Sunday 30 December 2018

O'Donnells of Tipperary Hand Cooked Crisps Irish Sea Salt

This a a hard to find crisp. Apparently the Irish don't much care for plain salted crisps (how weird can you get? It's my favourite flavour), but Cliffs of Moher taste tester’s mother tenaciously tracked a packet down for us to try. Apparently she visited just about every crisp emporium for miles around. In Ireland obviously.

And actually, I wonder why O'Donnells make sea salt crisps if the local crisp buying population aren't mad keen on the flavour? I guess I will never know the ins and outs of it.

Anyway, the reluctant taste testers fell upon this crisp like a flock of gannets. Or perhaps a plague of locusts.

Delicious. A lovely crisp. You don’t get much better.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Walkers Cheese & Cranberry

Here's another crisp from Walkers' Christmas multi-pack.

Cheese & Cranberry. Is that a thing? If it is, it's not a thing on my horizon so I will just carry on thinking it's a bit of a strange flavour for a crisp. Or an anything.

Hmmn... on the back of the packet it says here at Walkers we've developed a range of delicious festive flavours. What a treat! You've chosen the quintessential festive after-dinner treat. I haven't checked with a dictionary - actually I'm going to do that just now (see below).

So, not convinced that Walkers actually know what quintessential means. But anyhow the reluctant taste testers leaped right in and tried this slightly unusual flavour. And some of them weren't mad keen, but Slightly Red Haired Bristolian was very taken with this crisp. "I might have to buy some more," she said, even though she couldn't detect any cranberry.

I  couldn't detect any cranberry either, and I did think the taste was a bit sharp. I wasn't convinced by this flavour but I can introduce you to a fan.

  1. representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.

    "he was the quintessential tough guy—strong, silent, and self-contained"
    synonyms:typicalprototypicalstereotypicalarchetypalclassicmodelessentialstandardstockrepresentative, true to type, conventional;

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Walkers Christmas Multi-Pack 2018

Turkey & Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts and Pigs in Blankets in the Sprout Lovers Collection
Glazed Ham, Turkey & Stuffing and Cheese & Cranberry in the Sprout Haters Collection

If you haven't yet tried these multi-packs there may still be some in the shops. 
Actual crisps reviewed in other posts. 

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Walkers Brussels Sprout

This winter, this Christmas season, Walkers have decided to enliven this crisp market with a Brussels sprout flavour crisp. Spotted in Sainsburys by Slightly Red Haired Bristolian, and kindly donated by her, this is one crisp in a Christmas multi-pack.

Oddly (quite successfully) green, these crisps smelled wonderfully sprouty. Well, wonderfully if you like sprouts. I'm never quite sure whether I like sprouts or not, but I think I am sure that sprout is not a good flavour for a crisp.

The reluctant taste testers who like sprouts were, I think, quite impressed at the sproutiness. But I'm not convinced they actually appreciated the flavour. Those who dislike sprouts would not, of course, go anywhere near them.

Interesting. And a clever marketing move.

Merry Christmas!
"I shouldn't expect them to be green," said the Family Vegetarian... but they are. And she was agreeably surprised at the aroma/taste. But what a disappointment: no actual sprouts in these crisps!

Friday 21 December 2018

Zweifel Piri-Piri

Here’s a new (ish) option from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel.

Interesting. Now piri-piri is a hugely popular flavour (why does flavour sound more sweet than savoury?) in the UK. Possibly because of the enormously successful restaurant chain Nando’s. I haven’t been but a quick glance at the menu online tells me that practically everything they sell is flavoured with piri-piri including the puddings. Yes, alright, I’m exaggerating for effect.

But does Switzerland have something similar? Yes, I go to Switzerland quite a lot, but mostly a small village that doesn’t have any place that might offer piri-piri ( which is a word impossible to type on an iPad as the spellcheck clicks in twice each time I try). So I don’t know why Zweifel decided to try this new flavour.

Quite popular with the reluctant taste testers though. Tasty. Hot but not too hot. And you can’t argue with that. And as always the crisps themselves are high quality.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Tesco Finest Limited Edition Roquefort with Roasted Chestnuts Hand Cooked Crisps

Well, apologies are in order as I’ve been offline for a while. I caught a horrendous cold in France in September and, while it only lasted two weeks (only!), it left me feeling I didn’t fancy crisps. Or writing about them.

But taste tester from the New Forest noticed I hadn’t updated the blog in a while. She was very polite about it but I thought I ought to pull my finger out.

So. A Christmas special. Lots of people eat blue cheese at Christmastime don’t they? I’m not sure why particularly. Perhaps blue cheeses have historically ripened at this time of year? Or maybe it’s that blue cheese seems a bit fancier than any old cheese so why not eat it when you’ve stuffed yourself silly on turkey or ham. Actually, I have no idea what countries other than the UK think about blue cheese, and here’s the thing, Roquefort is of course a French cheese not the traditional British blue: Stilton.

And chestnuts? Also a winter delicacy. People make a stuffing for the turkey with chestnuts. They buy roasted chestnuts from market stalls. They sing about roasting them over an open fire.

So I suppose maybe putting the two together makes sense for a limited edition Christmas special. Except I don’t like either of these flavours so the combination sounds pretty grim to me. But you know me if you’ve read this blog before. You’ll know that thinking something sounds horrible doesn’t stop me buying it and trying it out on the reluctant taste testers.

Now then. Back to the taste tester from the New Forest. When she saw this packet of crisps she was extremely dubious. She expounded at length on how one year her family made a chestnut stuffing for their turkey, and how she didn’t like the taste at all, and how it infused the whole turkey with its nasty (her opinion, obviously) taste which was a bit of a disaster for her Christmas dinner.

But guess what? After a faltering start it turns out she quite enjoyed this crisp. Quite a large bowlful got eaten - as usual the taste testers lost no opportunity to disagree with me - and then the Chef ate the rest of the packet by himself. So once again, it’s just me.

I was in Tesco again a while after buying this packet of crisps, looking for something else, when a young woman with obviously severe learning difficulties approached me. She wanted help getting a packet off the shelf. She said her cat likes these crisps!

Saturday 15 December 2018

Well and Truly Crunchy Really Cheesy Corn Based Snacks

Where did I pick up this packet of Well & Truly crispy snacks? Oh yes, I remember, a swanky deli in Hampstead.

I had high hopes.

But. Just like one of those people on Escape to the Country who quite liked the house, there’s always a but. And I think mine is that I really prefer the cheap, the ordinary, the mass produced when it comes to crispy snacks. OK that’s excluding the fabulous ROKA Cheese Crispies which have never been cheap and I’ve loved them since I was 4 (You can see my thoughts on Cheese Crispies in the sidebar).

All natural ingredients, gluten free, 40% less fat than average cheese crisps says the packet. #haveitall. Better in every sense. We’re about positivity, not prohibition! Say no to sad snacks. Choose real snack satisfaction. Big on flavour. Colossal on crunch. Less fat. Vegetarian. No added sugar. GM free. And other positive stuff.

Except this isn’t a very cheesy snack. The crunch isn’t particularly crunchy and the cheesy flavour isn’t particularly cheesy. And the reluctant taste testers were no more impressed than I was.

Here’s the thing. The packaging comes across all English looking, but this crispy snack is made in Italy. Which could be the problem. Because almost all Italian crisps and crispy snacks we’ve tried had a whole lot less flavour than British snacks and crisps. I don't know why but it is so.