Thursday, 22 March 2018

Lotto Monsters Tomato Flavoured Snack

This packet promised so much. Monster shaped snacks (albeit a very odd shaped monster), and a tomato flavour which can sometimes be very tasty.

Lotto is a brand owned by Best Foods. Which is based in Bucharest and Sofia. So that's Romania and Bulgaria. And guess what? You can buy this this crispy snack in North London. Well, you won't be surprised to learn you can buy pretty much anything in North London.

Very sadly the reluctant taste testers and I were not very taken with this crispy snack.

The texture wasn't right. And the flavour... was far too sharp.  Not very tomatoey and not to our taste. You can see the tomato flavour strewn across the monsters in the picture below. But it's not our idea of tomato.

If the reluctant taste testers and I had been Romanian or Bulgarian we might be big fans. But since we are British or Irish we aren't.

Sorry guys.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Vitaminka Stobi Flips with Peanuts

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian found this packet of crispy snacks in her local Turkish shop. She says the shop is full of interesting continental snacks she’s not seen before. So she bought this packet for the reluctant taste testers to try.

Stobi Flips are basically corn puffs with peanuts. This is a style of snack you don’t really get in the UK, but you do find it in France. And Israel. And apparently Macedonia too.

Actually if you’ve tried one of these peanut snacks I think you’ll wonder why we don’t get them in the UK. I mean, corn puffs are popular and peanuts are popular so why not a combination of the two?

The packet tells me that this was a “Macedonia superbrand” in 2009. And why not? This snack smells peanutty when you open the packet, has a soft crunch and really tastes savoury and peanutty. Not bad at all.

Giraffe fan taste tester (currently on maternity leave so we haven't heard from her in a while) introduced me to Bamba Peanut Snacks which I reviewed in 2013. She's a big fan. It was the first peanut snack I ever tried - that wasn't actually a peanut. And I wasn't quite prepared for the interesting taste/texture combination. So I gave it a less than enthusiastic review.

Well, I've taste tested a great many crispy snacks since then, so I've got used to all sorts. And learned to enjoy all sorts of snacks. Probably I would now recommend Bamba ahead of all the other peanut snacks that I've tried. But Stobi Flips aren't half bad. I ate quite a lot of them.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Popchips Galactic Puffs Sour Cream & Chive

Well, this Star Wars themed crispy snack proved to be a popular choice.

Except with Tall taste tester who doesn’t get sour cream as a crispy snack flavour. But the rest of the reluctant taste testers seemed quite keen. I have to say I was a little disappointed that although the packet has a great big image of R2-D2, but there was no R2-D2 shaped snack.

Slightly Red Haired Bristolian must have been disappointed too because she made a lot of R2-cheese2 jokes. Maybe R2-D2 was the “secret shape “ which I didn’t spot. It’s hard to keep an eye on every shape when you’re sharing with everyone in the office.

These are the snacks you’v been looking for” Obi Wan never said that, but perhaps he wasn’t aware that “every Jedi knows that boring snacks are the path to the darks side”. I dare say his mind was on higher matters.

I liked the TIE fighter shape best but they all taste the same. A nice light crunch, and not a bad sour cream and onion flavour. Perhaps a little oniony for me, but as I said before, the reluctant taste testers were quite keen. And I think it comes in another flavour... so another taste testing in store.

Vegetarian, gluten free, nothing artificial and, er, popped with the force.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Bobby's Spirals Salt & Vinegar

As you can see the reluctant taste testers and I have been working our way through the Bobby's oeuvre and this is what came next.

Salt & Vinegar can be a really harsh flavour but not this time. Quite mild. Tall taste tester, while taking a spiral,  said the flavour was vinegar followed by vinegar, quite vinegary. I asked him if he liked vinegar? He didn't seem quite sure, but he took another spiral anyway. So not poisonous then.

No, no. The reluctant taste testers quite enjoyed this crispy snack; the texture is good and a spiral shape is always fun. The packet was finished by lunchtime. Yes, I know it's a small packet and that's about 4 hours. But we keep the bowl of crisps in the kitchen next to the coffee machine, so you have to get up from your desk to graze. I'm sure this must be a healthier option than crispy snacks al desko. I've never been a calorie counter (I come from an annoying slender family with small appetites) but I imagine that getting up from your desk and walking to the kitchen probably counteracts a couple of spiral-shaped snacks.

Anyway, not their top product (in our opinion) but another tasty snack from Bobby's.

You know, it's rather distressing. The local Post Office sells most of the Bobby's crispy snack selection except the one I am particularly keen to try: the Burger Bites. The cheeseburger flavour Burger Bites. How sad is that?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Casino Chips à l"Ancienne

Casino crisps are own-brand crisps and as such a lot of people; self-styled “crisp connoisseurs”, sneer at them dreadfully and refuse to give them credence as a “proper crisp”.

But that's a really blinkered attitude, and some of my absolute favourites are own brand crisps. So I'm not going to worry about that sort of nonsense.

This a l'ancienne flavour is basically an old fashioned style of crisp. Thin cut with a light crunch, and a simple salted flavour. What you might have expected in the 1960s perhaps. And honestly, none the worse for that.

The reluctant taste testers rather enjoyed this old fashioned crisp, but since the crisps are quite small and the packet quite large not all got eaten. Not for want of trying though, and Tech taste tester seemed quite keen to take the remainder of the packet to a good home. I hope Teaching taste tester (who is not accustomed to joining in the taste testing because, you know, she teaches and doesn’t work in our office) enjoyed this crisp.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Miss Vickie’s Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream / Poivron et Crème Champêtre

Here’s another Canadian crisp from Miss Vickie's. I see the Canadians follow the USA in their spelling of chilli: chili. (Or "child" as my always annoying auto correct would have it.) And again I look at the packaging and think 1887 when actually it says 1987. See what I mean though? It's the lacy edging that does it.

If you've read a number of my posts you may have noticed that I don't usually like sweet chilli as a flavour. And I don't think the sour cream part of the flavour is particularly evident here so that doesn't really impact on my opinion. In this case (unusually for me) I thought the sweet chilli was pretty tasty and I think the reluctant taste testers liked it even better than I did.

Sometimes it's hard to write a lot about a crisp that is quite nice. Not nasty, not fabulous, but quite nice.

So here we are then. A quite nice sweet chilli crisp. Which we quite enjoyed.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Pret a Manger Sweet n Salt Popcorn

Whenever I go somewhere different there’s always a chance that I will come across a new crispy snack. So last week Noble Friend and I went to the V & A to see the Winnie the Pooh exhibition (wonderful to see the original drawings), and on the way home Noble Friend had to top up her Oyster card so I wandered into Pret a Manger to see if they had any new varieties of crisp. Well they didn’t, but then I thought why not try a packet of popcorn instead?

Why not indeed. The reluctant taste testers haven’t tried popcorn in ages.

Perfectly popped. It’s much harder to perfect the art of popping corn than you might think. The type of corn, the seasoning... even the humidity, all play a part in this surprisingly tricky balancing act. So says the packaging, and it’s quite interesting especially considering how not very nice some commercially produced popcorn is.

And the blurb on the packaging is quite correct. I was very impressed with this popcorn. Very nicely popped, lovely and fluffy, pretty much just right. And the flavour is just right too. Just enough sweet and just enough salt. Not a strong taste but... just right.

I liked this popcorn, the reluctant taste testers (except those that generally don’t like the concept of popcorn) liked this popcorn, and I suspect Goldilocks would have liked this popcorn. Because it’s just right.

Passionately popped. Very nice flavour.

Monday, 5 March 2018

O'Donnells of Tipperary Hand Cooked Crisps Ballymaloe Relish & Cheddar Cheese Flavour

A great surprise this week when Cliffs of Moher taste tester got a parcel from her mother in Ireland. Because as well as the expected contents, there was a packet of genuine Irish crisps for me and the reluctant taste testers to try, and a jar of Irish relish for Noble Friend. Well, that’s a very kind gesture from someone I have never met, and may never get to meet.

An especially kind gesture as this is a crisp probably not available in the UK, in fact a brand of crisp I had never heard of; and so would not have searched for. But what a treat! This is a great crisp.
What a tragedy it would have been never to have been made aware or this brand, because this is a really great potato crisp. Nice big crisps with a very good crunch, and a fabulous flavour. I had never tried Ballymaloe Relish before (unlike Noble Friend who loves it), but I thought it made a pretty great crisp flavour. The cheese element isn’t very noticeable but that does not detract from a really top flavour. Although it would be interesting to see what it would taste like sans cheddar.

I think all the reluctant taste testers enjoyed this Irish crisp very much. Except Tall Elegant taste tester who doesn’t much care for tomatoes.

And I would just love to try a plain salted version of this wonderful crisp because I think that's the ultimate test of a good crisp. But Cliffs of Moher taste tester tells me that the Irish don't really care for plain salt as a crisp flavour. Speaking (writing) as a person with a Scottish name but lots of Irish ancestry I find that very weird.

Nevermind. This is a fab crisp. Get yourself to Ireland and try it for yourself because I don't think you can get this crisp brand anywhere else. And well done Ed O'Donnell for deciding to diversify.
Read about O'Donnell's here.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Bobby’s BBQ Sauce Potato Snax

Yes, you’ve guessed. I went back to the Post Office to look for another crispy snack from Bobby’s.

Another fun extruded snack made with potato starch, wheat flour and rice flour, it has a lovely light crunch. And a great gentle BBQ flavour. Very nice indeed. The reluctant taste testers and I liked this crispy snack a lot.

It’s nothing fancy, but the taste and the texture are great. Top marks. You just don't get all that many of these latticework cushions in the packet because they're quite a bit bigger than you think.

Actually I don’t think the packaging design does this snack any favours. Or any of the Bobby’s snacks. I think the ones we have tried are top quality, which is what the Graffiti Artist told me, and what the man in the Post Office who sells me these snacks think too. I think the packaging might put off crisp connoisseurs.

But then, perhaps those who fancy themselves crisp connoisseurs don't eat crispy snacks anyway. In this case it's definitely their loss.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Golden Wonder Animal Adventures Cheese Flavour Snack

I spotted this completely new to me crispy snack at the Post Office where I was buying more Bobby’s snacks for the girls at work.

Let’s take a look. Obviously aimed at small children; it features Leo the lion, Ellie the elephant and Marcel the monkey. I was just thinking that Marcel was a pretty odd name for a monkey, but wasn’t he a character in Friends? And anyhow I was brought up thinking Zephyr was a normal name for a monkey. Not read the Barbar books? Well then, you wouldn’t know what I’m on about.

Also obviously this is a Pom-Bear snack in disguise. I don’t remember what Pom-Bears are made of (this is a dried potato, maize starch and tapioca snack) but the texture is quite similar. The crunch is soft and slightly bubbly.

The flavour is not very cheesy. Actually there’s not a lot of cheese in the recipe. But that doesn’t seem to matter. The gently savoury taste is very...... tasty.

The reluctant taste testers seemed to quite enjoy this snack. Even ultra picky “that’s not a crisp” Senior taste tester admitted he had eaten too many and must stop.

I liked the elephant shape best.

Oh look at that! This Golden Wonder crispy snack comes from Bobby’s, makers of many fabulous crispy snacks. Well done Google for showing me that. I wonder why they’ve used the Golden Wonder brand? Well, that certainly explains why they were in the same rack with the Bobby’s products in the Post Office.

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