Thursday 30 November 2017

Ardens Bites Goats Cheese & Black Pepper

Wow! Pepper pepper pepper. Very peppery indeed. I suppose because everything is chock full of chilli these days, people tend to forget that plain old fashioned  black pepper is really quite hot too, very hot if you use enough. White pepper too.

I was interested to try a goats cheese flavoured crispy snack, but I think I'm going to be disappointed. I don't think I can taste any goats cheese. And interestingly mystery "cheeses" are on the list of ingredients before goats cheese. There's also dried lovage which is unusual (and lucky thing I didn't know before I ate them because lovage tastes of celery and I don't eat celery), and poppy seed (scattered on the top), plus some ingredients I'd sooner not see like glucose syrup and palm oil.

Oven baked pastry nibbles; a lovely crunchy crispy snack with hardly any breakages. Very nice. But undeniably peppery.

Although you do get used to the pepper, the more you eat the less the pepperiness. Nice though. The Chef and I ate them all between us. The reluctant taste testers didn't get a look in.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

TGI Fridays Jalapeño Poppers Cheddar Cheese

Who knew TGI Fridays made crispy snacks? Actually I did. We tried TGI Fridays Potato Skins back in February of this year. But that was shortly before I got ill so perhaps I have an excuse for not really remembering. And apparently Mr Tesco knows too because that's where I found this packet of cheesy chilli crispy snacks.
I'm not sure I would describe this crispy snack as "snack sticks" as the packet does, but they are pretty tasty. Very chilli if that's a thing and with a great texture. Quite nice, the reluctant taste testers and I thought.

I notice these are called Jalapeño Poppers, and then in a different place on the packet Cheddar Cheese. I wonder if there are Jalapeño Poppers... some other flavours? Interesting.
Anyway, definitely worth a try if you spot them in a shop - or perhaps they sell them in branches of TGI Fridays. I don't know. I haven't been in one since ....erm... 1993. 

How can you remember these things, you cry? Well, it was the first time I visited Dear Friend in Buffalo and back then I wasn't supposed to eat/drink citrus fruits but I had a cocktail which I think involved orange juice, cream, and vodka. Does that sound right? No idea what we ate. Possibly due to the vodka. But I do not remember any crispy snack. 

Not bad.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Kettle Discoveries press ad

Well, I missed the opportunity to check out Kettles Discoveries at Taste of London, but I do have this advertisement alerting me to the new (not sure how new) packaging and some interesting crisp flavours.

The reluctant taste testers and I have tried the Gressingham Duck crisps which used to be called Chef's Signature. I see we tried them in January of this year. I thought it was longer ago than that. Memory can play tricks on you can't it.

And the Yorkshire Wensleydale crisps too (also previously Chef's Signature). That was in August this year. But they've both been rebranded obviously quite recently. Hmm.

However, I haven't seen the New York Deli flavour... and you can bet I long to find the Salted Caramel and Double Cream. Can't quite decide if they are going to be really amazing or quite the reverse. Apparently we just can't get enough of salted caramel as a flavour and it has invaded everything. Salted caramel chocolate (obviously), salted caramel tea, salted caramel vodka, salted caramel mousse, salted caramel cupcakes, salted caramel sauce .... and now salted caramel crisps. Here's hoping I can find some eh?

I do hope I can find a packet. Might trip over the New York Deli with Pastrami & Dill Pickle too. You never know.

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ardens Twists Gruyère & Spinach

According to the back of the packet, the people at Ardens found a similar crispy snack on a trip to Switzerland; possibly Gruyère, which after all was a place before it became a cheese. There's a socking great castle for a start and I have long wanted to visit it. But do take care when looking for it online. I searched Gruyère and got images of the Château de Gruyère ✅, Schloss Thun❎, the Château de Chillon❎, and a bridge in Lucerne❌. At least the first three are castles.

These are quite big, quite twisty twists, not too chunky, quite crispy and with an intriguing ribbon of green in the twist. That'll be the spinach then.

And I was pleased to see that although there were a few breakages most of the twists were still as long as the makers intended. I know it affects the taste not at all, but any snack works better without too many broken bits.

The Chef and I tried a few. We both thought they tasted a little green (which isn't nasty but isn't a top compliment) so I took most of the packet in to work for the reluctant taste testers to try. A great success! The reluctant taste testers liked them much more than I did and the bowlful didn't last long. Which just goes to show you shouldn't necessarily rely on one person's opinion.

Tall taste tester snagged another twist as he walked past, "Nice," he said briefly.

Sunday 19 November 2017

M&S Lightly Salted Tortillas

Made from an authentic corn 'masa' to bring you a true taste of Mexico says the packet.

Managerial taste tester, who does not often contribute to this blog, bought these tortillas for his #crunchatlunch and almost at once complained that he had bought just about the most boring crisps in the world. And then ate about ¾ of the 175g packet in one fell swoop. I must say, he has a highly professional crunch.

This certainly is a crunchy tortilla. I find the tortilla crunch can sometimes be a little dull. The taste here is a little dull but not nasty by any means... it's just not that exciting. I'm sure they would be nice with a dip, and of course probably good for anyone on a low salt diet. Also great for a gluten free diet.

Friday 17 November 2017

Merry Pringles! 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar

Red-Haired Bristolian read about this crispy advent calendar in the Bristol news on her Facebook feed. I looked it up and found you can buy your Pringles advent calendar at a shop called B&M. I had never heard of B&M before (I live in the wrong place really), but by taking two buses I could acquire one of these.

And you can imagine I was really keen to try.

But. But it has only 12 days/doors. What kind of advent calendar is that? Usually they have 24 doors, sometimes 25. But 12? I didn't set out to write a blog on comparative religious practices but it does seem that someone has muddled the 12 days of Christmas ( you know: 🎶on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 🎶) with the tradition of the advent calendar. So not that impressed.

And extra not impressed: you only get 4 different flavours of Pringle. Apparently there are 34 flavours in America (although I read that on a website and it isn't clear whether America means the USA or includes Canada or South America or what), and I know that without even trying I have sampled 5 different European flavours, so why restrict the calendar to a mere 4 flavours?

Original, Sour Cream and Onion, Salt & Vinegar, and Texas BBQ Sauce. Hmmm. Not super Christmassy flavours. 40g tubs eh? Just like you can buy at your local petrol station or corner shop.

Last year the reluctant taste testers tried a Pigs in Blankets flavour Pringle (pigs in blankets in the UK means little cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon which people buy - or make - to go with their Christmas turkey). Which obviously qualifies this as a Christmassy flavour. But this is not included.

With 4 classic flavours, the countdown to Christmas has never been this exciting! 

What a shame Pringles couldn't be a little more imaginative. What a lot of kudos they would have got for including el weirdo flavours we don't usually get the opportunity to try here in the U.K. What a great Christmas present that would have been for us all.

I read online that these advent calendars are flying off the shelves. Which is great. Maybe Pringles will bring them back next year with more Christmassy flavours, and maybe more doors. That would be very exciting.

And if you're a fan of advent calendars you may like this article from The Guardian on the ridiculous rise of luxury advent calendars...  or perhaps 2017's best advent calendars? Get yours while you can!

Wednesday 15 November 2017

M&S Spirit of Summer Paprika Hand Cooked Crisps

Used to be you could only buy paprika flavoured crisps in mainland Europe where paprika is a popular flavour. I've written a few posts on Euro crisps (especially Zweifel Paprika crisps found only in Switzerland) but I'd never seen them here.

Until I found The Real McCoy's Ridge Cut Paprika crisps when we went to Avebury two years ago.

And now here's this very nice crisp from Marks & Spencer. You probably know that crisp manufacturers routinely use paprika for colour and M&S haven't scrimped on the colour here; this crisp really is a lovely paprika red.

The reluctant taste testers really approved of this crisp. I think all of them went out of their way to tell me how much they enjoyed it. A lot. Which is quite unusual. And I think they would have eaten a second or even a third bowlful only I felt obliged to take half the packet home for the Chef to try. He gets grumpy if the reluctant taste testers eat a whole packet of really good crisps.

This is a very tasty crisp. I hope M&S keep it on next year as I'm sure it would be popular.

Thursday 9 November 2017

M&S Bloody Mary Hand Cooked Red Crisps

Wow these crisps are red. Impressively red. And the packet (the back of the packet) is fabulously rich red metallic. Very handsome indeed. Pity the front of the packet is a little more regular.

I thought these crisps were a bit vinegary, but the Chef thought spicy. And I must say I could not detect any bloody maryness about the flavour and I'm not sure any of the reluctant taste testers could either. However, I see the ingredients actually do include both tomatoes and vodka. And of course the spuds are Highland Burgundy Red potatoes.

On the back of the packet the crisps are labelled tomato, Worcester sauce and vodka flavoured. No wonder the reluctant taste testers were picking Worcester sauce as the main flavour.

Quite unusual, and not bad, but not really very bloody mary. Possibly a could do better.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Ardens Melts Cream Cheese & Spring Onion

You know those savoury little choux pastry buns that you get at fancy parties? These crispy bites are a little bit like that, with a real taste of choux pastry even though that's not crispy.

The filling is a wonderfully soft squidgy mix of cream cheese and not too much spring onion. Which can be a bit harsh. You could shove a whole one into your mouth without taking a bite at all, but I thought two bites was more ladylike. Still, I could probably manage not to drop too manycrumbs down my front.

I really enjoyed these and probably are more than my fair share. I discovered Tech taste tester has invested in a packet (currently they're on special at Waitrose) and was tucking in. He told me, somewhat dubiously I thought, that he was still eating them so he must like them.

Now, I did enjoy this crispy snack but I didn't manage to work out which bit was the melt.

Very nice.

Sunday 5 November 2017

Pret a Manger Smoked Chipotle

I bought this little packet of crisps when I went to St Paul's Cathedral the other day to see pre-blog friend (which is to say I suddenly have to invent a taste tester name for her) India Traveller and her sweet little daughter who at 6 months is very chatty even if there aren't any actual words involved.

I hadn't seen this flavour from Pret before but the woman behind the cash desk obviously thought I was mad when I asked if it was new. It seems they've had it since last year. Hmmm. But I usually only visit the Luton Airport Pret and I haven't flown from there for a while.

Very dark red crisps, lots of chilli aroma and an extremely nice chilli taste. Not too hot, a bit of a kick but somehow just right. I think all the taste testers approved. Jam Maker and Cliffs of Moher taste testers thought them pretty well prefect.

Not bad eh? Fun packet design too.

Friday 3 November 2017

Casino Chips Campagnardes

Produits de qualite depuis 1901 says the packet. And so I assume that the Casino supermarket brand began in 1901. It's hard to find any information about it in English because of the vast number of online casinos that cluttered up my every search. I have been to an enormous Geant Casino shop somewhere near Saint Tropez in the South of France which was impressively huge, but I think this packet of crisps came from a small store in Pierrefonds.

Interestingly campagnard translates (thank you google) as countryman, campagnarde as countrywoman, and compagnardes as rustic. So now we know. This is a packet of rustic crisps. But what makes these simple sunflower oil and salt potato crisps rustic? I should have thought rustic crisps wouldn't be crinkle cut. But there you are.
Although Tall taste tester opined that these crisps are never going to set the world on fire we did seem to eat quite a lot of them. Pleasantly crunchy, lightly salty, really quite nice. And I didn't read the back of the packet so I didn't realise I should have heated them up. But we only have a microwave in th office and Casino don't recommend a micro; you've got to use an oven.