Saturday 19 November 2022

Tesco’s Finest Christmas Pudding Flavour Limited Edition Hand Cooked Crisps

 


Wow! Christmas Pudding flavour crisps? What the…?

So what would you expect? I think I was expecting something horrible. But although this crisp flavour is horribly wrong, it isn’t horrible.

I actually quite liked the flavour. It reminded me of raisins and sultanas in a Christmassy sort of a way. Quite a nice sort of a flavour for a biscuit. In fact, a bit like a squashed fly (Garibaldi) biscuit. But if you ask me… oh dear no; not in a crisp. And I was quite surprised that the crispy flavour of potato, which you wouldn’t normally think to be too strong, was in fact punchy enough to fight back against the fruit.

Cliffs of Moher taste tester came round for a drink and on one tasting decided this crisp flavour was totally wrong. And refused to try another. She said she thought the flavour would be good for a scented candle. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. She likes scented candles. I don’t.

The Chef thinks they are weird. 

As ever with Tesco Finest the crisps are on the large size with a good crunch, and rather darker than your average crisp. I don’t know how this flavour was created because the ingredients list only says ‘spices’.

The Chef tried again. He still thinks these crisps are too weird. And I am sorry to say that we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish the packet. That doesn’t happen very often.

Bought from a giant branch of Tesco where I also had a new passport photo taken.




Thursday 3 November 2022

Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Bangin’ Cheese Burger Flavour


Oh deary me. I was hoping that this Mini Cheddars flavour was going to be a banging (or bangin’ - which I really would prefer not to say) cheeseburger flavour. But I think it’s more about the cheese than the burger. Hmmm. They’ve created a range that celebrates foods that would be nothing without cheese. Which is not how I think about a cheeseburger. 

And on reading the list of ingredients it looks as though this crispy snack ought to be vegetarian, but I can’t find anything on the packaging to tell me if that’s the case. It does say that “no burgers have been flipped in the making of this product” and “flavouring only” but even though I can’t find any meat products in the list, I still can’t find any veggie label on the packaging. Odd.

The usual small round biscuits, crunchy and tasting of cheese… and smoky (possibly flame grilled?) flavour.

Unfortunately this crispy snack absolutely does not taste of cheeseburgers. You can only imagine how disappointing that is for me.

I couldn’t find this snack on the Jacob’s website so perhaps it is no longer available in actual shops. So thanks to a well known online purveyor of practically everything.

Thursday 20 October 2022

Lay’s Balenciaga flavour clutch bag

Many thanks to Beth Eats Chips on Instagram for alerting me to the fabulous Lay’s Chips x Balenciaga colab (or vice versa), if that’s what it is, recently featured at Paris Fashion Week.

I have looked at the Balenciaga website and I can’t see any signs that you can actually buy these fabulous crisp-bag bags yet - but here’s what you need to know. Because don’t we all have $1,500 to spare. But what a gorgeous design. Something to lust after. And then buy a packet of crisps instead.

Maybe Lay’s could bring out a Balenciaga flavour crisp? Smelling of leather? Hmmn. For real people like me who can’t even contemplate paying that much for a bag, let’s pick up a bag of crisps.











Saturday 15 October 2022

Cheese Balls by Sainsburys

 


I was hoping that this big bag of Cheese Balls might be like Cheese Footballs. But no. 

I was doing jury service opposite a large branch of Sainsburys and I pottered about the shop looking for something interesting. Actually, the court sent me (and nearly everyone else) home after only two days so I didn’t have much opportunity to forage for crispy snacks.

Anyway, this snack is sadly nothing at all like a Cheese Football. It’s dry. It gums itself to the roof of your mouth and all over your teeth. I don’t fancy trying it again. That’s a pity.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Bret’s Saveur Bleu Pancetta

 


Interesting. I first bought a packet of Bret’s crisps in 2013 and they were fabriqué dans le Morbihan (which is in Brittany),  then they were produit en Bretagne (which is Brittany) and then they became le chipsier français, and somewhere along the line they lost an apostrophe. So you can tell the reluctant taste testers and I have tried quite a lot of their catalogue.

I was rather pleased to find a brand-new-to-me crisp flavour. Blue cheese and pancetta eh? We’ll give that a go.

Unfortunately I thought these crisps quite disgusting. Blue cheese crisps might be OK; pancetta crisps could be tasty. But not both at once. No. The blue cheese taste is certainly there but then the pancetta flavour leaps up and interferes. 

Cliffs of Moher taste tester was not impressed. Even the Chef who can pretty much be convinced to eat anything (and he did) opined that this crisp flavour is all wrong.

Sorry. But no. The crisps themselves are exemplary.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Rubio Pijo Patatas Fritas en Sartén Sabor Limon y Pimienta


We went to the rather wonderful Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern and after admiring some art (Paul Klee obviously, and some Bridget Riley), we sat down for a snackish style of lunch. And picked up these lovely crisps. 

What a lovely crisp! The lemon and pepper work perfectly together and the Chef and I snacked down the whole packet all too quickly. 

Quite a fine cut, a good bite and a great flavour. What more could you want? Well, perhaps it would be nice to find a shop where we could buy these Spanish crisps again.

Delicious!

Zentrum Paul Klee




Saturday 16 July 2022

Vico Extra Craquantes Nature


Another choice from a French motorway service station. They look kind of dull don’t they? And it’s true this simply salted crinkle cut crisp isn’t that exciting. But, it is a simple flavour extremely well executed.

Fabulous crunch, just the right amount of salt. Yum yum.

There really is nothing else to say, except if you like crunchy, salty crisps you will like these crisps.

Very simple. Very good.


Friday 8 July 2022

Salty Dog Sea Salt

At last another chance to try a crisp from niche UK crisp company Salty Dog. I say niche because I have only ever seen their crisps for sale at Luton airport (which I have not passed through since August 2014) although it could be they are sold all over the place - just not in North London, or France or Switzerland where I do most of my crisp shopping.

Here we have the basic flavour: sea salt.

And? These are really good. A lovely texture with the skin left on for good looks and added taste, great crunch and just the right amount of saltiness. And a wonderfully old-fashioned - make that retro - taste of fried potatoes.

So many brands are keen to point out that their crisps are baked not fried for a healthier crisp. I'm sure I've said it before but I'm going to say it again; the secret to a healthy lifestyle isn't to eat baked potato crisps rather than fried but not to eat crisps at all. Too much salt, too much fat, and in many cases far too much sugar do not a healthy snack make.

However, some of us just love crisps. So the answer is not to eat too many. And luckily for us Salty Dog have put their crisps in a sensibly small 40g packet. But still, I'm going to share with the Chef to make sure I don't overdose on the first day of my holiday. Because (oh dear) I managed to buy 6 packets of crisps at Luton airport and another on the plane!

I'm not sure these crisps quite reach the summit of fabulousness but they certainly get way past base camp and some distance up the mountain. And I do love the little dog on the packet.
Update: I discovered yesterday (7 July 2022) that you can buy Salty Dog crisps on La Suisse, a Belle Époque paddle steamer, on Lake Geneva. Which probably means you can get them on other boats in the CGN fleet. Still a very tasty crisp.


Originally published on 12 March 2015.

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Co-op Naturaplan Chips Herbes des Alpes

Made for the Co-op by Swiss crisp giant Zweifel; this packet of gluten free, suitable for vegans crisps looks about as healthy as a packet of crisps can get. Unless you bake them instead of frying which obviously means it’s not a proper crisp.

For myself, these crisps seem extremely herby; there’s a bit too much taste. The Chef , on the other hand, thinks there isn’t enough flavour. Apparently you can’t please everyone. A good thin crisp with a light crunch.

Thursday 30 June 2022

Lu Tuc Goût Crème-Oignon

 

Snatched enthusiastically from the shelf of a large Co-op in Switzerland and eaten greedily almost in one sitting, this is a terrific crispy snack if you can find it. 

Ordinary everyday Tuc is a perfectly pleasant slightly crumbly salty biscuitty snack. Sour cream and onion flavour Tuc takes you to a whole new level of flavour and yumminess. Very nice indeed.

The biscuits are, as usual, oblong with cut off corners. See if you can stop yourself eating a whole packet at once… Go on… 

No idea at all where these are manufactured. Mondelez operate all over the place, so who knows.

Really delicious.

Also available in France. Still delicious.


Sunday 19 June 2022

Howdah Onion Bhaji


I really wanted to like this Onion Bhaji crispy snack. 

I love the vibrant yellow packaging with the elephant and I love that the company funds a free school meal for a child in India for every packet sold (you can read more about that at Howdah Snacks, and take a look at their great tea towels while you’re visiting). I quite liked the spicy flavour too. But sadly the texture is not for me. It’s not the crispy snack I was expecting; more of a biscuit. Kind of. The bite is too dull and I like my snacks to be crisp and crunchy. 

It’s at times like these that I miss the reluctant taste testers because we all had different likes and dislikes.  Don’t pay any attention to what textures I enjoy - or don’t.

I found several Howdah crispy snacks at a great big Sainsburys opposite the court where I was doing jury service.



Saturday 9 April 2022

Zweifel Kezz Kessel-Chips Original Paprika


A very nice crisp from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel. Usually their crisps are fine cut with a gentle crunch. These are thick and crunchy (coupées de façon rustique) with the skin left on. 

The Swiss take on kettle cooking and do a pretty good job.



Monday 4 April 2022

Co-op Naturaplan Bio Chips Ail des Ours


Here we are in Switzerland again, and it’s the season for wild garlic (ail des ours, bärlauch, aglio orsino). So we have tagliatelle flavoured with wild garlic, ravioli stuffed with mascarpone and wild garlic, and in a couple of months there will be cheese flavoured with wild garlic.

And for the first time we have found really delicious potato crisps flavoured with wild garlic. 

In the Swiss tradition these delicately flavoured crisps from the (Swiss) Co-op are very fine cut with a gentle crunch. And very nice too. We bought another 140g packet. Yum yum. Although I am quite disappointed to learn from the list of ingredients that most of the wild garlic flavour appears to come from actual garlic. Yup; disappointing. Ah well. Still very tasty.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Zweifel Poulet au Panier


How interesting. Chicken in a basket flavour crisps. That’s a bit 1970s isn’t it? It certainly was a popular dish in swanky pubs back then, and then disappeared to be replaced by fancier, more modern, probably Asian inspired, maybe “fusion” cooking. At least in the U.K. Here’s a recent article from The Guardian. Perhaps not in Switzerland though, because here we have a new flavour from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel. 

I don’t think I ever had chicken in a basket in the 1970s. I was at school and we didn’t have much money to spare for visiting restaurants or pubs. So I looked up a recipe, and here’s one from Tom Kerridge. I really had not appreciated how heavily seasoned a chicken would have to be to qualify for the basket.

This crisp from Zweifel is small and finely cut in their usual style, and very strongly seasoned. I quite like the taste but it’s very strong. Too strong for me. And with onions, yeast extract, paprika, garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper, sugar and salt on the list of ingredients there is plenty of taste to choose from.

The Chef liked them better than I did. To be honest I really prefer a simpler flavour.

Friday 25 March 2022

Mackie’s of Scotland Boxing Day Curry Festive Flavour


This was a Christmas present from relations who don’t have lots of money to spare, but who pay attention to my interests and have noticed that I write a blog about crisps. So, a present which has genuinely been thought about. Well done and thank you!

Lordy, I am so fed up with people who have known me my entire life and still choose to give me trout roulade for my birthday (I don’t eat fish), or tea in a fancy container (I don’t drink tea). They give me silver jewellery but I probably won’t wear it (I am allergic to silver). They give me exciting packets of pistachios bought on a mini-break in Turkey but I won’t eat them (I really really don’t like pistachios). Oh, and someone visited to a well known chocolate shop in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage and bought me a jar of apricot jam: that’s just mean. All genuine incidents.

OK, enough of presents I didn’t want, and you might not either, and back to this crisp flavour: is Boxing Day* curry a thing? I come from a very small family so we never had a turkey at Christmas because it was just too huge. So we never had masses of leftovers, and never felt the need to make a curry. But tv shows and commercials assure me that everyone else in the universe has a huge turkey and a ham at Christmas and despite cramming 16 relatives round a too small table, they still have leftovers to eat up the next day.

Hmm… perhaps a Boxing Day curry really is a thing. 

And although these tasty crisps do have a genuine taste of curry, there is also (to me anyhow) a big hit of raisins or sultanas. Which made me think of retro curries from the 1970s. This is interesting because the list of ingredients includes fenugreek, coriander seed, turmeric, cardamom, and ginger, there’s nothing that leaps out that might give a flavour of sultanas. Those food scientists eh? Obviously they know a whole lot more about flavour than I do.

*For those of you not in the know, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day in Britain. In what we call “the olden days” (when we aren’t sure exactly when we mean but it was a long time ago), employees or tradesmen who delivered milk or coal would visit their employer on the day after Christmas to collect their Christmas box. A sort of tip.


Sunday 20 March 2022

Menguy’s Cacahuètes Grillées Salées


A little 40g packet of salted peanuts came free with our hotel room near Reims in north west France last year. A very little packet. Remember that a 40g packet of crisps or crispy snacks contains a lot more than a 40g packet of much heavier peanuts.

The Chef tried this packet without sharing, and tells me these peanuts are not salty enough. And a bit hard. He wasn’t very impressed.

There are little people shapes on the packet looking energetic, so perhaps this is supposed to be a healthy option. Honestly, I think it better to eat a small quantity of something tasty and properly prepared than a tiny portion of a healthy option that doesn’t taste good. But obviously that’s up to you.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Waitrose Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper


This is a very simple crisp flavour on very fabulous large and crunchy crisps. Obviously a little hotter than your basic salt flavour (sea salt, rock salt, Himalayan pink salt… you choose) but still simple and the basic grey and black Waitrose packaging echoes this. 

Good sized crisps and you can see the skin, good crunch, great taste. What’s not to like?

And it works extremely well with our favourite sour cream and chive dip. Highly recommended. And still recommended two years later.

There is nothing more to say. Look, if a crisp is that good what more do you need? Although the ingredients list weirdly includes yeast extract, rosemary and rice flour. Sometimes it helps not to read the ingredients.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Jacob’s Twiglets

 


I cannot believe that I haven’t written up Twiglets before. How has this happened?

Twiglets have been a family favourite for such a long time and I really love the yummy umami taste and the knobbly twiggy look of this tasty snack. In fact Twiglets have been going for as long as I can remember; before anyone in the U.K. had ever heard the word umami. And they used to be about 5”/130mm long (I think - it was a while ago) and came in a cardboard box. Now they are much shorter and come in a baggie, or at Christmas in a tub.

I think I have been snacking on Twiglets for so long I imagined I must have written something already. But apparently not.

If you like Marmite (yeast extract) you will probably enjoy Twiglets. If you don’t I suspect you may not. “A whole lot of Crunch in a wholegrain munch!” says the packet. But I’m not sure why the flavour is Original. I’m not aware of any other flavour than the original. Hmmm… cheese and onion Twiglets? I don’t think so. In fact I certainly hope not,

Twiglets: a great crispy snack. Remember the early 1960s? You will remember Twiglets. Quite a lot younger than that? Give them a try.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Co-op Hand Cooked Ultimate Roast Potato Crisps


What an interesting crisp flavour, I thought as I rushed into the local Co-op for emergency double cream and paracetamol at New Year. Naturally I snapped up a packet.

Nice crisps. A good size, tasty, and a tip top crunch. But do these crisps actually taste of roast potatoes? 

Sadly, no. No they don’t. Well, not unless you roast your potatoes with quite a lot of herbs. And we don’t. The packet does show rosemary and garlic which are both on the list of ingredients, but the taste is not potatoey enough.

I’ve had roast potatoes cooked with masses of garlic, with tons of Parmesan grated over them, and with a bit too much lemon juice (thanks Judy), but to be honest I prefer my roast potatoes to taste of roast potatoes. 

What a pity. This is a missed opportunity to make a wonderful crisp. Mind you, the Chef had no trouble at all finishing the packet all by himself. So if you aren’t as picky as me you might like them. You probably will.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Tayto Meanies Pickled Onion Flavour


I can’t think why I have failed to post this tasty Irish version of Monster Munch before. It was a present from Cliffs of Moher taste tester’s mum at the end of November, and I tried the Meanies at once, so honestly I have no excuse.

As you might suppose this is the style of snack that tastes impossibly strong and sticks to your teeth so firmly that you wonder why you are torturing yourself. However, if someone offers you another bag you snatch it enthusiastically and start the torture afresh. Unless of course you don’t fancy pickled onion flavour.

Not a crispy snack for every day, and probably aimed at 8 year olds. But I confess I rather enjoyed them.