Saturday 30 December 2017

Tesco Finest Strawberry & Dark Chocolate Popcorn with a Kick of Black Pepper

Good Heavens! I nearly forgot to write up this strawberry and dark chocolate popcorn. And now all I have left is the empty packet. However, before the packet was empty you could see the popcorn through  a clear circle in the front of the packet.

What did I think? Not bad. Not totally to my taste; I like the chocolate and the pepper but I wasn't so sure about the strawberry; but the popcorn is good. Not spoiled with loads of sharp corn skin. You know? When the popcorn hasn't popped properly and hasn't all gone wonderfully fluffy and light. You'd be surprised how much popcorn the reluctant taste testers and I have tried that had far too many nasty sharp bits.

I think some of the reluctant taste testers were quite taken with this popcorn, and the Chef seems to have been keen too. I always try to bring some of the crispy snack home for him to try. Sometimes the remains get eaten, sometimes not, and in this case all I have left is an empty packet. I asked what he thought? "It was good, tasty", he tells me. "Some bits had too much chocolate on. But that's just a moan."
So a minor moan there, but no popcorn left. And seriously though: too much chocolate? I never heard the Chef complain about that before. I think a very picky Chef managed to finish this popcorn with hand-drizzled Belgian dark chocolate despite his niggly complaint.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Yorkshire Crisps Luxury Handcooked Crisps Roast Lamb & Mint

Well, Noble Friend's Antique Dealer friend (who has never met me or any of the other reluctant taste testers) went to Harrogate. And having been present at so many of Noble Friend's mad crisp buying excursions was inspired to buy us a tub of Yorkshire Crisps. And that was awfully kind.

I was thrilled because I've tried a load of Yorkshire Crisp flavours and they've almost all been great. Some but not all have made it through to the reluctant taste testers but we've had a bit of a cast change recently (like when Miss Ellie on Dallas was suddenly acted by someone else) so not everyone remembers. And perhaps they won't want to.

Because we think this is a dire crisp flavour. Oh dear. Yorkshire Crisps Chardonnay Wine Vinegar for example we thought was a great crisp. And the Lightly Salted? Pretty damned fabulous, I mean a seriously great crisp; a world class crisp. So what happened here?

Oh dear. Not nice.

Nasty and greasy. And I don't think there was a flaw in the packaging which seemed properly sealed. Nobody liked this crisp. So we threw them all away.

That's a shame. Sorry chaps.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Tesco Finest Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Another Sea Salt and Black Pepper crisp. It's a good simple flavour, invented relatively recently but none the worse for that, and this is a pretty good example. Salt. And black pepper. A combo that usually works very well.

Not complicated but tasty. I'm sure this particular version would work brilliantly with a sour cream and chive dip (or any other dip for that matter). And I reckon you could probably heat it in the oven as an accompaniment to a turkey and stuffing sandwich.  We don't have turkey, but it would work well with chicken and bread sauce I'm sure.

Sea salt and black pepper crisps and brussels sprouts sandwich? Could be.

Give it a try. Go on. You know you want to.

Sunday 24 December 2017

Tesco Cheese Puffs

The reluctant taste testers and I have tried several versions of this popular cheesy snack now, and I was interested to see how Tesco managed it. 

We've tried Essential Waitrose Cheese Puffs which it seems I rather liked. But do beware. For some reason this product contains wheat flour so not suitable for anyone avoiding gluten or (of course) wheat. We've also tried the Marks & Spencer version Full on Flavour Cheese Tasters which are superb. 

And then, of course, there's the original Cheesy Wotsits. Only they aren't original any more. It really isn't the same when a snack you used to love changed from fried to baked. Sigh. Healthier perhaps, but nothing like so tasty as I remember. Sigh again. I'm not even going to think about Cheetos.

But we mustn't forget the fabulous Kims Ostepops brought back from Scandinavia by the late lamented History Graduate taste tester, No, he's not dead (phew!), just moved on to a different job with a well-known film production company.

So what did we think of these Cheese Puffs? Quite nice I thought. Good texture, good lot of flavour dust. Discerning Architectural taste tester told me she didn't like this style of snack because she doesn't like the orange flavour dust on her fingers; Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was astonished. That's the best bit, she said, the ones at the bottom of the packet have more flavour dust and are the best... and then there's the licking of the finger and poking it into the corner of the packet. Fancy not liking that! And what's more Tall Elegant taste tester agreed.

The flavour here is a little bit "dairy" I thought. A bit buttery. But OK none the worse for that really, and after a couple of puffs the flavour is pretty good. Quite tasty altogether. But there are many good contenders in this crispy snack section. If possible I think I would go for the M&S version or the Ostepops if I could. But don't think I'm turning up my nose at the Tesco version.

I brought some home and the Chef seems to have enjoyed them.

Friday 22 December 2017

Tesco Soy Broad Beans

A slightly odd crispy snack here, or maybe more of a nutty snack. It's a Tesco take on a Spanish broad bean snack. Which is more like a bag of nuts than a packet of potato crisps. As Senior taste tester said grumpily, "This isn't a crisp".  He's right there.

I think Noble Friend brought in a Spanish version of this Spanish broad bean snack at some stage - which I didn't like. And now she has excitedly contributed the Tesco version. Which I didn't like much either.

But that's just me. Lots of people holiday in Spain, have holiday homes in Spain, visit friends and relations who live in Spain and probably they've all learned to love this typical Spanish snack. I've only been to Mallorca with a boyfriend I dumped immediately after (or did he dump me?) and I didn't really take to all things Spanish. I mean, I don't eat fish and the only typically Mallorcan thing I was shown was a sardine festival and a Catalan dictionary. What do you think?

Anyway, turns out that some of the reluctant taste testers were quite taken with this snack, especially Tech taste tester who I gather ate quite a lot of these tasty slices of broad bean.

Actually I'm not mad for broad beans anyway so possibly I'm not the best person to ask about this snack. I did quite like the taste but not the texture. Noble Friend was baffled when I said I thought it too hard.

And we all thought that Soy Broad Beans was NOT a good name. Would it tempt you? You don't have a friend who loves going to Spain and speaks Spanish and waves a little packet at you "look what I found at Tesco!" to encourage you to try... maybe you wouldn't make the attempt.

Judging from what the reluctant taste testers had to say I think this snack could be a success... with a better name.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Tesco Finest Gouda & Edam Crispies

When I went to Tesco the other day I could not resist picking up this little cardboard box of Gouda & Edam  Crispies. It is pretty obvious to me that this is a blatant copy of the totally fabulous ROKA Cheese Crispies from the Netherlands.

Now I am completely addicted to the utterly fabulous ROKA Cheese Crispies; my very favourite crispy snack in the universe (EVER), and the very first I can remember eating. There, are I know, photographs of me eating very fine cut potato chips (we called them chipples) aged about 3. But you can't see them because (a) I don't actually remember the incident, (b) I was a fat little girl and the photographs aren't flattering, but (c) I do remember eating ROKA Cheese Crispies when I was 4.
Anyway, I was interested to see how Tesco got on.  Pretty good. The packaging isn't as good as it might be but this is a sturdier snack than the one it strikes to emulate.

Not really a crispie (don't think rice crispy because that's quite a different thing) but nonetheless this is a very nice crispy snack. Cheesy, tasty. Definitely worth the try.

Monday 18 December 2017

Tesco Cheese Savouries

I bought this 250g packet of little cheesy biscuits because I thought they might be a simple crispy snack. And I was right. Not too cheesy, not so salty, quite tiny really (hence a little difficult to pick up) and almost dull.

Having said that, the dullness masks an incredible addictive quality in these little biscuitty snacks. You just can't stop eating them. Not sure why exactly but the reluctant taste testers and I often find the "duller" tasting snacks are the ones we like best in the long run.

So seven or more shapes; basically little biscuits not tasting of much? That's right. But very nice. Apparently dull is good.... I'd buy these again.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps Spicy Chilli

A final outing for the Taylors range of crisps brought for me and the reluctant taste testers from Wales. Photographed here with the triceratops that came over the office fence the other day. It seemed a shame to waste it.
I'm not sure. I am never sure about chilli as a crisp flavour. Although, at least this isn't a sweet chilli flavour crisp.

I really haven't been convinced that these Taylors Welsh Crisps are up to scratch. The texture has not impressed the reluctant taste testers and me, and the flavours; probably could do better. 

Very sorry but we weren't that enamoured of these crisps. I feel bad about giving such a bad review but cannot lie.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps Sea Salt

I haven't really enjoyed many of the six flavours of Taylors Welsh potato crisps. For some reason the flavours didn't appeal to me and the texture was all wrong. It has been very disappointing.

But this sea salt flavour was pretty good. Funny how often my favourites turn out to be the simple flavours. I can't think that the texture of this packet of crisps can be any different to the texture of the other flavours (because I'm sure they must all be made the same way), but it seems to be more to my taste.

Very odd. It really doesn't make any sense. Let's just accept that I thought these plain seat flavour crisps quite good. And I think the reluctant taste testers were of the same opinion.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Vending Machine in Florence

I took this photograph back in March just before I became seriously ill, so perhaps not unnaturally I completely forgot all about it.  We were in Florence which is always lovely even when the weather isn't tip top, and visited the Bardini Gardens which we like for the lovely views over the city. Built on the side of a cliff... but we spend a lot of time in Switzerland so we think why not? They have lots of daffodils, and apple blossom. Altogether it shouldn't feel at all Italian but it does.

I know everyone goes on about the Boboli Gardens but I find them a bit soulless; too much gravel and not enough planting. Anyway, if you visit the loos at the Bardini there's a vending machine. If I'd have been feeling stronger I'd have searched for some Euros and bought a packet of Paquita Crock Canyon or Grigliata. Both apparently from a company called Pata

So annoying. Because I've never seen these crisps anywhere else. We'll just have to go back I suppose. How dreadful. Florence again eh? I do live a hard life.
This is the Chef and me in the Giardini Bardini looking out at the skyline of Florence.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Royal Cashews Hot Pepper Cassava Chips

Tall Elegant taste tester went to Sri Lanka (she saw leopards!) and slightly dubiously brought this packet of cassava chips home for the reluctant taste testers and me.

Cassava is what tapioca (frogspawn of old fashion school meal fame) is made of. These crisps look nothing like tapioca. And it's a wonder that cassava is a major food staple crop because it's full of cyanide and can kill if not prepared correctly. What you do to the roots to get rid of the cyanide I don't know.

We think perhaps the packaging was not as airtight as it should have been because these crisps were a bit stale. And thus not as nice as they might have been. But we were surprised that they seem quite indistinguishable from ordinary potato crisps.

Quite interesting and definitely worth a try if you happen to be in the country of origin.

Thursday 7 December 2017

Tesco Finest Limited Edition Candy Cane Hand Cooked Potato Crisps

Candy Cane flavour crisps? What does that mean? Well, to people of my generation candy canes were things we only saw in Tom & Jerry cartoons (The Night Before Christmas probably features candy canes) and maybe fancy sweetie shops if you were lucky. These days you can buy them all over the place; I saw some in John Lewis the other day, but I've never owned or tried one. So I can only suppose they are mint flavoured.

So this is a mint flavoured potato crisp. Is it a limited edition to make you want it? No-one wants to suffer FOMO. Or is it a limited edition because Tescos got cold feet and thought it wouldn't sell? I hope not because I see that 100% of profits from the sale of this crisp go to the Trussell Trust which co-ordinates a nationwide network of food banks, and Fareshare which is a charity aimed at reducing food waste and relieving food poverty. Both great causes to support as many people these days struggle to feed their families.

And the crisps? Well by no means as weird as you might think. The mint is quite a delicate flavour and works with the crisps better then you might suppose. Nice crunch too. Give them a try and see what you think.

Tuesday 5 December 2017

TGI Fridays Crunchy Fries Snacks Extreme Heat

I've got to admit I was a little dubious about this packet of crispy chip sticks because the flavour seems to be "extreme heat" and I'm not the world's biggest fan of heat.

But yet again we learn never to judge a packet of crisps by its cover. These are great. At least I thought so. The reluctant taste testers were, I admit, a bit less enthusiastic than I was. And one of them randomly complained that the mix of chilli and cheese flavours was confusing. What? How does that work?

I thought the taste was pleasantly hot, but not too hot, and a little bit cheesy but not too much, and the crunch was crispy and just right. And what could be better than that?

What indeed. Yes, please, I'll have another one.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Tayto Cheese & Onion (Republic of Ireland)

Well now, the reluctant taste testers have tried Tayto crisps before but what I had not appreciated was that the crisps we tried were not the genuine article. At least they were... but they were Tayto as recommended by Tall taste tester who comes from Northern Ireland and were purchased at Tesco and Fortnum & Mason.

This packet of Tayto crisps was kindly purchased in the Republic of Ireland by Cliffs of Moher taste tester, a native of Southern Ireland, possibly even a native of County Clare, which is not at all the same thing as Tayto crisps bought in the UK.

And I gather that your genuine Irish crisps are a vastly superior product.

I'm not sure I'm going to comment on that for fear of causing a rift in Anglo-Irish relations which is possible at any time (and I won't say more than that). However, I am prepared to say that this is a very tasty Cheese & Onion, a very nice finely cut crisp with a light crunch.
Deary me though! Cliffs of Moher taste tester has a lot to learn. Although she put out a bowl of crisps in the kitchen; she threw the packet away before I had the chance to document it. I had to wash off a load of coffee grounds. Pah!
I rather like the little graphic on the back of the packet which I think shows Mr Tayto visiting Tayto Park.