Friday, 17 November 2017

Merry Pringles! 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar

Red-Haired Bristolian read about this crispy advent calendar in the Bristol news on her Facebook feed. I looked it up and found you can buy your Pringles advent calendar at a shop called B&M. I had never heard of B&M before (I live in the wrong place really), but by taking two buses I could acquire one of these.

And you can imagine I was really keen to try.

But. But it has only 12 days/doors. What kind of advent calendar is that? Usually they have 24 doors, sometimes 25. But 12? I didn't set out to write a blog on comparative religious practices but it does seem that someone has muddled the 12 days of Christmas ( you know: 🎶on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 🎶) with the tradition of the advent calendar. So not that impressed.

And extra not impressed: you only get 4 different flavours of Pringle. Apparently there are 34 flavours in America (although I read that on a website and it isn't clear whether America means the USA or includes Canada or South America or what), and I know that without even trying I have sampled 5 different European flavours, so why restrict the calendar to a mere 4 flavours?

Original, Sour Cream and Onion, Salt & Vinegar, and Texas BBQ Sauce. Hmmm. Not super Christmassy flavours. 40g tubs eh? Just like you can buy at your local petrol station or corner shop.

Last year the reluctant taste testers tried a Pigs in Blankets flavour Pringle (pigs in blankets in the UK means little cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon which people buy - or make - to go with their Christmas turkey). Which obviously qualifies this as a Christmassy flavour. But this is not included.

With 4 classic flavours, the countdown to Christmas has never been this exciting! 

What a shame Pringles couldn't be a little more imaginative. What a lot of kudos they would have got for including el weirdo flavours we don't usually get the opportunity to try here in the U.K. What a great Christmas present that would have been for us all.

I read online that these advent calendars are flying off the shelves. Which is great. Maybe Pringles will bring them back next year with more Christmassy flavours, and maybe more doors. That would be very exciting.

And if you're a fan of advent calendars you may like this article from The Guardian on the ridiculous rise of luxury advent calendars...  or perhaps 2017's best advent calendars? Get yours while you can!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

M&S Spirit of Summer Paprika Hand Cooked Crisps

Used to be you could only buy paprika flavoured crisps in mainland Europe where paprika is a popular flavour. I've written a few posts on Euro crisps (especially Zweifel Paprika crisps found only in Switzerland) but I'd never seen them here.

Until I found The Real McCoy's Ridge Cut Paprika crisps when we went to Avebury two years ago.

And now here's this very nice crisp from Marks & Spencer. You probably know that crisp manufacturers routinely use paprika for colour and M&S haven't scrimped on the colour here; this crisp really is a lovely paprika red.

The reluctant taste testers really approved of this crisp. I think all of them went out of their way to tell me how much they enjoyed it. A lot. Which is quite unusual. And I think they would have eaten a second or even a third bowlful only I felt obliged to take half the packet home for the Chef to try. He gets grumpy if the reluctant taste testers eat a whole packet of really good crisps.

This is a very tasty crisp. I hope M&S keep it on next year as I'm sure it would be popular.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

M&S Bloody Mary Hand Cooked Red Crisps

Wow these crisps are red. Impressively red. And the packet (the back of the packet) is fabulously rich red metallic. Very handsome indeed. Pity the front of the packet is a little more regular.

I thought these crisps were a bit vinegary, but the Chef thought spicy. And I must say I could not detect any bloody maryness about the flavour and I'm not sure any of the reluctant taste testers could either. However, I see the ingredients actually do include both tomatoes and vodka. And of course the spuds are Highland Burgundy Red potatoes.

On the back of the packet the crisps are labelled tomato, Worcester sauce and vodka flavoured. No wonder the reluctant taste testers were picking Worcester sauce as the main flavour.

Quite unusual, and not bad, but not really very bloody mary. Possibly a could do better.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Ardens Melts Cream Cheese & Spring Onion

You know those savoury little choux pastry buns that you get at fancy parties? These crispy bites are a little bit like that, with a real taste of choux pastry even though that's not crispy.

The filling is a wonderfully soft squidgy mix of cream cheese and not too much spring onion. Which can be a bit harsh. You could shove a whole one into your mouth without taking a bite at all, but I thought two bites was more ladylike. Still, I could probably manage not to drop too manycrumbs down my front.

I really enjoyed these and probably are more than my fair share. I discovered Tech taste tester has invested in a packet (currently they're on special at Waitrose) and was tucking in. He told me, somewhat dubiously I thought, that he was still eating them so he must like them.

Now, I did enjoy this crispy snack but I didn't manage to work out which bit was the melt.

Very nice.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Pret a Manger Smoked Chipotle

I bought this little packet of crisps when I went to St Paul's Cathedral the other day to see pre-blog friend (which is to say I suddenly have to invent a taste tester name for her) India Traveller and her sweet little daughter who at 6 months is very chatty even if there aren't any actual words involved.

I hadn't seen this flavour from Pret before but the woman behind the cash desk obviously thought I was mad when I asked if it was new. It seems they've had it since last year. Hmmm. But I usually only visit the Luton Airport Pret and I haven't flown from there for a while.

Very dark red crisps, lots of chilli aroma and an extremely nice chilli taste. Not too hot, a bit of a kick but somehow just right. I think all the taste testers approved. Jam Maker and Cliffs of Moher taste testers thought them pretty well prefect.

Not bad eh? Fun packet design too.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Casino Chips Campagnardes

Produits de qualite depuis 1901 says the packet. And so I assume that the Casino supermarket brand began in 1901. It's hard to find any information about it in English because of the vast number of online casinos that cluttered up my every search. I have been to an enormous Geant Casino shop somewhere near Saint Tropez in the South of France which was impressively huge, but I think this packet of crisps came from a small store in Pierrefonds.

Interestingly campagnard translates (thank you google) as countryman, campagnarde as countrywoman, and compagnardes as rustic. So now we know. This is a packet of rustic crisps. But what makes these simple sunflower oil and salt potato crisps rustic? I should have thought rustic crisps wouldn't be crinkle cut. But there you are.
Although Tall taste tester opined that these crisps are never going to set the world on fire we did seem to eat quite a lot of them. Pleasantly crunchy, lightly salty, really quite nice. And I didn't read the back of the packet so I didn't realise I should have heated them up. But we only have a microwave in th office and Casino don't recommend a micro; you've got to use an oven.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

M&S Turkey Feast Hand Cooked Crisps

5% of the price of this little packet of crisps goes to housing charity Shelter. Crisps without guilt.
You can see the packet says roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry, potato crisps with parsnip & carrot crisps, don't worry we haven't included the sprouts!  Oddly I find the older I get the more I like sprouts. And this year I have seen a number of sprout christmas tree decorations. The year of the sprout? Perhaps. But not here.

We weren't quite sure about the parsnip and carrot crisps but the turkey flavoured potato crisps were certainly very turkey tasting. 

Turkey usually works very well as a crisp flavour but seems to be available only around Christmas time. And presumably Thanksgiving too.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps Lamb & Mint

I'm not a terrific fan of meaty flavoured crisps. I think both Tech taste tester and Slightly Red-Haired Bristolian are much bigger fans of the meat than me. But I'm not certain that any of us is mad for lamb as a crisp flavour.
Don't get me wrong. I love roast lamb and rack of lamb and lamb burgers. It's just that I feel lamb should be lamb. Noble Friend of course doesn't eat lamb at all because she finds lambs too cute to eat. If I used cute as a reason not to eat things I'd be stuck on a potato only diet. But hey! at least that would include crisps.

These crisps actually do taste of lamb and mint. Although chiefly mint. Interesting.
I'm still finding the slightly chewy texture of these Welsh crisps from Scotland a little bit wrong for my taste.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Ardens Swirls Garlic & Parsley

These little pastry swirls are very tasty!
Extraordinarily tasty says the little box, layers of puff pastry entwined with garlic and parsley, dare to be different. 

Well, I definitely plan to be different if that includes eating this tasty crispy snack. Not perhaps quite as crispy as I would like but I think the taste makes up for that. Yum! Of course if they were ultra crispy and I was offered them at, say, a cocktail party (because obviously as a celebrity food writer I go to loads of swanky parties), I would for sure drop a mass of crumbs down my frock. So perhaps not so crispy is the way to go.

Are you a fan of Chicken Kiev? I am. The buttery filling is made with garlic and parsley. Something that didn't occur to me when I decided to buy this little packet. But as soon as you try, the flavour is obvious. I think it works well. And the Chef says "mmmnn..."

I bought this on special at Waitrose High Street Ken. Using one of their friendly self service tills that don't expect you to be right-handed and don't lecture you on where to put your shopping bag.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Lay's Gourmet Jambon de Pays Très Croustillant

My interest in all sorts of fancy crisp flavours was damaged some years ago by a disgusting ham flavoured crisp. So I am always dubious. But this here Jambon de Pays (country ham) flavour is pretty impressive. Maybe they are made from a better quality ham?

Nice crisps, quite crunchy, good (although quite salty) ham taste. Cliffs of Moher taste tester (she's also new) thought this crisp was pretty amazing. And I gather she is a connoisseur of Irish crisps. Apparently there's a big difference between Irish crisps and Northern Irish crisps which, she tells me, I have yet to experience.

The Chef and I tried Lay's Gourmet Nature when we were in France last month and thought extremely highly of them, so Lay's Gourmet is obviously a brand to look out for. In France though.
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