Tuesday 31 October 2017

M&S Turkey Feast Hand Cooked Crisps

5% of the price of this little packet of crisps goes to housing charity Shelter. Crisps without guilt.
You can see the packet says roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry, potato crisps with parsnip & carrot crisps, don't worry we haven't included the sprouts!  Oddly I find the older I get the more I like sprouts. And this year I have seen a number of sprout christmas tree decorations. The year of the sprout? Perhaps. But not here.

We weren't quite sure about the parsnip and carrot crisps but the turkey flavoured potato crisps were certainly very turkey tasting. 

Turkey usually works very well as a crisp flavour but seems to be available only around Christmas time. And presumably Thanksgiving too.

Sunday 29 October 2017

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps Lamb & Mint

I'm not a terrific fan of meaty flavoured crisps. I think both Tech taste tester and Slightly Red-Haired Bristolian are much bigger fans of the meat than me. But I'm not certain that any of us is mad for lamb as a crisp flavour.
Don't get me wrong. I love roast lamb and rack of lamb and lamb burgers. It's just that I feel lamb should be lamb. Noble Friend of course doesn't eat lamb at all because she finds lambs too cute to eat. If I used cute as a reason not to eat things I'd be stuck on a potato only diet. But hey! at least that would include crisps.

These crisps actually do taste of lamb and mint. Although chiefly mint. Interesting.
I'm still finding the slightly chewy texture of these Welsh crisps from Scotland a little bit wrong for my taste.

Friday 27 October 2017

Ardens Swirls Garlic & Parsley

These little pastry swirls are very tasty!
Extraordinarily tasty says the little box, layers of puff pastry entwined with garlic and parsley, dare to be different. 

Well, I definitely plan to be different if that includes eating this tasty crispy snack. Not perhaps quite as crispy as I would like but I think the taste makes up for that. Yum! Of course if they were ultra crispy and I was offered them at, say, a cocktail party (because obviously as a celebrity food writer I go to loads of swanky parties), I would for sure drop a mass of crumbs down my frock. So perhaps not so crispy is the way to go.

Are you a fan of Chicken Kiev? I am. The buttery filling is made with garlic and parsley. Something that didn't occur to me when I decided to buy this little packet. But as soon as you try, the flavour is obvious. I think it works well. And the Chef says "mmmnn..."

I bought this on special at Waitrose High Street Ken. Using one of their friendly self service tills that don't expect you to be right-handed and don't lecture you on where to put your shopping bag.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Lay's Gourmet Jambon de Pays Très Croustillant

My interest in all sorts of fancy crisp flavours was damaged some years ago by a disgusting ham flavoured crisp. So I am always dubious. But this here Jambon de Pays (country ham) flavour is pretty impressive. Maybe they are made from a better quality ham?

Nice crisps, quite crunchy, good (although quite salty) ham taste. Cliffs of Moher taste tester (she's also new) thought this crisp was pretty amazing. And I gather she is a connoisseur of Irish crisps. Apparently there's a big difference between Irish crisps and Northern Irish crisps which, she tells me, I have yet to experience.

The Chef and I tried Lay's Gourmet Nature when we were in France last month and thought extremely highly of them, so Lay's Gourmet is obviously a brand to look out for. In France though.

Sunday 22 October 2017

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps Cheddar & Onion

Well this cheddar & onion crisp is basically a cheese & onion crisp. And very cheesy with it. Quite nice.
But you know, I'm still not convinced at the thicker than many style of these crisps. And I don't think the reluctant taste testers are either. Which is a shame. But there you are.

Friday 20 October 2017

M&S Fizz & Sparkle Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Champagne Hand Cooked Crisps

Yes, you've guessed, Marks and Spencer are at it again with their bonkers Christmas crisps. Already? Yes, already.

And do they taste of smoked salmon, you cry? Well, the aroma is a pretty realistic smoked salmon. I was quite surprised. The list of ingredients includes dried smoked salmon, which is reasonable, but also dried cod; to up the fishiness I suppose.

A plethora of milk products simulate the cream cheese, and then there's the champagne. I know. Why do they do that? I haven't found anyone who appreciates or wants the crazy fake fizziness you get with added sodium bicarbonate.  But of course dried champagne (yes, really) doesn't fizz so it needs a bit of help.

And then there's the glitter....

Well, I don't know. Tall taste tester said no, by which I think he meant he wasn't proposing to have more than one, and Irish taste tester rashly tried a crisp for the fist time "interesting" she said, and none of the other taste testers would admit to liking these crisps, but quite a lot of them got eaten.

The thing is, these crisps don't taste of smoked salmon at all. It's more cheesy than anything pointed out Jam Maker taste tester (she's new, but a crisp fan). Interesting indeed. And a fancy gold packet.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Nongshim Sweet Potato Snack

Another offering from Tall Elegant taste tester, this bag of rather sweet crispy snacks came from the local Japanese shop.

The shape is a bit odd: I thought rails (from your crispy snack model railway) but Tech taste tester thought perhaps dentures? Whatever, they are a species of extruded crispy snack in a faux chip (French fry) shape but with added texture. And a shiny glaze. And added black sesame seeds chucked on for good measure.

I think most of the reluctant taste testers quite liked this crispy snack. But there's no denying it is a bit weird. So sweet it's like a breakfast cereal in disguise. I honestly quite liked the flavour although I couldn't work out what the flavour actually is; we couldn't detect any sweet potato (and who knew you could get white sweet potatoes?), and somehow none of us could eat very many.

I think the sweetness makes it a bit too weird for the London palate but you never can tell and I am sure there'll be someone out there, probably a Korean someone, who will be thrilled to find them for sale in North London.
not sure about the super relaxed sweet potato on the packet...

Saturday 14 October 2017

Daylesford Organic Apple

Eat to be healthy; just slow dried organic apple and nothing else; no added sugar, low fat, high fibre. All from Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire. Says the front of the packet.

These little chunks of organic dried apple were advertised as coming from Gloucestershire. But it seems they come from Austria/Hungary. What? The Austrian-Hungarian Empire? Are the apples exported from Gloucestershire to the Empire, or are these secretly Austrian/Hungarian apples? And then the packet says produced in Spain. It's all surpringly opaque and weird.

And I am sorry to report that the dried apple itself, while actually tasting of apple, has the consistency of foam board. Or how foam board looks as though it would feel if you bit into it. The reluctant taste testers were not madly impressed.

Not as nice as I had hoped, and not as English as I had expected. And very difficult to get into the packet without scissors. I bought this packet in Harrods Food Hall because I wanted a healthy snack to eat on the way home. I went without.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Nongshim Shrimp Flavoured Cracker Hot & Spicy

This Korean crispy snack came from the local Japanese shop and arrived in the office along with Tall Elegant taste tester's salmon and avocado sushi lunch.
The snack is in the form of ridged faux chips (French fries) rather than crackers (bit of a surprise that) and smelled very strongly fishy. So I'm afraid I must report I failed to try.

Tall Elegant taste tester seemed to eat quite a lot of the packet for her crunch at lunch, but then announced it wasn't very nice. She put a bowlful in the kitchen but I'm not sure there were any takers. Well, you never know until you try.

Monday 9 October 2017

Lay's TV Paka O Smaku Fromage

Bafflingly this large packet of Lay's crisps from the local Turkish shop comes from Poland. Extra baffling the flavour is "fromage".... or is it? No; it really isn't.
Fromage is French for cheese and the word conjures up thoughts of Cheddar although of course there are hundreds of different cheeses to choose from.  But this crisp flavour is actually smietankowego serka ze szczypiorkiem which means cream cheese with chives. At one point the translation was sour cream so it could be either I suppose. That's very misleading calling the smaku fromage.
Luckily for me modern technology has provided google translate to assist me with the impenetrable Polish language (sorry Poland, but do admit any word that starts szczyp is going to utterly baffle the average English speaker), and the slightly less techy image of a cream cheese/sour cream with chives dip on the packet.

Really quite nice. Gently herby (no, not sure I can work out which word to translate in search of the herb) and gently creamy. It's a little bit very gentle cheese and onion. The reluctant taste testers ate quite a lot of the fine cut crisps.

Sadly the crisps were quite broken. This does not of course affect the taste, but it's always a shame when the second helping from a big bag is mostly broken bits. And I did feel a bit cheated that the large packet to eat in front of the TV ( I hope with friends) was only ⅓ full.

Friday 6 October 2017

Sea Chips Hand Crafted Salmon Skin Crisps Salt & Vinegar

Salmon Skin Crisps? Gasp! Who thought of that? Well, apparently some people called Sea Chips (established 2016) did. They have a website, and an Instagram account and they want you to know it's all about saving waste (because most people throw the skin of the salmon away),  and eating yummy stuff.
Apparently fish skin snacks are big in Eastern cultures where perfectly ordinary people think it's a perfectly ordinary food (possibly even a food group?), so why could it not be a success here? I gather they're great with beer and dips. Sounds promising doesn't it, even though you never thought of it before?

But there is major obstacle in my way here: I don't eat fish. I was in a very fancy restaurant in France recently and the amuse bouche was a little shot glass of sea food. So I thought, OK, I've said for years I don't like seafood so naturally I never order it; now's my chance to prove myself wrong. Because almost everyone I know loves seafood and sushi and fish and chips and they all think I'm a bit odd. Could it be that I am wrong?

No. I'm not wrong. My tastebuds tell me seafood is horrible. And why is it so chewy? I tried. Honest.

However, I am pretty sure all the rest of the reluctant taste testers eat fish enthusiastically. In fact I know that Dutch taste tester, who has left us forever in search of a shorter commute, will be sorry not to have the opportunity to comment. Being Dutch she is accustomed to eating a lot of stuff that I think is weird and I would have valued her opinion.  Well, we'll have to manage without her and if she wants to join in she needs to visit Harrods Food Hall which is where I discovered this interesting snack.

And so.... well, Senior taste tester was not impressed, and Tall Elegant taste tester really didn't like them despite making very positive noises at the concept. Tech taste tester, however, said he quite liked them. "It's sort of like fish scratchings" he said, "I quite like them." I wish I could report a more enthusiastic response but truthfully this very fishy crispy snack was not really for us and certainly not for me.

Of course we failed to try this extremely fishy snack with a dip. Or with a beer.

A shame Still a Student taste tester has gone back to uni, because she's a pescatarian.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Walkers Sensations Japanese Sweet Wasabi & Ginger

This packet was donated by Senior taste tester who found it in the local branch of Waitrose and ate the contents gradually over the space of a week or so and then donated the rest to the traditional bowl in the kitchen so the rest of the taste testers to try.
It probably has not escaped your notice that I'm really not mad for wasabi. People tell me I should like it because it tastes very like horse radish... but I've never liked that either. No nor mustard neither. And as for that nasty mixture my mother was so fond of, Tewkesbury Mustard, which is a mix of horseradish and mustard... well need I say more. In the olden days you couldn't even buy it outside Tewkesbury which is in darkest Gloucestershire at the confluence of the Avon and the Severn and consequently subject to frequent flooding.

Anyway, Senior taste tester said he liked them and ate quite a few. I wasn't sure. There's a big hit of heat when you crunch into the first crisp but that quickly dissipates and the flavour becomes less strong. Slightly Red-Haired Bristolian, like me, was not that taken with these crisps but I notice that  fair number were snacked up before I left to go home. Which I do at 2 these days.

Unlike some so-called wasabi flavoured crisps, this do actually contain wasabi powder rather than horse radish. And mustard too. So; full of ingredients I don't like! not for me then. However, the scent of the crisps coming out of the bag is quite pleasant.

The packet says first the bite of sweet wasabi and soy, then the zing of tangy onion, finishing with a warmth of ginger. As I said: not really for me, and I think these subtleties passed me by.

If you are a wasabi fan I daresay you will enjoy these quite a lot.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Vico Curly Donuts Cacahuète Caramélisée Sucrée-Salée

Nouveau screams the packet on a bright blue swoosh. Yes, and I wonder if this crispy snack isn't a little bit too nouveau for its own good.
The "donuts" are crispy maize puffs; somewhat bigger than I was expecting, not as big as you might suppose from the picture on the packet, but the bowl I put them in is quite large. It's a bit odd, pairing the maize puffs with the sweet & salty peanut flavour (even though obviously I do remember Sugar Puffs which were as sweet as sweet as can be) I thought, and Slightly Red-Haired Bristolian agreed, that this crispy snack is crying out for the bright orange flavour dust of a Cheesy Wotsit or a Cheeto.

Not that the peanut flavour isn't tasty. It is tasty but in a slightly complicated sweet and salty way. It's only that I'm not sure the combination of the taste and the texture works as well as it might. The reluctant taste testers agreed and didn't scoff the lot before lunchtime.

Un biscuit soufflé a la forme fun & gourmande de donut enrobé de veritables cacahuètes caramelisées concassées pour un plaisir sucré-salé inédit.... On n'en fait qu'une bouchée!
You might not know that fun is a well known French word, and it seems donut may be too.

You can find curly.fr on YouTube. Tu as l'internet? Bonne nouvelle, connecte-toi et viens nous retrouver sur: curly.fr.
In case you had not grasped; cacahuète means peanut. So peanut, caramel and sweet & salty flavours all at once. A little bit mad but not as mad as I was expecting.