Tuesday 16 April 2024

M&S Collection Hand Cooked Crisps Prosciutto & Formaggio

 


We stopped at the last sensible motorway service station on the way to Dover and bought sandwiches, plus this packet of Prosciutto & Formaggio crisps.

Well, Marks & Spencer… possibly not your finest hour. Not very big crisps but still, a good crunch. But, tell me gentle reader, are you wondering if this combination of flavours is going to work?

And… these Prosciutto (uncooked, unsmoked, dry cured ham) and Formaggio (basically cheese) flavoured crisps are surprisingly moreish. You start off thinking oh… I don’t really know, I’m not at all sure, but before you know it you’re having another delicately flavoured crisp, and then another.

I am not at all sure they actually taste of prosciutto and formaggio (honestly, how can I really tell? I don’t think I have ever actually tried this mix of flavours in a crisp before), but you know, erm, quite nice,

Not the best crisp ever, but not bad. You can tell, can’t you? Not bad.

And remember. You might like this crisp combo more than I do.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Migros Party Mini Turtles Gesalzen


The Chef and I recently shopped at a motorway service station in Switzerland, at Bavois. It’s the first in Switzerland if you arrive from France through the Jura. Anyway, we found a very nice packet of salami (direct from the farmer by the looks of things), an extremely good bottle of local wine, and this packet of turtle shaped crispy snacks. If only one could shop so well in service stations in Britain.

At first crunch I thought this was going to be rather a dull snack. I mean, the only flavour is salt. 

But, the more you snack, the tastier these crispy little turtles seem to be. And eventually they seem to be absolutely delicious. In fact, yum yum.

The texture is shiny (if that can be a texture), polished and slightly slippery in your fingers, and the brown side has a sprinkle of salt.

I really liked these turtles. Each one is about the size of a Penny. I’d take a picture for you, but unfortunately I ate them all. If I ever manage to buy another packet I promise to try and remember to take a photo. And I have already tried 2 different branches of Migros but so far no luck.


Saturday 6 April 2024

Croky Explosions Mac’n Cheese Flavour


This packet of Croky Explosions Mac’n Cheese crisps may have been bought in France, but apparently it comes from Belgium. Here’s the Croky Belgium website. I expect I chose these crisps off the shelf because this flavour looks a bit mad.

OK, do you know what? I am not convinced that Mac’n Cheese is a traditional Belgian dish. I know it’s not traditionally British, I’m pretty sure it’s not French, and I have a feeling it’s not even traditionally Italian either. Every so often I make macaroni cheese from scratch and it doesn’t taste anything like this. In fact, on first bite I thought this flavour was cauliflower cheese. Oh dear. 

So I suspect that this Mac’n Cheese flavour may be based on the ‘delicious’ sounding Mac’n Cheese ‘food’ that comes in a cardboard box in North America. The stuff you see people feeding their kids on paper plates on Instagram.

Who even wants a potato crisp that tastes of a bland flavour like pasta and cheese? Perhaps the people who loved the fabulous Marks & Spencer baked potato flavoured crisps from back in 2013. What? Yes I know that sounds like a rubbish flavour for a crisp, but they were brilliant and really did taste of baked potatoes. Don’t knock a flavour if you haven’t tried it. Such a shame M&S discontinued this fabulous crisp. I remember them with great affection.

So, these crisps are not super exciting. The crinkle cut crunch is nice, but I can’t help feeling that they taste of some sort of highly processed ingredient like cheese powder. I dare say all crisps are highly processed but you don’t always notice it so much.

Not nasty, not horrible, but I don’t think I would recommend them.

The Chef finished off these crisps before I got around to photographing a little bowl of them. I still don’t think he would recommend them though.

Monday 1 April 2024

Takis Fuego Chilli and Lime


You may recall that earlier this year when we were in Switzerland I tried Takis Volcano crispy snacks. I rather enjoyed them. They are hot and spicy, but not too hot to be eaten and enjoyed. The Chef missed out on the taste test because he wasn’t feeling at all well. In fact he was rushed to hospital the next day so no wonder he didn’t fancy a piquant snack.

While the Chef was in hospital (horse casserole for lunch one day) I acquired a packet of Takis Fuego chilli and lime flavoured snacks.

Well now, I did not scrutinise the hot/piquant-ometer carefully enough before trying this Fuego snack…. and was a bit thunderstruck at how extremely hot and spicy this crispy snack is. Ridiculously hot if you ask me. I am a bit surprised that Fuego (fire) is hotter than Volcano (volcano). You might think it should be the other way around. And I am honestly not sure if I could detect the lime. Definitely could detect the chilli.

Ski Instructor taste tester tried one. I think he probably eats considerably hotter curries than I do so has a palate better accustomed to heat, but he was not at all impressed, and pronounced this crispy snack a ‘waste of time’ . Well, so it is if you can’t bring yourself to eat it.

No surprise then that we ditched the packet. Do not buy these unless you really really really love lots of chilli. I wonder if Barry from In The Chips would appreciate this snack? I follow him on Instagram and he really seems to enjoy hot flavours.

You will be pleased to know that the Chef is now recovered from the virus that laid him low. It is unfortunately easier than we think to pick up a virus so all we can do is try to be careful.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Lay’s Paysanne Saveur Fromage Frais, Ail de Garonne et Fines Herbes

 


Oh my goodness I very nearly failed to post this packet of fromage frais, garlic and herbs flavour crisps. Apparently I carefully filed the packet on one of the bookshelves, so that I would know where to find it, and then totally forgot. I was just sitting in my usual spot on the sofa today, vaguely watching Death on the Nile (with Peter Ustinov and David Niven) for probably the 14th time, while I downloaded a podcast about ancient Egypt, when I glanced across the room and saw the packet. Oh look. Where did that come from?

So when was it exactly that the Chef and I tried these crisps? Who knows? Some time last year, I suppose. There’s no trace of a sniff of the flavour left. Life zooms past at such a rate sometimes it’s hard to keep up. 

Well, the packet says Nouveau. But if this crisp flavour is still available it won’t still be new will it?

Thinking very hard, I seem to remember this was rather a nice flavour. Fromage frais to give a lovely cool background; ail de Garonne, which is garlic, presumably grown somewhere in the Garonne region (it’s a great big river that meets the sea at Bordeaux); and Fines Herbes, which is a French catch all for lots of finely chopped herbs for when you make an omelette or want to add flavour to a casserole or even a salad. 

A nice combination. And the addition of a nice crinkle cut crisp made it a very good crispy snack.

French potatoes. Probably a French supermarket. Not entirely sure how these crisps qualify as Paysanne. It doesn’t really matter.

Friday 22 March 2024

Seafood Wholefoods Thai Chilli Crackers

 

I confess I was deeply suspicious of this rice based crispy snack which was part of a Christmas present to the Chef. I think rice cakes are disgusting and I was worried that would be the overarching taste.

However, I was completely wrong. 

This little snack has a pleasing hit of chilli heat and a nice sweetness. It sounds all the sort of flavours I don’t like in a crisp doesn’t it? But, I admit it, I really rather enjoyed this snack. Not sure about the bite which is a bit odd, but don’t let that put you off. I’m also not sure I could detect the flavour of any pizza sauce.

I see you can buy a very similar looking product from our local supermarket, possibly an exactly the same product but packaged differently, so I am sure they can be found all over the place.



Sunday 17 March 2024

E.Leclerc Pom’Lisse Chips Saveur Barbecue


We must have bought these French crisps from a E.Leclerc operated motorway service station last summer. And I have to admit that by the time we taste tested, they were rather out of date, although not soggy or nasty in any way. 

The circular logo Marque Repère means they are an own brand product.  Pom’Lisse looks as though it should be for flat/smooth crisps, but I have found images of obviously crinkle cut crisps with the Pom’Lisse label on the Lerclerc website, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

Anyway, this is a very fine cut crisp in the Swiss style with a pleasant but not very barbecuey flavour. I think I put off the taste test because I don’t really like barbecue flavour. Not sure why I picked this flavour off the shelf really. But service station shops often have entire walls of crisps and it’s hard to make a decision. 

To be honest, I don’t really like barbecues either, but that’s mainly because I hate eating out of doors. And, this is a puzzle, why has barbecue become such a successful flavour? It doesn’t taste of barbecued meat does it? Is this what barbecue sauce tastes of? Obviously I have never bought any, and probably never tasted any. Oh dear, I’m going round in circles here and not getting any answers.

To sum up: a fine cut crisp with a light bite. Not really the flavour for me. Maybe if I find the roast chicken flavour one day…


Tuesday 27 February 2024

Lay’s Paysanne Saveur Oignon de Roscoff Caramelisé


Right, here’s an interesting and surprisingly gentle flavour from Lay’s. We bought this packet in France.

I do not know what makes oignons de Roscoff (onions from Roscoff in Brittany) special. I haven’t been to Brittany and as far as I know, I haven’t tried their special onions but it seems there must be something very fabulous about them. I discovered that we could get them from our local supermarket but they are confusingly labelled Natoora, which looks like a brand name, not Roscoff, which we know because it’s a place. Life always makes things more complicated than necessary doesn’t it? The internet tells me they are the same onions. 

If these lovely crinkle cut crisps are anything to go by, Roscoff onions must have a very special gentle flavour because these crisps are very nice indeed. The Chef liked these a lot. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Paul Légèrement Salées


Paul depuis 1889. Here’s a bakery company with addresses in France and England, and lots of outlets in motorway service stations, at least across north east France. What can I tell you? I haven’t ever tried anything they make before this packet of crisps, but the Ski Instructor was happy with his lunchtime baguette. And he crunched through his little packet of crisps in record time. 

And, yes, he seemed very happy indeed with his crunch at lunch; his packet of slightly salted Paul crisps. His crunch sounded happy.

And then… the Chef and I tried a second packet. The Chef was quite happy. He liked the lightly salted taste. I thought these crisps could do with more salt.  He liked the crunch, like the Ski Instructor. I thought the bite was a bit hard and the crunch a bit heavy. And there were too many crisps folded over. Lots and lots of folded crisps.

So here we have it: men seem happy with this crisp, women (me) not so much. Not a very scientific survey so you should probably draw your own conclusions if you see a packet.

So you know what I am going to suggest: try these crisps for yourself. And ponder to yourself how come this company has its crisps made in Britain?

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Cottage Delight Garlic Italian Crostini Crackers

 

The Chef and I found this nice looking little snack in a local shop. It was just before Christmas and the shop was jam crammed with present buyers. Maybe buying some of these.

Although the Cottage Delight company seems to be based in Leek in Staffordshire, the little crackers are actually made in Italy. The label describes this crispy snack as ‘light and crisp hand crafted Italian crostini’ created by an authentic Italian family baker. Hmm… what a pity they aren’t actually light and crisp. In fact, and I really don’t enjoy giving a poor review, if you ask me this snack has a seriously heavy bite. And a very dull crunch. This is disappointing.

And what a pity they don’t taste of anything. Oh, there is a sort of garlicky aftertaste, but I can’t tell you how disappointed the Chef and I were. Because it’s nice to support small brands.

Friday 19 January 2024

Takis Volcano


We found this little 100g packet of Spanish snacks in a big branch of the Co-op in Switzerland. Made by a company rather bonkersly called Bimbo Donuts, this little packet of maize based Takis (one taki, several takis perhaps?) is a nice surprise. Basically rolled up corn chips dusted with heaps of quite hot cheese and chilli flavour dust. Yum. I couldn’t stop eating. Quite a hard bite, but you expect that with corn chips so I’m not complaining.

The bar code is shaped like a chilli so if you are paying attention that’s a bit of a giveaway. It’s always nice when the design incorporates details like that.

I don’t think I have ever seen a Bimbo Donut product before. I checked the ingredients list and it comes in English, Turkish, Swedish, Polish, Italian, German, French and Dutch. So plenty of opportunities for you to pick up a packet. The purple and orange is quite noticeable so you may be lucky to find some. I’d buy these again… and the poor Chef wasn’t feeling too good and didn’t get a look in. I scoffed the lot. We better get some more.







Monday 8 January 2024

Tesco Sweet Maple Honey Roasted Nuts


And…. here we are again with another special snack flavour for Christmas, or as our American friends will insist on saying: the holidays. We have to shop at Tesco sometimes because our regular supermarket has strange gaps on its shelves. For example, it hasn’t stocked Cheese Footballs for years. So anyway, last time we were in Tesco, I picked up quite a lot of Cheese Footballs and Treeselets and several new, probably limited edition, crispy snacks, and this is the last.

Well, deep breath. I hardly know what to say. I love salted peanuts or cashew nuts, and honey roasted nuts and dry roasted nuts. But I really do feel Tesco’s development department have gone too far with this sweet maple honey roast. In fact they’ve only gone and jumped the shark.

What? I mean, seriously what? How come these nuts taste of bourbon biscuits? And if you don’t live in the U.K. you may not know the chocolatey sandwich that is a bourbon biscuit (named for the French royal family not the drink), so here’s a Wikipedia page. There are lots of recipes online to make at home if you can’t just run out to the shops for a packet.

The Chef, who you know will eat almost anything crispy snack related, and is a true devotee of anything nutty, thought these honey glazed nuts very strange. Even, gasp!,would you believe it, too strange to continue snacking. Cliffs of Moher Taste Tester was not at all impressed. Full disclosure: neither of them could detect the taste of bourbon biscuits but trust me, I definitely could.

I asked Cliffs of Moher to take the still almost full packet home with her for boyfriend / partner (I don’t know which she prefers), Aillwee Caves, a new recruit to taste testing. We’ll see what he has to say. Before we got married the Chef used to describe me as his partner. And I always felt it sounded as though we were running a business together, selling cushions and maybe fancy lampshades. Of course he was running around skiing and cooking dinner and I was just going to work every day. 

Anyway, Aillwee Caves Taste Tester reports that these seriously weird nuts remind him of an overly sweet breakfast cereal. I suggested Sugar Puffs, which I could totally see, but he says no, some stuff called Golden Nuggets. I don’t think I have ever come across Golden Nuggets (they taste yeee haa! apparently), but it’s obvious that Cliffs of Moher doesn’t like them any more than she liked the nuts. 

So that’s not really a success is it. What a pity. However, the actual nuts seemed just like nuts.








Wednesday 3 January 2024

Tesco Tree-Shaped Sweet & Salty Pretzels


I rather like a pretzel now and then. I’d rather have a small pretzel than a large, and I thought it might be fun to try a tree-shaped pretzel for a change.

I hoped this would be a packet of half regular salty tasting pretzels and half pretzels encrusted with sugar. But you know how it is when you’re in a busy shop; you don’t always have the time to read the label properly. What I actually got is a bag full of golden and crunchy tree-shaped pretzels all of them covered in a sweet salty seasoning. What a disappointment. Because you don’t get the contrast.

Yes the pretzels are crunchy, and yes they’re golden, but there’s an awful lot of sweetness going on and not nearly enough saltiness. I expect my doctor would applaud that: less salt is better for my blood pressure (the second number apparently).

The Chef agrees. Pretzels are supposed to be salty he opined (sorry), and there isn’t nearly enough saltiness. Also, the impact of this tree-shaped crispy snack is only impactful if they are actually tree-shaped. And all too many are broken and thus shaped like broken things.

Isn’t it odd how things come along in clusters. The Reluctant Taste Testers haven’t tried anything from the Tesco crispy snack aisle for simply ages and here we have three of them, all at once, and maybe more to come. Like London buses.

Sorry Tesco. I think this is a wasted opportunity.