noble Friend came back from Marks & Spencer in triumph with this packet of Belgian dark chocolate and ginger popcorn.

Now, I am not crazy for ginger. I don't even much care for ginger nuts and certainly don't want any truck with crystallised ginger. Ugh. So imagine my surprise when I tried Noble Friend's discovery, and found it rather good.

The label tells me that the popcorn is coated in toffee with ginger, and then hand drizzled with the chocolate. It's a very nice mixture. Most of the reluctant taste testers were happy to graze gently and even the highly discerning Architectural taste tester was pleased to approve. Interestingly though, Slightly Red Haired Bristolian told me she wasn't mad keen; even though she loves ginger. It just goes to show that you cannot predict how anyone will react.

The packaging is a simple plastic bag with only a little card tag to identify the product. But of course the clear plastic allows the pretty popcorn with its drizzle of dark chocolate to shine through.

Tastier than I was expecting, quite nicely popped corn too, and probably not available for very much longer as it it part of the Christmas 2016 range.