Tuesday 31 December 2019

Vico Kettle Cooked Gaufrette Chips Sel de Mer

After much trial and error, considerable taste testing and a lot of thought, I have definitely decided that I prefer crispy snacks that don’t taste of very much. As in this example simply flavoured with sel de mer: sea salt.

The reluctant taste testers and I have tried lattice design crisps before. We tried Seabrook Sea Salt flavour and liked them very much. We tried other Seabrook flavours and liked them but not so much.

And now we have a similarly delicious lattice crisp from French snack company Vico (an Intersnack subsidiary). I really thought we must have tried them before because they’ve been around since 2017, but apparently not.

A good bite, a light salty flavour, and I do like the lattice design. What could be nicer? And they do work well with a dip.

Apparently the 120g packet contains 4 servings. Well, the Chef and I have very nearly polished off 2 whole packets between us. Perhaps we’re just greedy.

This really is a great crisp. Highly recommended.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Happy Shopper Burger Bites

I found this cheap and cheerful crispy snack when I was in Budgens in North London searching (in vain) for Cheese Footballs.

Let’s start with the basics. No way do these crispy little balls taste of burger. Not at all.

However, they are extremely tasty; full of yeast powder, onion powder and beef flavour and yet still suitable for vegetarians. So, umami yumminess with a nice crunch. Plus they don’t gum themselves to your teeth the way some maize snacks do.

Pretty much the perfect accompaniment to a glass of white wine and the Penguins of Madagascar movie on TV. And in case you didn’t know, the movie features crispy maize snacks as an important plot device.

I'm impressed.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Tesco Sausage Roll Flavour Puffs

Goodness me! What giant 250g packet of crispy snacks! Which is an enormous amount when you consider that each of these little maize puffs hardly weighs anything at all. I would hesitate to buy such a large packet of a snack I knew I liked so I did boggle a bit at the size, but who could really resist trying Sausage Roll flavour?

Of course you know you all know that little maize puffs like this are usually cheesy puffs; think the fabulous Cheese Tasters from M&S for example. Although there is the well-known Israeli peanut snack from Bamba. So this sudden departure into sausage roll as a flavour was a bit of a surprise.

And obviously had to be taste tested.

So I put this crispy snack to the Ski Instructor and Tractor Fan taste testers. Neither of them could hazard a guess at the flavour but they ate quite a lot of them. I never expect my taste testers to eat any snack if they don’t like the taste, and little maize puffs are not to everyone’s taste, so I count this as a handsome endorsement.

Subsequently I asked Cliffs of Moher Taste Tester to try. Amazingly she guessed the flavour correctly at once. She reckoned she could detect the taste of sausage roll pastry as well as the sausagey stuffing. And I think she's right.

The snack is rather dry, and it does gum itself to your teeth in a remarkable fashion, but it is a very clever flavour.  Who can say, though, if it will be a success? Tractor Fan was all set to rush off to Tesco in pursuit of another packet, but I wonder if most UK crispy snack consumers will be baffled at the thought of a cheesy puff that doesn't taste of cheese? Most people are very conservative and don't like  anything different. Change is hard.

Well, it'll be interesting to see if this crispy snack is around in a year's time. I hope so.

Sunday 22 December 2019

H.W. Lay Sea Salt

I had a terrible problem with this little 40g bag of crisps. I couldn’t stop eating them. I kept thinking that I really ought to say some for the Chef so that I could ask his opinion. And I just kept eating. Normally you will find me complaining that most packets of crisps are far too large. I mean, look at those grab bags you're meant to share with your friends. You know you're going to eat the whole lot yourself. It's not healthy. However, in this particular case, I wished I had a bigger bag.

If I find any more I will certainly buy them; but I'm pretty sure this packet came from (you guessed) a French motorway service station. And I'm not at all sure I can remember which one. Fingers crossed we can find them again because the Chef was pleased to approve the meagre 4 crisps I left for him. He was quite gracious about how greedy I'd been.

Thicker than the usual potato crisps from Lays, made with premium quality potatoes, slower cooked, and with a beautifully simple Sea Salt flavour, this is a really great crisp. I highly recommend it. Delicious.
The packet photo has come out a bit dull. Look for something a richer sky blue.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Choco Frutas GoNuts! Triple Berry Fruit & Nut Mix

This name as shown on this packet is not the same as the name given on the website. I can't find Triple Berry on the packet but this interesting snack from Costa Rica does contain freeze dried strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. So definitely three fruits.

Brought back specially from Costa Rica by Tall Elegant Taste Tester this isn't really a crispy snack. But it does contain nuts so I think we can stretch a point. As well as the chocolate coated fruits there are pecans, almonds, peanuts, and cashew nuts. And quite a lot of cinnamon.

This is another snack brought back from a far flung country (far flung from North London - look I don't want to get into trouble the way the folks behind Star Trek: Deep Space 9 did because that area of space didn't feel particularly deep to any of the locals) with a really interesting packet.  It says Please Recycle. It feels kind of papery on the outside but I'm not certain what it's actually made of so I don't know if it is recyclable, but the interesting thing is that it is genuinely resealable; unlike practically everything allegedly resealable in the UK. Why don't snack producers in the UK make properly resealable packets?

The packet design features a charming sloth on the front named Henry and a bird, I think perhaps a toucan (but it has a spot on its breast which I'm not sure toucans do, nor toucanets) on the back. And slightly oddly the text is mostly in English. There's a banana version of this snack in a yellow packet that has a cute monkey in place of the bird.

You can buy Henry merch (cuddly sloths, T shirts and much more) from the Choco Frutas website which is partly in English and partly Spanish. Or, obviously, you can buy their snacks. Importantly this packet tells us that 50% of the profits are donated to wild life and rain forest conservation. I couldn't find out more about that on the website but I did notice the organisation is involved in planting trees, helping to clean polluted rivers and rescuing macaws.

To tell you the truth, this is not the snack for me not least because I only really like nuts covered in salt, and I'm not mad about cinnamon. The nuts would (for me) be better if they were a bit more like KP Frosted Maple Syrup Roast Peanuts & Cashews with pieces of Belgian Milk Chocolate Honeycomb  (which we loved) but instead we have cinnamon.

However, there's no denying this is an interesting option. Take a look for more Choco Frutas products next time you're in Costa Rica.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Alka Elephant Squeezed Pretzels with Pizza Taste

I couldn’t work out why I didn’t like this Pizza version of Alka’s Squeezed Pretzel snack as much as the Salt flavour.  

For some reason Pizza flavour doesn’t always work as well as you think it might in a crispy snack. But it wasn’t that. You can see what I mean about Pizza flavour if you look at these Cheetos Pizzarini snacks from Poland.

And somehow I thought these Pretzels tasted quite strongly of celery. But it wasn’t really that either. And naturally the texture and bite were the same as in the Salt version. So it definitely wasn’t that.

In the end Cliffs of Moher Taste Tester put her finger on the problem: there is simply too much taste going on. The more crispy snacks I try, the more I find I prefer simple flavours. And this would-be Pizza flavour is just too complicated for its own good. At least, that’s how I see it.

I think they should have stopped with the plain and simple salted version.

Saturday 7 December 2019

KP The Real McCoy’s Muchos Nacho Cheese

New! Weird looking folded crispy tortilla snacks. Hmm.... did I think these are going to be tasty? No.

No, and I was wrong.

What an interesting crispy snack. Quite a nice crunch, quite a nice cheesy flavour, worked very well with a dip. As you can see from the packet detail below, this crispy snack is based on Mexican street food. Well, I've not been to Mexico, and while I have been to a well-known restaurant that claims to serve Mexican street food, I wasn't that impressed. But these are OK.

Not perhaps really my thing but might be yours. Give them a try.

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Co-op Irresistible Hand Cooked Cornish Cheddar Cauliflower Cheese Crisps

Sorry, what?

Cauliflower cheese flavour potato crisps?? Apparently yes. Is this flavour almost as weird or even more weird than the wonderful M&S Reduced Fat Buttered Potato flavour crisp? Who can say.

But seriously, who on earth thought of this? The packet design has stars and glitter (a picture of glitter - don’t get over excited crisp fans) so perhaps it is intended to be a special Christmas crisp but who knows. I mean, do you have a Christmas Eve cauliflower cheese tradition? We certainly don’t (we have our Christmas dinner on  Christmas Eve if at all possible. It means that if family insist on coming round on Christmas Day, and they do, it’s a whole lot less stressful than it might be).

So.... cauliflower. Cauliflower cheese. Not sure any of the reluctant taste testers could detect that. Nor detect an aroma of cauliflower neither.

But this is an extremely cheesy crisp. It tastes so cheesy that I keep expecting each individual crisp to be completely coated in a thick layer of flavour dust. In fact they look like perfectly normal crisps. The bite is a little hard which I’m not mad about, with the skin left on which I like.

I’m not sure this crisp is actually irresistible, but it’s certainly less weird than we were expecting. And it works OK with a dip. Quite a lot of them were folded (which you can see on the packet). Interesting.

The Chef really liked them and insisted on finishing the packet all by himself.