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 snacks. 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 newspapers. 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.

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