Friday 19 July 2024

Walkers Squares Cheese and Onion


Way back in 2014 I tried a packet of Walkers Squares Salt & Vinegar flavour. And it looks as though whoever got a taste, as well as me that is, quite enjoyed them. 

But it seems I have never thought of trying any other flavour of Walkers Squares. So, at last, slightly more than 10 years later, here we have the Cheese & Onion version. It’s interesting that Squares seem to be going strong, because in the last 10 years many crispy snacks, including lots reviewed on this blog, have disappeared from sight.

And what did we think? Well, Squares aren’t the same as potato crisps. They aren’t slices of potato, but made of reconstituted potato granules, and they taste quite different. So as a base for a flavour, Squares give quite a different result. And I don’t think that Cheese & Onion works. It’s fine to start off with, but as you snack through even a tiny 22g packet, the flavour works less and less well.

I asked Ski Instructor Taste Tester who ate a whole packet, because he was hungry, but he admitted he wasn’t that impressed. The Chef tried some too but he’s gone to sleep so I can’t ask what he thought.

Not bad but not tip top.

Sunday 14 July 2024

KP Original Salted Peanuts



A big display of large packets of KP Original Salted Peanuts beckoned to me in the supermarket today. Buy us! they cried. But I was very firm and only picked up a small 90g packet (peanuts are heavy - that’s less than it sounds). And when I got home I asked myself if I had ever written up this very simple snack? No ingredients but peanuts and salt and sunflower oil. Delicious. But the answer, until now, was no. And my second question is why on earth not? So anyway, here we go…

Ah, you say. Lucky old you, you can eat peanuts without suffering any ill effects. Don’t boast about it. 

Well, yes, I can eat peanuts and I am fairly sure that I have been eating them since I was about three, so that’s more than 60 years! My parents didn’t really let us eat sweets, but there were always salty snacks instead. However, as a child I was horrendously allergic to grass pollen, and cats, and goodness knows how many other things. Even 30 years later I heard that the lovely mother of one of my school friends still had nightmares about the day she very kindly took her daughter and me for a picnic in a beautiful field full of flowering grasses. So I do understand about allergies. 

I still am allergic to grass pollen and cats but nothing like so badly as I used to be. Put it like this, if I reached the final of an egg and spoon race this summer, I wouldn’t have to pull out because I couldn’t see. But looking at today’s weather I would need an umbrella.

Anyway, these salted peanuts, made without maple syrup or honey, with no chocolate chunks or bits of honeycomb in the bag, not even any herbs or jerk seasoning, just salt, are simply delicious. And I can definitely eat a whole bag while sitting on the sofa watching the tennis.

Highly recommended if you can eat them. 

Mysteriously distributed by Tayto Snacks in County Meath. I can’t work out if this is an Irish snack or a UK snack. I’m going for UK.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Migros Jumpy’s Paprika


Here’s another kangaroo-shaped crispy snack which has probably been around for some time. For all intents and purposes this packet of Jumpy’s is identical to the packet of Chios Jumpys I reviewed back in 2013. Except of course that it purports to be something else. 2013! So long ago! So many crispy snacks. I would never have imagined so many would be kangaroo-shaped.

It looks very much as though this is an own brand product from Swiss supermarket Migros, manufactured by the original company, Chios. Or possibly Intersnack Switzerland.

The Chef assures me that these imposter kangaroos taste exactly the same as Chio kangaroos. I am still not particularly keen on Jumpy’s, but the Chef remains a huge fan.

While we are discussing crispy crunchy kangaroos, here’s a different flavour from Migros that I had quite forgotten about. Not sure that I was mad about the sour cream flavour any more than the paprika, sunny or otherwise. 

Saturday 1 June 2024

Long Chips Mashed Potato Snack Sea Salt & Vinegar + 2 Other Flavours

The Chef and I waited for our train from Geneva Airport at our usual café and just as we were about to leave I spotted these three flavours of Long Chips: Sea Salt & Vinegar, Original, and Thai Chilli. But there wasn’t any time to get the Swiss francs out; only time for a photograph.
I have since managed to get hold of a packet of the Sea Salt & Vinegar. And what did we think?

Answer: I have no idea what we thought because we never opened the packet. And for some reason this review has been languishing in my drafts folder for four years. I think I will post this anyway. Here’s a website for you to take a look. Lots of flavours I have never seen, and apparently you can buy them from eBay or even Etsy.

I think this is the same crispy snack that the Reluctant Taste Testers tried before. That was a Sour Cream & Chive flavour. It could be the same, but the packaging design has had a bit of a makeover. In fact, it’s totally different. I can only ever remember seeing a packet of Long Chips at Geneva airport, but we haven’t flown anywhere since before Covid and probably never will again, so it’s very possible I will never see another packet. Unless I take a train to Latvia.

Monday 27 May 2024

Manōmasa Serrano Chilli & Yucatan Honey


Mmmn this is a tasty crispy snack.

Don’t get put off by the Mayan Yucatan honey from the mountains of Puebla (I am not sure how different it is from any other kind of honey, but like tortillas it comes from Mexico), because these tortilla chips aren’t actually that sweet. But without the honey I think this would be a different snack entirely.

Yes, you can taste the “traditional” Serrano chilli, and oh look at that… the veriest smidge of star anise. Quite hot, definitely not very hot, and a nice depth of taste. I really liked these tortilla chips because they taste just that little bit different from the norm. Ooh! Imagine eating them alongside some crispy duck and pancakes for texture, not forgetting the all important plum sauce.

The Family Vegetarian tried tentatively, I don’t think she trusts me, but agreed that this is a nice flavour. Not too sweet, not too hot. Actually pretty good. I think the Chef approves of the flavour, but we know he’s not mad about tortilla chips.

Suitable for vegetarians but perhaps not for people who don’t like coriander (cilantro) or anyone who is allergic to lentils (legumes), which I understand is an increasingly common allergy.

And please don’t complain that Manomasa should be written with a line at the bottom of the O. My iPad only features a line at the tōp and I felt it was better to offer you a line in the wrong place rather than no line at all. 

Probably won’t look to buy these again, but only because taste testing crispy snacks is hard work, yes it is!, and we really shouldn’t eat too many. Otherwise, I think you should try a packet.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

What’s this flavour? Crisp flavours in the Guardian

Found on Pinterest: presumably this fake crisp taste is about kosher salt not kosher peaches 

Here’s
a slightly skimpy review of current crisp flavours that you may find interesting or weird. When I say skimpy, I mean that it would be a miles better article if each crisp had even one or two more sentences attached. It’s really more of a list.

However, if you don’t read the Guardian (newspaper) or website, you might be interested to see what one of their regular food writers has to say. And perhaps be interested to read the comments which show that crisp fans are just as much devotees of their favourites, as wine buffs are. 

And if you need another list, here’s fairly recent one of different (read odd) flavours from Love Food. Many of these were limited edition flavours from years gone by. I have actually tried several of these crisps. The Cappuccino crisps for example were… challenging. And the Brussels Sprout flavour? Strangely sprouty.

These two articles just demonstrate how active a life you would have to lead to keep up with all the changing flavours all the different shops, because they all have a different selection, and all the different countries. It’s exhausting. Or it would be if you let it rule your life. I completely missed the Christmas Tree flavour which is rather sad, but I have tried well over 1000 crisps and crispy snacks over the last 11 years so I’m not going to let it ruin my life.

Friday 17 May 2024

Manōmasa Limited Edition Pineapple and Habanero Chilli


I suspect you won’t be at all surprised to learn that this Limited Edition packet of Pineapple and Habanero Chilli tortilla chips from Manōmasa just leaped off the supermarket shelf and into my hand this week. 

I was just walking innocently towards the croissant and crumpet department with the Radio Times and a bottle of washing up liquid, but how could I resist the bright yellow packaging or the slightly weird lure of a pineapple flavour crispy snack? 

I confess I was a little bit disappointed by these excitingly packaged tortilla chips. If I had been doing a blind taste testing I would never have guessed there was pineapple involved. The blurb on the back of the packet does say they went through 30 different variations before settling on a final version, and they are tasty, but… the bright yellow packet does give one the impression that there will be a great big pineapplely taste. And there isn’t.

I think what we have here is something I have seen more than once on the Great British Bake Off. The contestant produces a cake flavoured with, let’s say, raspberries, cherries and elderflower. The judge says yum, delicious, but I can’t taste the elderflower. And the contestant says, yes I know, but I tried it without the elderflower and it wasn’t so good. 

Actually, I think you can taste the pineapple here. But only if you know it’s there. You can taste the chilli though, and very nice too. There is, in fact, a nice lot of tasty flavour dust. And then there’s the scattering of quinoa which I have no idea if I can taste it or not, because I never tried it before. At least, I don’t think so. The little quinoa grains do have a tendency to drop off though. I couldn’t work out what the little red things on the kitchen work top were. Could have been insects. Turned out to be quinoa. I hope.

Anyway, not what I expected, but I would happily eat this crispy snack again. Probably brilliant with a dip, but I didn’t have one so I just snacked in anyway. The Chef was not impressed but cheerfully admits he would far rather have a potato crisp. He doesn’t really like tortilla chips.

NB I have read that increasing numbers of people are allergic to quinoa, so take this into consideration.




Sunday 12 May 2024

Vico Street Food Saveur Cheese Naan


Here’s another new Street Food flavour from French crispy snack firm Vico. And I think this one is rather good. 

I wanted to know why these crinkle cut crisps tasted so strongly of melted butter so I checked a recipe for naan bread. And here it is. Of course, there are many recipes available but this one looks nice and simple. Plus it immediately explains the melted butter. (Which is what I thought, but I had to check.)

The initial taste of this nicely crispy crunchy potato crisps is the melted butter. And very nice too. But the more crisps you eat, the less of this taste there seems to be. I found I had to stop eating, and come back to the packet the next day, to properly experience the taste again. Not convinced there is any taste of cheese but I’m not bothered by that.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed these crisps. I wasn’t expecting anything much. But I ate the whole packet all by myself. The Chef didn’t get a look in. Although that is his fault. I filled the half eaten packet in the kitchen so he could do a taste test. But he ignored it.

And once again I failed to photograph the actual crisps but they look exactly as shown on the packaging so you aren’t missing anything.


Tuesday 7 May 2024

Migros Party Jungle Pretzels Gesalzen


Here we have a selection of salty, slightly pretzely-tasting jungle animals from the Migros supermarket in Sierra, in Switzerland. They come in a tall narrow packet. And this crispy snack is everything we have been waiting for. 

You know you wanted salty pretzel-tasting lion shapes, didn’t you? Lions and elephants and tortoises and hippos and monkeys, and er, koalas. Maybe you hadn’t thought about it before now, but guess what? Now you know there is a hippo-shaped crispy snack out there, do you fancy trying it? Of course you do*.

I have no idea who decided on these animals. Someone in Switzerland I imagine. To be honest, if it were up to me I would have gone with the full African theme and chosen something else instead of the koala. Goodness knows, Africa is full of wonderful wildlife. Why not a crocodile, or a rhino? Maybe a giraffe or an okapi, perhaps an aardvark? Aardvarks are super cute. Or a kudu? A shoebill stork? Like I said, Africa has lots of wonderful wildlife. Or, you know, what about branching out and having one in the shape of the African continent?

Anyway, never mind the choice of shapes, this is a tasty selection of little biscuit bites, slightly tasting of pretzels but mostly of salt, and very moreish. It’s quite hard to stop snacking when you’re not sure which animal will come out of the packet next. And if the shape is a bit broken, well, they taste just as good.

I only let the Chef eat a few but he definitely approved.

I’m thinking of an Australian Outback selection of pretzels. Koalas, obviously. Kangaroos, wombats, platypus, echidna, and perhaps a numbat (numbats are great), or a saltwater crocodile. There we go, a whole nother product. The Jungle Pretzels could be rebranded as African Savannah Pretzels. But I am getting picky. I have probably watched too many BBC wildlife shows. (NB Australia would be a great shape for a snack. I know because I have an Australia shaped cookie cutter. It makes a good scone. So does the wombat shape.)

Recommended for people who like pretzels or salt or crispy snacks.

*possibly only available in Switzerland, or maybe France if you are lucky.

Here’s a numbat. You can see I found him on Instagram.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Vico Curly Sweety Cacahuètes caramélisées pointe de sel


The other day the Chef was talking about his childhood drives through France with his parents and his younger brother. Of course that was before the splendid motorway network was built with its service stations full of all sorts of interesting products to buy. He was bemoaning the serious lack of nougat on sale these days. I don’t like nougat myself, but I know a lot of people who love it. And it is disappointing to see shelves which used to be stocked with nougat filled with American sweets instead. There are an awful lot of British crisps on sale too. You know I am always on the lookout for French snacks and not something I could pick up at the local supermarket.

It seems his journeys over the years have been full of nougat, and, what has never been mentioned before, caramel covered peanuts. I couldn’t find any nougat, but I was pleased to find this packet of salted caramel  peanuts. The Chef was not excited. He said it wasn’t what he had meant. Because he meant peanuts with a hard brown coating.

I opened the packet anyway and I think this is a delicious little packet of peanutty goodness. Nice quality peanuts, not small or hard, and slathered in shiny, slightly sticky salted caramel. Yum! Very, very moreish. I ate rather a lot of them.

I put the packet in the kitchen and fancy that, would you believe it, the Chef at quite a lot too.

The packet tells us this was voted product of the year in 2023. I don’t know what the competition or the category was but I can easily see why these yummy peanuts won a prize.

For other Vico Curly products see here, or here. Goodness knows why all their peanut products are called Curly!

Saturday 27 April 2024

Vico Street Food Saveur Poulet Tex Mex



Nouveau! And for a change I think this actually might be a new crisp flavour. I only saw it in one service station, but to be honest I wasn’t looking very hard this year.

And Street Food! That’s not very French sounding, is it? Although the French world of marketing and advertising has been thoroughly infiltrated by English, or maybe American. So perhaps the French way of life has been infiltrated by eating street food rather than having lunch at a nice little bistro on the corner?

To be honest I’m not a big fan of eating outside, and therefore don’t really go for street food. Too many wasps. And I have never knowingly eaten Tex Mex food. Oh how boring you must think me. So what I am trying to say is I am poorly qualified to review this particular crisp flavour.

A nice narrow ridged crinkle cut crisp (compared to the wider or perhaps broader ridge usual for U.K. crisps), a good bite, hot and spicy but not too hot, a fair amount of flavour dust: quite nice. I’m not sure there is any detectable taste of chicken but perhaps there’s a faint aftertaste of synthetic crispy snack type not actually chicken flavour. Mysteriously moreish. I can’t really decide why.

The Chef agrees these crisps are spicy and hot, and definitely don’t taste of chicken. But I can see he will probably finish the packet.

Vico is a French company owned by snack giant Intersnack. It’s based in Picardy in Northern France, which is notable for huge gothic cathedrals and lots of war memorials. 

This is the first review I have written since my blog has passed 500,000 hits. That’s a bit of a surprise considering I only began writing about crispy snacks because I was bored on a rainy day in August 2003.

And on reflection… I don’t think I would bother to buy another packet of Poulet Tex Mex.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Migros M Classic Triangles Paprika


Another packet of crispy snacks from Swiss supermarket Migros (but manufactured in The Netherlands). And this time not shaped like tiny turtles, but like triangles. It really is unusual. I have never seen a triangle shaped snack before. Well, yes, tortilla chips are triangular, but not like this.

Normally I would say I love an extruded smooshed up maize based snack. And these triangles certainly do have a nice bite. And what’s more, they don’t gum themselves to your teeth like so many such snacks do. 

But, most unfortunately, I don’t really like the taste. The paprika taste I am used to is slightly sweeter and nothing like so smoky. I know smoky flavours are all the rage these days, but I am not convinced. I can do without the smokiness thank you. And let’s get rid of the slightly greasy aftertaste please.

I did manage to eat almost an entire packet in one sitting out of a sort of addiction to the triangle crunch, and for my pains I got smelly orange fingers. The smell lasted through several thorough hand washings, an overnight sleep (not just a quick nap) and a bath. 

I really would like to try this crispy snack in a different flavour; but I think it only comes in paprika.

A good try though: the shape is great.





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.

Bought another packet. Ate the lot. Sorry.


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 Cheese & Chilli


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.