Friday, 9 June 2017

Pringles Original "Perfect Flavour in Every Bite"

I had to go into the hospital yesterday morning for an echo bubble test on my heart (I think that's what they call it), and have a blood pressure monitor fitted. This is horrible. I hate having my blood pressure taken; it's really painful. So I was feeling rather gloomy and in need of cheering up.

Luckily the hospital has a small shop. Quite a nice shop with lots of useful stuff for patients like extra pants and hand cream. It sells a selection of less than healthful drinks and snacks not ideal in a hospital (but also healthy fruit) and lucky for me I spotted some small tubes of Pringles at the back.

Pringles have recently been advertising an updated version of their crispy snacks featuring "perfect flavour in every bite". I don't eat Pringles very often so I honestly cannot remember how patchy, if at all, the flavour was before.  Basically "original" is quite a strong salty taste and as always with Pringles they leave a tingle in your lips. But tasty.

Do beware that this extremely tasty taste comes from 9% of the recommended daily intake of an average adult. And this in a a 40g tub of snacks. Really a lot of salt. But only the plus side; suitable for vegans.

Whether it's the case or not it seemed to me that these updated Pringles are slightly finer than before which I think is an improvement. And the Chef agreed. Certainly there were more broken bits of Pringle in the tube so maybe they are slightly thinner than before. I really do think this gives a nicer snack.

Pringles were recently named and shamed by the Recycling Association because their packaging is almost impossible to recycle. I see you can recycle the plastic lid but the metallic/card tube must be a nightmare. Come on Kellogg's, you bought this brand is 2012. Isn't it time to redesign the tube?

Back to the hospital today for a 72 hour heart scan. Oh joy.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Good Housekeeping Magazine: Gourmet Salt & Vinegar Crisps

I don't normally see Good Housekeeping Magazine so I wasn't really aware they had a "Taste Test" feature although it isn't a surprise. It looks like a regular monthly feature and could probably be a taste test of anything from plum jams to baked beans to ready to cook frozen prawns. Who knows? Except a regular Good Housekeeping reader. Anyway, lucky for me that the September 2015 issue I chanced to pick up while I was waiting to see Porsche Fan Chiropractor happened to be a review of crisps.

Not just any old crisps either, although they are nearly all supermarket own brand crisps which many reviewers consider beneath contempt. Pah! What do they know? There is nothing the matter with supermarket crisps; some of them are extremely good. We have offerings from both Sainsburys and the Co-op on our Recommended list (see right).

Here we have salt & vinegar crisps which of course is one of the original crisp flavours in this country, and gourmet salt & vinegar at that.

Well now, you're probably thinking "Hang on there Miss Cheeseburger-Crisps, this is September 2015 you're talking about. Isn't that rather a long time ago?". Yes, it is. But the reluctant taste testers and I tried the winning crisp in November last year and if it isn't still available I'd be very surprised because we thought this was pretty tasty.

The taste testers at the Good Housekeeping Institute tested salt & vinegar crisps from seven supermarkets and here we have the winning crisp Co-op Truly Irresistible Sea Salt and Chardonnay Wine Vinegar Crisps which were awarded 80 points out of 100.

Runners up were Waitrose Sea Salt & Somerset Cider Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps 74/100

Tyrrell's Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Crisps 75/100

M&S Hand Cooked Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Crisps 76/100

And Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps 76/100.

The reluctant taste testers and I haven't tried all of these crisps. But here's what we thought of two of them. And it might be worth our while seeking out the others if they are still available.

By the way, I did admit to Porsche Fan Chiropractor that I had torn a page out of one of the only two magazines in the waiting room. He didn't seem to mind.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Ideal Choco Crisps

So (taking advantage of the current style of explanatory speech), so I was looking at Amazon a couple of months back and spotted these chocolate coated crisps which looked rather interesting. But I told myself that there were plenty of crisps in the shops and anyway I was shortly going to be visiting a massive crisp heaven supermarket in France so it would be silly to buy them off Amazon.
Fast forward to the other day when we suddenly needed one of those lampshade ensmallifier rings that make the bit of your lampshade that sits on the part the bulb goes into smaller. Yeah I didn't know what they were called either but it turns out that Amazon's search engine was able to help me out there. Anyway, lovely old Amazon alerted me to the fact that Choco Crisps were now reduced in price. So I bought a packet.


Well, these Spanish crisps come in two silver baggies inside a cardboard box. I went into work for a cup of coffee this week because I've been missing all the taste testers and they claim to be missing me. Plus, Tall taste tester emailed to say they have been finding themselves very short of potato based snacks. So I took one of the little silver baggies in with me. Well, I thought they might be disappointed if I arrived minus potatoey products.

Guess what? All the reluctant taste testers said they liked them. "Wrong but good" said Tall taste tester taking another. "Oh these are quite nice" said Tall Elegant taste tester. Yes, quite nice plain crisps with quite a lot of quite nice chocolate. As you can see from the photograph it's almost quite nice chocolate with a crisp on top.

Not sure I would buy them again though because to be honest crisp plus chocolate is slightly weird.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Corkers Simply Sea Salt

When flying home from Geneva to London the Chef and I discovered this interesting box of crisps on  the list of snacks offered by Easyjet.

 I was pretty sure we had tried a Corkers crisp before and I was right: it was a sausage and mustard flavour we bought at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  And those crisps came in a normal style of packet. I checked the Corkers Crisps website and it seems that normally their crisps do come in a regular packet as before, so maybe the box is just for planes.

This is actually a pretty good salted crisp and the Chef and I wolfed them down quite quickly.

And this is a better recommendation than it sounds, because your sense of taste is less good than usual at altitude. So if you think it tastes good at 30,000 feet, then it really does.
The packet tells me that Corkers Crisps hold the Guinness World Record for biggest ever packet of crisps and have sent a packet into space! I hardly know what to say to that. They also claim that people prefer to snack on crisps while watching television rather than chocolate. Hmmmn I think the Chef would have something to say about that.

On top of everything, they have a nice little guy throwing his rubbish away responsibly.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Laurieri Scrocchi con Semi di Sesamo e di Papavero

This is a packet of crisps we acquired on the train from Florence to Milan. It's the fancy kind of train which travels at 298kph and the staff hand out free newspapers and snacks. White wine or prosecco, madam? I'll have a prosecco please, and you can just see it behind the pocket in this photograph. The Chef had a cup of coffee with free packet of chocolate biscuits.

Laurieri are described as master bakers the packet, and excitingly, they manufacture this crispy snack in Matera, a UNESCO world heritage site. That sounds great but it is slightly unusual information for a crispy snack packet. I haven't been to Matera but here's a link to a page with a really lovely photograph and a little information. The image on the packet is obviously Matera.
This is a baked crispy crunchy snack with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. You can see from the photograph that it really is a tiny packet with not many little biscuits in it. And the biscuits themselves .... sadly not very exciting at all. The taste is a bit like water biscuit or matzo and the crunch is very hard. I can't detect any sesame or poppy seed taste at all.

Suitable for vegans says the packet. Well, that's nice. But if I was a vegan I think I would like something with a bit more taste. It's a shame the most exciting thing about this crispy snack seems to be the place it is baked. The Chef ate the chocolate biscuits with no complaints so I think they were a better option.
And here's a photo of the train speedometer which they show  in every cabin to assure you that you really are going that fast. 298 kilometres per hour is 185 mph.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Caffè la Terrazza, la Rinascente in Florence

In Florence the department store la Rinascente is a lot smaller than Harrods or Selfridges but it has something I don't think either of the London stores has: a rooftop terrace. Take the escalator up to the top floor, cross over to the back of the room to the tiny wee food department and look for the stairs which take you up to a minute cafe. And then there's another little flight of stairs up to the terrace. Do beware. The terrace is not very big so I imagine it's tough (or impossible) to find a table at busy times. When we were there in March there was only one empty table.

This little cafe is written up all over the place as having great views over the rooftops of Florence. And I suppose that's true. But you should prepare also for great views of air con units, TV dishes, rainwater goods and broken roof tiles. I reckon you get a better, and much closer, view of the famous dome if you go to the top floor of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. And that has the merit of being wheelchair accessible.

Why, you ask, am I boring on about a rooftop cafe? This hasn't suddenly morphed into a travel blog has it? Well, no. But although I haven't been testing many crisp snacks recently, here's something I did try.
Yes, when you order a drink here you get a crispy snack. Corn chips (in the traditional triangular shape) and plain salted potato crisps. Pretty tasty too.

So, (and have you noticed that every second sentence begins with "so" these days? I noticed it particularly when I was in hospital. Every single person began every single sentence with "so". Particularly the doctors. It was a little bit disconcerting and I began to feel I was missing out on an important language trend. Oh dear!) so, if you go to a nice cafe in Florence and only fancy a snack, do check out the other tables for signs of crispy snacks because you might not need to order anything other than a drink.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Caffè Gilli in Florence

After my brush with hospital the Chef and I went on holiday in the hope that I would be able to completely relax and feel a lot better. Although I have to admit that Florence is not the most relaxing place in the world, it was nice to get away.
One day we fancied a snack at lunchtime so we went to Caffè Gilli in the Piazza della Repubblica. I read that it was opened by a Swiss family in 1733, which is nice, and I also read that it's difficult to get served and the waiters may ignore you. We didn't have that experience here at all; far from it. In fact we were ushered in by a senior-looking waiter and served quite promptly.
What you need to know is that if you order a cup of coffee and a glass of wine at Caffè Gilli you get a  selection of tasty snacks. You get nuts, little square chunks of something a bit like quiche, and a dish of  corn chips.

Now I don't know who manufactures these corn chips but I can tell you they are  pretty tasty. It's interesting trying round corn chips instead of the usual triangles.
Our hotel has a live feed of the Ponte Vecchio projected on to the lobby wall. Because it's black and white it looks weirdly like a silent movie from the 1920s but if you step out into the street you see all the same people.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Monomasa Tomatillo Salsa

Monomasa do have the nicest designs I really like the way they make a fancy pattern from the ingredients. So I guess what we are looking at here is a tasteful arrangement of Peruvian Amarillo Chillies, some green Mexican tomatoes, and a sprinkling of Quinoa.

I'm not a mad keen fan of tortilla chips and these are particularly floury which is not a texture that really appeals to me, but some of the reluctant taste testers were happy to snack into this high quality product. The taste was quite nice.

Monday, 13 March 2017


Little Square cheesy biscuits. Not super exciting we thought  but fairly OK.  I'm sure I have heard of Cheese-Its and I was hoping for more exciting stuff. But as Slightly Red Haired Bristolian said, these are kind of like mini cheddars only not so much.

For some reason I seem to have forgotten to photograph this little square snack. Perhaps because I wasn't that thrilled with them. OK but that's as far as I am prepared to go.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Walkers Bacon & Tomato Ketchup

These crisps are supposedly made with Heinz Tomato ketchup and I have to say I'm not that madly impressed. The ketchup flavour is basically more of a vinegar flavour than ketchup and I would never have guessed it was Heinz. It reminds me of that almost clear liquid you get when you open a fresh bottle of ketchup and don't shake it up enough. History Graduate taste tester agreed with me and Noble Friend had much to say on the subject of vinegar. 

We couldn't detect much sign of the bacon and didn't really feel we could recommend this crisp. Definitely could do better.

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