Saturday, 30 June 2018

Lieber's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Barbecue Flavour

Noble Friend went out to buy a pint or two of milk and brought back a little packet of kosher crisps, indeed I see they are kosher for passover. And they smell wonderful.

Sometimes a crispy snack will smell good and taste bad (or not so good), or smell awful but taste wonderful. But in this case I think the aroma that wafts from the packet is just lovely, and the taste isn't too bad. Which is praise indeed from me because I don't usually enjoy barbecue as a flavour. If the taste was the same as the flavour I'd give 5 stars but sadly it doesn't ever seem to work like that.

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian tells me she's not that impressed. Not enough taste she says, the taste is almost plain salted. Not what taste tester from the New Forest thought. She asked where they came from so she could buy another packet.

Noble Friend was quite pleased with her choice too. Very nice we thought.

I think these crisps are made in the USA but it's not easy to tell from the packet. "Distributed" it says, in the USA, in England, and in Australia. But the Rabbi in charge comes from Monsey which seems to be in New York State. I found that on a website called Walk2Shul. Useful.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Kettle Discoveries Gressingham Duck, Plum Sauce & Spring Onion

Back in November 17 I posted a magazine ad showing these crisps but I only just discovered them in a big branch of Waitrose. I've still never seen the amazing sounding salted caramel and cream crisps (a tragedy!) but here we have the rebranded duck flavour.

The reluctant taste testers and I tried this crisp when it was branded Chef's Signature, with a great big picture of a chef. I can't at this late date remember what that packet of crisps was like but it says here that I thought them much too spring oniony. 

And I have to tell you I wasn't that mad about this packet either. I think the Tesco packet from December 2013 were better at tasting of duck. Possibly because it was called Hoisin Duck. At any rate I gave it a pretty good review. 

However good the actual crisp, however crispy the crunch, an unconvincing flavour won't deliver a great crisp. And in the end I don't think duck really works as a crisp flavour. Why is it that roast chicken works really well, but duck has to be enhanced wit spring onions and plum sauce? Perhaps that tells us all we need to know.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

M&S British Pork Hog Roast & Apple Hand Cooked Crisps

For some reason I thought the reluctant taste testers and I had tried this crisp before: but apparently not. I guess I just imagined it.

So. So what did the taste testers have to say? It’s always a bit of an issue when we try complicated flavour crisps because quite often the actual taste is not very like what’s printed on the packet. Call us all picky if you like, but most of us like more simple flavours.

Anyway, well... the “pork hog roast” flavour was a bit hard to pick. I have never actually been to a hog roast but obviously I’ve had roast pork. I could just detect the roast pork if I concentrated hard but none of us felt it was an easy flavour to recognise. And unfortunately the fugitive pork flavour is quite overpowered by the apple. And in case you were wondering, there is real pork in the flavour dust on this crisp.

But oh dear. The apple flavour has that sinister fizzy character the reluctant taste testers liked so little in the Christmas prosecco flavours. As Tall taste tester put it, the apple is too overpowering. And to that I add weirdly fizzy.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Lay's Heinz Tomato Ketchup Flavour

Well, the reluctant taste testers whined the other day when we tried a “ketchup” flavour crisp which was deemed not tomatoey enough, so what did we have to say about this offering from Lay's?

Good news for Noble Friend, who bought this little packet in Amsterdam, not only did she approve but the rest of the reluctant taste testers did too. Oh, except for Tall Elegant taste tester who didn’t fancy them at all.

The flavour seemed to be just exactly as advertised so we were all pleased with that. And a nice light crunch. Yes, we enjoyed this little packet of crisps. And please can anyone going to the Netherlands bring us another packet.

Monday, 18 June 2018

The Food Doctor Popped Crisp Thins Sour Cream & Basil

I had to go to the Royal Free the other day for a blood test. The blood nurse at my surgery is on maternity leave and goodness knows when she'll be back so no-one not at death's door (not me any more) gets to have a blood test close to home.

Anyway, I wandered into the handy hospital shop to see how healthy or otherwise the snacks on offer might be. Some of them definitely not (because they're on offer in any handy shop), but these might be different.

These crisps are owned by a company based in (I hesitate to say made in) Harley Street in London. Those of you not from the UK may not be aware that Harley Street (not far from Oxford Street and at 90 degrees to Baker Street of Sherlock Holmes fame) is where all the expensive private doctors hang out here in London.

So obviously some doctor with an interest in the power of nutrition has started a crispy snack business. What a good idea. They are on a mission to make balanced, healthy and wholesome foods that'll do your mind and body good it says on the packet. This crispy snack is nutritionist approved... a dose of goodness in every bag.

Except... are they tasty? Would I buy these crisps again?

Well, erm, no. No I wouldn’t. The crunch is OK but it’s soya and corn not my favourite, potato, and the taste is... sort of more like a pasta sauce than a crispy snack. Or so some of the reluctant taste testers thought.

It’s a shame though, because I’m guessing most of us would be happy to eat healthy crispy snacks if only they were as tasty as a normal (unhealthy) snack. But let’s be honest. None of the the healthy snacks the reluctant taste testers and I have tried are anything like as nice, as tasty as the traditional unhealthy varieties. Part of the problem is that baked snacks are almost never as tasty as fried, and messing about with traditional much loved flavours is never a good thing.

A good try. But not for us.

Friday, 15 June 2018

M&S Rainbow Veggie Tasters

I finally found what my local branch of M&S did with their crispy snacks. Hidden round where they used to sell frying pans. Perhaps they have a healthy eating plan for customers which involves buying fewer crisps because we can’t find them; although maybe not producing any might work better.

We know M&S make fabulous cheesey puffs (slightly confusingly called cheese tasters), and here they have produced a vegetable version, a rainbow veggie version. Beetroot and goats cheese. Carrot and cumin. Spinach and black pepper. Quite complicated flavours.

And not maize but rice snacks. Baked not fried. But that’s the way things are these days; we aren’t allowed to have unhealthy fried stuff. More's the pity.

Not sure this crispy snack is really to my taste. I did eat the whole (quite small) packet but I’m not sure I would buy another.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Lay's Pickles

Another Dutch crisp bought by Noble Friend on her recent visit to Amsterdam.

I was pretty sure Noble Friend would like this crisp because she is a massive fan of joopje sauce crisps and pickles is not unlike that very Dutch flavour. But I was pleased it was different enough for me to enjoy (I don’t really like joopje sauce). Tech taste tester compared this to a Monster Munch flavour... although without the furry child-friendly shape and texture and I think he liked it too.

Lay's crisps have quite a light crunch, so yes, not very like Monster Munch at all.

In French (on the back of the packet) this flavour is called Moutarde Pickles and in Dutch Aardappelchips met Piccalillysmaak. Which slightly begs the question: where does Pickles come from? Interesting.

Mnnn.... good said Cliffs of Moher taste tester as she crunched past me on the way out of the kitchen. I think we can say this was a success.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

M&S Fire Roasted Chilli Tortillas

Gasp! Cliffs of Moher taste tester has been eating crisps unknown to the rest of the taste testers without telling anyone.

Not even giving me the opportunity to taste a crumb or photograph the packet. And I only found out because I chanced to take a photocopy while she was eating her lunch.

Fire Roasted Chilli Tortillas with baked in pieces of red bell pepper and jalapeño chillis. Sounds a bit complicated. Tastes fabulous. I bet these tortilla chips would be tasty with a dip too.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Co-op Fine Foods Vegetable Chips

When the Chef & I were in Switzerland we were invited to supper with a French (actually from Alsace so possibly German) friend and her son who is half Corsican. Both of them spend a lot of time in Switzerland, and both of them spend a lot of time in Peru where they run trekking holidays which I suspect are not for the faint hearted or the dilettante tourist. And I wouldn't be able to cope at all because so much of Peru is very high and I am not at my best at altitude.

If you had asked me to name anyone who wouldn't eat crisps I would have bet on Alsatian friend. And I would have been quite wrong. Because she introduced us to a fine packet of vegetable crisps from the Co-op. And very nice too.

In fact, not just very nice but delicious. Once again I'll remind you that I don't normally buy vegetable crisps as potato crisps keep me plenty busy, but in this case I think I would make an exception. And anyway the Chef liked them so much he went out and bought 2 more packets so we could try them again.

Parsnip (weirdly called panais in French), sweet potato, carrot and beetroot.  And I enjoyed them all. As always a duller crunch than you get from a potato crisp but not too dull, and really, very tasty.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Sarriegui Patatas Fritas Con Sal

Managerial taste tester and his wife stopped at a Hackney pub for a drink on a very hot day and by chance discovered this Spanish crisp. And being mightily impressed they bought a packet for me and the reluctant taste testers to try.

This is a very simple crisp. Very finely cut and rather smaller than I was expecting, these crisps taste mostly of crisp: not one of the overexcitable flavours that manufacturers favour nowadays. And the reluctant taste testers were quite taken with the simplicity.

Architectural taste tester (she who hardly comments) loved this crisp. Like an old fashioned crisp she said.

But Managerial taster tester wasn't so impressed on second tasting and wondered why this crisp seemed so familiar? Taste tester from the New Forest discussed it seriously with him and they finished by deciding it reminded them of Pom Bears. Really? Are they sure?

I can honestly say I had quite forgotten we had tried this crisp before. And below you can see what we thought in February 2016
Another packet of crisps from the wonderful Fortnum & Mason.

It occurs to me that you may not know what Fortnums is. You may not realise the shop was opened in 1707 and is as much a tourist attraction as a shop. Although it is a proper shop and sells many wonderful and desirable things. Shopping at Fortnums online is fun, but to get the full flavour you really need to go there in person.

Fortnums is only just around the corner from Buckingham Palace. You can visit both in one day: the Palace in the morning followed by lunch at Fortnums. I know it can be done. Plus you can then go across the road to the Royal Academy or just go shopping in the Burlington Arcade. A great day out.

Anyway, this is a pretty wonderful crisp. A lovely fine cut crisp, a beautiful crunch, a little bit oily by British crispy standards, but not too much salt; just enough really. And because the crisps are rather oily you get a lot of salt stuck to the inside of the packet. Just swipe your finger around the inside of the packet and lick it.... yum. A real old fashioned crispy experience.

Not surprising that the crisps are a little oily perhaps as they are made with 60% extra virgin olive oil, and 40% sunflower oil.

I think most of us liked this Spanish crisp a lot. Certainly we found it difficult to stop eating them.

Although... as the crisps were so fine cut there were quite a lot of broken crisps at the bottom of the packet. And Tech taste tester said he could not help thinking he was looking at a bowl of cornflakes.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Crunchips Chilli & Lime X-Cut

Here's another packet of crisps from the little shop in Golders Green that stocks lots of European snacks. This one I thought must be Polish because we've tried Crunchips from Poland in the past Green Onions but actually these crisps are from Germany but I had forgotten about the Spare Ribs Roasted (great name) also from Germany.

This is a crinkle cut crisp with loads of flavour dust and a good rich colour. I'm not sure why German for crinkle cut should be X-cut... it seems a bit odd but it's obvious what that means.

And it turns out Cliffs of Moher taste tester was so enthusiastic about this crisp she had me describe in detail where the shop I bought them is. I hope I got it right. I do remember I’d just emerged from an annoying session with my bank (they cancelled my card twice in two weeks because they said they couldn’t contact me - which was a big lie) and I know where that is. The trouble is, typical me, I didn’t look at the name of the shop.

As I often do I took some crisps home for the Chef to try. What is this crisp supposed to be? he asked suspiciously. Chilli and lime I said. That explains it, he said thrusting the packet away. Not for him then. Not really for me either. The crunch is good, the chilli hit is good but I don’t much care for lime as a flavour. But look, Cliffs of Moher loved this crisp.
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