Sunday 29 April 2018

O'Donnells of Tipperary Hand Cooked Crisps Mature Irish Cheese & Red Onion Flavour

What a wonderful crisp this is.

Posted to London by Cliffs of Moher taste tester's mother from darkest Ireland, this packet of crisps arrived at my house, went back to the office and was snacked up quick smart by the reluctant taste testers who were all very enthusiastic.

I see from the packet that this crisp won the Irish Café Quality Food & Drink Awards in 2015 and I'm not surprised. It is always harder to write about a really fabulous product than one you don't like (yes, I know that seems a bit counter intuitive), but what can one say?

Lovely crisps, nice crunch, great flavour. Everyone enjoyed it.

Friday 27 April 2018

Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked Ham & Cranberry

Another ravishing packet design from Tyrrell’s for this interestingly flavoured crisp. Ham as a flavour? Perhaps. But cranberry? That’s a bit unusual isn’t it? And as Slightly Red Haired Bristolian agreed, isn’t this more of a Christmas flavour than March/April?

Actually none of the reluctant taste testers could discern the cranberry flavour. The crisps do have a dusting of cranberry powder, but also (slightly weirdly) blueberry and raspberry powder. Honestly I am not convinced these exciting powders contribute to the flavour... but obviously I haven’t tried without.

This is a tasty crisp. Lots of flavour dust, and richly coloured but somehow not really tasting of ham. I saved this packet until Tech taste tester came back from his energetic holidays. He loves meaty flavoured crisps, as does Slightly Red Haired Bristolian, and both were big fans of this crisp. As were Cliffs of Moher and Tall taste tester. Very popular. Almost all of the great big packet was eaten.

Nothing rouses the senses quite like this blissful marriage of scrumptious roast ham and that most triumphantly tart of fruitlets, the cranberry says the packet. Hmmn..... that sounds good doesn’t it?

Even if I didn’t think the crisps tasted of ham there’s a wonderful hammy aroma from the bag.

Quite unusual. But popular.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Tyrrell’s Hand Cooked Crisps Sea Salt & Vinegar Furrows

Senior taste tester walked all the way down the building to tell me he liked these salt & vinegar crisps. He liked the soft taste. You know how salt & vinegar crisps can have an amazingly harsh flavour? Not this crinkle cut version which has a sweet gentle taste.

This is a very nice take on salt & vinegar. And I like the crinkle cut. I didn’t used to like crinkle cut. So many had far too much flavour or, worse, were too thick cut for my taste. But this is pretty good crisp. The aroma is nice too. The reluctant taste testers tell me so.

Because it wasn’t only Senior taste tester who liked this. This was a large 150g packet, and very nearly all got snacked up. Impressive.

Tyrrell’s have very good packaging design. The packets always look great. But I have a bit of a problem with Tyrrell’s crisps. The flavour is usually fine, but it turns out I often don’t like the crisps. I don’t know why but I don’t. Well they’re a bit too potatoey. You eat a crisp and end up with a bit of potato in your mouth. So there we are.

And this packet tells me I can recycle it. Great! Or does it? I just looked up the “green dot” yin yang style arrow symbol, and it doesn’t mean any such thing. What it means is that the manufacturer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.

I bet hardly any people know what this symbol means. I wish it was a different symbol that meant the packet could actually be recycled but I suspect that won’t happen for a long time. This is not a problem I have with Tyrrell’s. But a problem the country, and indeed the world, has with all (most at any rate) crisp manufactures. You can’t recycle your crispy snack packet and a lot of the rubbish on the side of the road will include crisp packets. It’s time the crisp manufacturers thought about this.

It’s important.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Lorenz Pomsticks Sour Cream flavour

Tech taste tester says he doesn’t like fiddly little crispy snacks it’s hard to pick up. And you can’t deny this is a packet full of very small crispy sticks that are quite hard to pick out of the bowl. Or packet.

Tech taste tester did his best with the shape and ate quite a few because he enjoyed the taste. Because this is a tasty little snack. And then Cliffs of Moher taste tester said she thought they taste of cream of tomato soup. Really? Pretty specific don’t you think? I sampled several little sticks carefully thinking about this strange pronouncement. And decided she’s quite wrong. However, if you are a big fan of cream of tomato soup, don’t let me put you off. Or if you’re not.

I really don’t agree with the cream of tomato soup but I don’t think you get a particularly strong sour cream flavour either. There are herbs involved. Nice light crunch too,

And you know, you do get your money's worth with a packet of little sticks like this. Because they’re so little they can be packed close together without the gaps you get in a packet of larger snacks. I remember eating similarly small chip sticks when I was quite small. And they do suit little fingers. I know these days people choose snacks made especially for very little children (many with very little taste due to the lack of salt) but if that isn’t an issue for you I should think this would be a great choice for slightly older children.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Pringles Food Truck Flavors Cheese Burger

Artificially flavoured it says on the drum.

How odd. And rather off putting don’t you think? I mean, a great many crisp flavours are artificial, containing E numbers, citric acid (which comes with a fancy chemical name if you go looking for it), potassium chloride, disodium guanylate, smoke flavour, and basically all sorts you probably didn’t think you wanted in your food and don’t know what they’re for. So it’s usually best not to read the list of ingredients unless you’ve bought fancy “Hand Cooked” crisps which seem to include things like powdered roast pork which is very nearly a real ingredient. But perhaps the disclaimer is a legal requirement?

Well, however artificial this flavour, it was very popular with the reluctant taste testers. Those who knew what they were testing agreed the flavour is very accurate. Those who didn’t know picked the vinegary gherkin taste, and the sweet mustard. All agreed that the taste was very like the classic McDonald’s cheeseburger. Top marks all round.

Tech taste tester really enjoyed this crispy snack but wondered if they were truly Pringles? He thought they were a little smaller than usual. And I wonder if he isn’t right? Yes, they certainly are Pringles. But I have a rather small mouth. A long time ago my grandmother told me a rosebud mouth - no wider than the width of your nose - was a sign of beauty, but my mouth was too wide (although not by much). She really knew how to make a little girl feel good. Anyhow, I have usually found Pringles too wide for my small mouth. Not in this case.

These days a lot of people seem to have enormously wide mouths: especially all those women in the toothpaste advertisements, so why do these Pringles seem smaller? Maybe they have been ensmallenated.

There was another Food Truck flavour: Kickin' Chicken Taco. I think they were probably limited edition flavours in the first place (2015) but the Cheeseburger flavour has obviously been a great success. I don’t know if the Chicken Taco is still available. And I have no idea why so many flavours these days are “kickin'”. It’s not a word I ever use and honestly I don’t know what it means. So that makes me grumpy. But really, why kickin'?

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Walkers Max Strong Chilli & Lime

I have seen this new style of crisp from Walkers advertised on TV recently so it was a bit of a triumph to find it at Luton airport. Luton has always been a good source of crisps and I hope it continues to be now that the shopping area has expanded so much and got so fancy.

The packet, and indeed the ad, tells me this is a crisp that is perfect with beer. A beer magnet. It also tells me the strength of the chilli has been classified as medium. Really? I thought this was pretty damned hot with a strong hit of chilli and a terrific bite, so I am not perhaps encouraged to try the Hot Chicken Wings (hot) or Jalapeño & Cheese (extra hot) flavours.

And we tried this crisp on a plane and you know your taste buds don’t work so well at altitude.

The Chef thought the taste very hot too. But I confess neither of us attempted to pair this crisp with beer. See? Trying out pairing... and er... failing before we've even begun. Well, the Chef doesn’t drink and I don’t drink beer unless I’m somewhere very very hot like Sydney in a heatwave.

So maybe next time I should try with a beer. The back of the packet says Calling all beer lovers! We've worked with flavour experts to perfectly match Walkers Max Strong with different types of beer. We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to look any further for the perfect crisps for your pint. Walkers Max Strong: a range of ridged crisps in spicy flavours to deliver maximum flavour hit. Hum. They don’t say which beers they’ve chosen do they?

Don’t get carried away with the idea that I didn’t enjoy this crinkle cut crisp. I sort of did in a masochistic kind of way. But I can’t help feeling that without actually admitting to it, Walkers have aimed this range of crisps firmly at, you guessed, men. Because, apparently, men like it spicy.
I confess there are one or two women in the TV ad. But I don’t include a link here because it kept asking me to confirm my age before allowing me a glimpse of something I had already seen on the television. Just like the DIY checkout in the supermarket when you try and buy a bottle of wine. The shop assistant never asks to see my ID; she knows I am old enough to buy alcohol but the computer doesn’t know that. Actually I don’t know why not. It seems to know everything else about me.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Tayto Waffles Bacon (Republic of Ireland)

Cliffs of Moher taste tester went home to see her mum for Easter and watch as much of their new Shetland Seasons 1 - 3 DVD as possible, and she bought a packet of crisps too.

It’s a small, 35g, packet and the waffles are quite big - nicely made though. I was impressed they aren’t all furry and the waffle shape works really well, not blurred and a bit vague. And you get more in the packet than often happens. Very nice.

And the bacon flavour is very true, quite bacony. Nice crunch.

I think most of the reluctant taste testers liked this crispy snack, even Senior taste tester who normally complains if the snack isn’t actually a crisp.

Friday 13 April 2018

Snatt's Mediterraner Snack Knoblauch und Petersilie

Don’t worry about the German name, this is a very tasty garlic and parsley crispy snack. But mysteriously made in Spain by Grefusa S.L.

I confess I wasn’t expecting these biscuitty snacks to be quite so large. Well... not large exactly but rather larger than your average crispy snack. And I think the reluctant taste testers were a little taken aback too. It took them a while to tuck in. But once they started they really enjoyed this mysteriously made in Spain snack.

Jam Maker taste tester was very enthusiastic (lucky thing she enjoyed this snack as she has left us forever to join a well-known London museum so no more crispy snacks for her), and Slightly Red Haired Bristolian loved it too. I agreed with her that it would likely be very nice with a dip but even without I thought it pretty tasty.

I was fascinated that on the packet this snack is described as bread with garlic and parsley. In five different languages. I suppose it is a sort of biscuitty version of garlic bread but I didn’t even think about breadiness until I read the packet. Quite a lot of tasty oil though, a bit like garlic bread; lots of finger licking yumminess.

I found this packet in the Co-op in Grimisuat in Switzerland. The Chef is still out there and I have suggested he seek out another packet.

Friday 6 April 2018

Scrubby’s Sea Salt Lentil Chips

This is the second packet of lentil chips provided by Tall Elegant taste tester. Sea salt flavour.

I’m sure you remember that I usually enjoy plain tasting crispy snacks. Not in this case. I thought them rather dull. I don’t know, something just wasn’t right with the taste. Noble Friend enjoyed them more than I did I think, but she suggested they might be the better for a bowl of dip. I agree with that.

And then we move on to Managerial taste tester, who as I said the other day, scarcely ever tries the crispy snacks let alone comments. He came right out and admitted to enjoying these lentil chips very much. I’m delighted he liked them so much. Jam Maker taste tester was a big fan too.

It just goes to show that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

But I do think that if you start by liking these lentil chips only a little, then a good dip would improve them quite a lot. And the shape is ideal for dipping and scooping.

Scrubby’s make lentil chips as we know. They also make hummus and quinoa chips, and root vegetable crisps. I gather they can all be bought at Waitrose. Sadly not at my local branch but somewhere out there just waiting to be discovered.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Tyrrell’s Hand Churned Ice Cream

Here's a thing that popped up on my Facebook page recently: ice cream from Tyrrell's. And what’s so interesting about that you ask? Well, if you’ve been paying attention to the crispy snack shelves in any supermarket near you, you’ll know that Tyrrell's make crisps and popcorn.

But this new departure, available in three flavours, is... well I’m not sure if I fancy the idea because it seems a little weird to me. The ice cream will be available from April (from farm shops and delis) and will come in Caramel & Sea Salt with lightly salted crisps, Strawberry & Black Pepper with black pepper crisps, and Chocolate & Sweet Chilli with sweet chilli crisps.

Here’s the scoop from the Tyrrell’s website.

To be honest, I’m not mad about ice cream so we never really have it home. So I have missed out on pairing ice cream with other stuff; it’s obviously a thing. And I hardly had to look at all to find this interesting book A la Mode: 120 Recipes in 60 Pairings available from Amazon (and other book sellers too I’m sure). I don’t think the book pairs ice cream with crisps but as I said, pairing is obviously a thing.

I haven’t tried any of these ice creams with added crunch. But you might like to seek them out and try  for yourselves. And let me know what you think?
This picture is copyright Tyrrell's

Monday 2 April 2018

Bobby's Burger Bites

Now, I was very anxious to try this crispy snack because the flavour is "classic cheeseburger". At least that's what the packet says. And Graffiti Artist taste tester who first recommended me to try Bobby's snacks, particularly spoke of this flavour.

So I asked the Bobby's website where my nearest stockist was and in no time at all I received an email giving me a list of shops. The nearest wasn't too far by car (which was lucky because it would have been 2 buses and a longish walk by public transport, maybe 3 buses).

Obviously any crispy snack that claims to be cheeseburger flavour arouses my interest.

The reluctant taste testers were excited to try another snack from Bobby's (me too). We've tried several of their crispy snacks and been impressed. So imagine our disappointment when we found these Burger Bites didn't have the fantastic texture and bite we were hoping for. And worse, they don't really taste of cheeseburgers. Oh yes, and they really don't look anything like the image on the packet.

I can't help wondering if I didn't obsess over cheeseburger flavour (see the name of this blog!), and if we hadn't been so super-impressed with previous Bobby's offerings, the reluctant taste testers and I might have been less disappointed.

If you spot a packet please do try them with an open mind.