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International sighting: World-wide wasabi round-up
Posted: 09:02 Sun 11-Jul-2010. Price: 3-3.50 Swiss Francs. Location: Migros supermarket, Interlaken, Switzerland.
Future posts should reassure readers that Zeddy didn't survive solely on horseradish-based snacks while in Switzerland, but there's no arguing with his main thesis on Dar-Vida Snacks Wasabi (bread pieces - pictured here): "Those crazy, crazy Swiss! They love their wasabi (and why not?)" Migros also stock their own-brand Wasabi Popcorn ("Hey, hey, hey! Now you are talking. Butterkist eat your heart out. Nice and fiery. Not what you expect from popcorn."), plus the intriguingly-branded Plan B Funky Chips Wasabi-Taste ("Mmmm! These were good! Pretty hot and tasty. Much better than Pringles' attempts and a lovely lurid green shade to boot.")
...Obviously the UK's slightly behind in this field, though Zeddy also located Golden Cross Party Mix Jalapeno and Sour Cream potato snacks (£1 in Asda, Hamilton, Scotland), relating: "Back home and doing the 'big shop' on my return from hols. These were on special at the front of the shop. They are not hot like a jalapeno would be but still have the 'earthy' flavour the peppers have. Very moreish, with different shapes of potato snack within the packet." While first-time spotter "Seamaster"
agreed with previous assessments of the Fiery Wasabi Pringles, spluttering: "Being utterly addicted to wasabi peas as the ne plus ultra of salty snacks, I emitted a whelp of girlish glee when I happened upon these in my local Tesco Metro. Sadly, they're absolutely vile. On this occasion I was quite able to pop and promptly stop. The bizarre ginger after-taste alone is enough to cause retching on an industrial scale. Be warned."
Confirmed sighting: Hairy Bikers Chicken Tom Yum Crisps
Posted: 19:36 Mon 28-Jun-2010. Price: £1.75/150g. Location: Waitrose, Leicester. Sub-flavours: Keralan King Prawn with Coconut, Lemon and Olive Tagine, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese. Nutritional unusualness: No manufacturer's name given (but it's Burts).
With any luck there'll be some World Cup bargains to be snapped up this week so, in the wake of some remarkable findings from "Magnetic Ham Sandwich", here's "Nick T" with the low-down on the Hairy Bikers' (Waitrose-exclusive?) efforts: Manufactured telly partnerships haven't come very far since Pinky and Perky. The Hairy Bikers are equally wooden; likeable enough chaps but their bogus matey double act is about as authentic as Hale and Pace. Funnier though, I'll give them that. Spin-off branded food was inevitable, and this small range of crisps comes in beautiful packaging which, if you put your hand over their grinning metallic faces, just screams "Eat meeeeeee!"
Happy to oblige. Open the bag and you'll be rewarded with a good quantity of attractive russet-coloured crisps, dotted with cheery flecks of herbs and spices. The aroma is surprisingly light, but this belies a mass of complex flavours. There's a dominant sour tang which I suspect salt and vinegar fans will enjoy, also a fair attempt at chicken flavour, some sweetness and a pleasing background heat.
It's a great combination, and I'm delighted to report that no sop has been made to the frothy, boggle-eyed low salt activists. I'm really looking forward to sampling the rest of the range, so a jaunty tip of the hat to Burts. But where are the true independent artisan crisp-makers? Burts are multi-million pound exporters: they deserve their success, but endearing slightly geeky zealots? Hardly. What of Tyrrells I hear you say? Are you kidding? Their high-minded stance of never dealing with the multiples vaporised when the venture capitalists took them from behind. Let's hope Pipers and Salty Dog/Darling Spuds keep the faith.
And as for a telly partnership where friendship shone through? They were ladies, they were fat, and there were two of them. Can you guess?
Confirmed sighting: Pringles Great British Flavours
Posted: 21:59 Sun 23-May-2010. Price: 95p/165g. Location: Tesco, Peterborough. Sub-flavours: Kebab; Sea salt and black pepper; Smokey bacon; Curry. Nutritional unusualness: Kebab flavour contains smoke flavouring, beef extract.
"Jj lucia-wright" reports: I found them in Tesco today, I wish they did more different flavours like this. We cannot find any information about these Pringles, I have not seen them anywhere else or even online - there is no mention of them on the Pringles website.
...First-time spotter "Jj" here confirms earlier comments from "Magnetic Ham Sandwich" - I haven't tried the Pringles myself, but McCoy's Sausage Striker is more than a match
for Walkers' whole World Cup squad put together (and Foodstuff Finds is similarly over the moon about their Chicken Winger).
In other barbecue-style bites: Pork Farms' Peperami Spicy Hit sausage rolls are the highlight of their current tie-ins, especially when hot; Rustlers are fielding a Chicken, Bacon and Cheese Club Hot Sub against Subway's new Peri Peri Chicken Sub (which is "being used to educate consumers on how to chew their food correctly"); and McDonald's 2010 Taste Of America lineup revives selected variations from previous years - as if you'll be able to tell, as the first four all basically taste of bacon.
Confirmed sighting: Warburtons Chippidy DooDaa Chilli Jack Pitta Chips
Posted: 11:10 Mon 03-May-2010. Price: £0.64. Location: Preston. Sub-flavours: Mature Cheese and Spring Onion; Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar; Sea Salt and Black Pepper (?). Nutritional unusualness: 0.5g sat fat, 2.4g sugar, 0.8g salt per 40g bag.
"Voodoo" reports: A new snack by the famous bread makers, Warburtons... The chilli flavour, and the unusual pitta-style crisp bought me.
Not really spicy, just a cheeky hint, but they do possess a more authentic warm chilli taste compared to most snacks.
Not tried the other flavours as they do not appeal to me.
...And well done to first-time spotter "Voodoo" for today's Bank Holiday sighting of this oddly elusive product (apparently available online, and accompanied by Snack A Doodle wholegrain snacks in Sweet Chilli or Cheddar Cheese and Onion, 53p). In other belated updates:
McCoy's Sausage Striker and Chicken Winger World Cup Limited Editions should be in shops by now; it says "Made with Doritos" on Subway's new Melted Cheese Nachos (in accordance with Snackspot prophecy), but I didn't expect to see them tipped out of a scrunched-up Doritos bag in front of me; and they should have a bit on Antiques Roadshow for people like West Fife's "john mellon", who inquires: "I have a packet of Tudor Savoury Straws with a best before date of 05 OCT 85, twenty five years old. They are in excellent condition, just very dusty on the packet!! Any suggestions what I should do with them?"
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Flavour Cup Worldwide Wanderers/ Southern Europe sixpacks
Posted: 11:16 Sun 11-Apr-2010. Price: £1.28, £2 for 2 6-bag multipacks. Location: Asda, Basildon; Asda, Hamilton, Scotland. Sub-flavours: Australian BBQ Kangaroo, South African Sweet Chutney, Japanese Teriyaki Chicken, Italian Spaghetti Bolognese, French Garlic Baguette, Spanish Chicken Paella, Dutch Edam Cheese, German Bratwurst, American Cheeseburger, Welsh Rarebit, Argentinian Steak, Scottish Haggis, Irish Stew, Brazilian Salsa, English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding. Nutritional unusualness: Flavours contain such unusual ingredients as soy sauce, ginger and celery. Best not to imagine what's in the Haggis flavour.
"Father Crispmas" reports: Looks like Walkers have cobbled together another load of lazy "foreign food" stereotyped flavours in order to titillate the nation's collective palette this World Cup; just as my spring diet was about to start, Walkers bring out 15 new flavours, and now I want to try them all!
The Garlic Bread flavour could do with being a lot more garlicky, but it's good to see garlic flavoured crisps getting a higher profile than Seabrooks have managed with their own delicious but heartburn-inducing crisps. Also, it's long been a bone of contention of mine that while the rest of Europe gets Spag Bol flavour crisps, we have to do without here in the UK, so thanks for sorting that one out, Walkers. The South African Chutney flavour is pleasantly fruity and spicy. Not tried the others yet - and couldn't see any sign of the Irish Stew, Haggis or Welsh Rarebit ones in Asda, which sound pretty exciting, but some of the other flavours sound a bit uninspired to me. I will, of course, eat my words if anyone can confirm that the American Cheeseburger ones taste as good as those much-missed late-80s pocket money pleasers, "Quarterbacks".
...First-time spotter "Father Crispmas" adds this tantalising assessment to some previous comments and Charlie Brooker's extensive overview, but the pic actually comes from
Zeddy, who agrees: "A clever marketing idea to get fans munching whilst watching the footie. Mind you they will have disappeared by the time the World Cup starts. You vote for your favourite once again. 25g bags don't hold much so are consumed very quickly. So far I have tried the Spanish, the Italian and the French varieties. The garlic ones are my fave so far (though why not Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey?). There are also Scottish Haggis, Welsh Rarebit and Irish Stew varieties but as we Celts crashed and burned (from a football perspective) they must just be paying lip service. Personally, I'm glad they didn't do a World Cup Willie variety."
Confirmed sighting: McCoy's Bacon Sizzler
Posted: 19:07 Sun 28-Feb-2010. Price: 71p for 6 pack. Location: Morrisons, Peckham. Sub-flavours: Part of a "Meaty 6" multipack.
"lyndsey broadhead" reports: I found these crisps the other day and I love them. They are definitely reminiscent of a number of bacon/ham crisps that are no longer on the market and are utterly great! They remind me of a Honey Roast Ham crinkle crisp that M and S used to do a few years ago but are also very bacony as well, taste very much of "bacon crisps of the past". If anyone knows where I can buy these by the case, or as single packs I'd be obliged. I really don't like the Thai Chicken ones that come in this multipack although the Steak ones are good.
...A super-descriptive sighting here from (I think) first-time spotter "lyndsey" - though Foodstuff Finds offers at least one alternative in the form of the Walkers Cheddar Cheese and Bacon (and Sour Cream and Chive) crisps that may already be replacing last year's Builder's Breakfast bonanza. While, in other sources of sodium, "Zeddy" paid 99p for some of those Levi Roots Reggae Reggae Peanuts and Cashews in Tesco, Lanark, lilting: "A most delicious find in Tesco today. Old Levi is certainly diversifying his portfolio. The mix of cashew and peanuts blends very well with the seasoning. They have the distinctive fruity flavour followed by the slow burn afterwards. A nice product that probably won't last long though due to lack of awareness on the public's part."
Confirmed sighting: Tyrells Strawberry, Sweet Chilli and White Wine Lovely Chips
Posted: 15:26 Sun 14-Feb-2010. Price: £1.69/150g. Location: Waitrose, Finchley Road. Nutritional unusualness: Contains strawberry powder, white wine powder, chilli powder, dried red peppers.
reports: Kraft have stuck some vaguely Valentine-related incentive on their still-kicking-around-after-Christmas Tobelles, McDonald's have revived the Wispa McFlurry, and - you'll have to take my word on this as I didn't get a picture - Mr Kipling has produced a box of Fondest Fancies. But this was the year when I finally tracked down Tyrells' long-rumoured Strawberry, Sweet Chilli and White Wine variety - in practice, I could hardly detect any of those flavours (compared to other alcohol-based crisps), but at least Tyrells are keeping up a Great British tradition of potentially-misjudged romantic tie-ins going back as far as 2008's Marmite With a touch of Champagne and beyond. And if you find any madder Valentine's products reduced to clear over the next few days - well, that's exactly what today's Comments section is for.
...In other, less salacious savouries, a recent visit to the Old Kent Road Tesco yielded: some acceptably semi-fruity Reggae Reggae Peanuts and Cashews (99p/90g); these similar to Red Sky's Sun-Pat Crunchy Clusters (£1.49/150g); plus what seems to be an entirely different range of Kettle Ridge Crisps to the Crinkle (or "Wave") cut ones still sold in Asda. Elsewhere, "premium nut company" Dormen are diversifying into luxury handmade crisps (in Lightly sea salted, Chardonnay wine vinegar, Cheddar and caremelised onion, or Sweet chilli and lime, around 70p/40g), but you can at least rely on McCoy's to aim more at the Bacon Sizzler end of the market.
Semi-international sighting: Cheetos Spirals Cheese and Ketchup/ Crisp Review of The Decade
Posted: 10:57 Sun 17-Jan-2010. Price: £1.01. Location: Tesco Metro near Liverpool One. Nutritional unusualness: 6.8g of fat per 25g.
"Nachos with salsa and cheese available in my local Subway (Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury), apparently a 'trial' product, they are only available in Yorkshire I was told," confides "Dave", but it was "Adam Cox" who captured the Cheetos, reporting: "I found them on the Polish food section in the Tesco Metro in Liverpool near the Liverpool One. It says 90g but at the same time is also quite a big bag though the spirals are quite big and there is more of a cheesier taste which I think overpowers the tomato though they still taste good!"
...And if you're wondering what stood out for me in the previous decade: 2006's sale and partial break-up of Golden Wonder left no substantial opposition to Walkers' growing UK dominance, with a series of launches ranging from 2002's Sensations to last year's Do Us A Flavour and Red Sky ranges, and taking in various purchased-from-Golden-Wonder Wotsits along the way. And, after dabbling with mutations that threatened to taste of Vanilla Ice Cream or Turn Your Tongue Blue, Walkers finally went back to basics with 2008's Old Mega Monster Munch. But even an endlessly Lineker-endorsed superbrand doesn't get everything its own way, as 2003's optimised-for-one-handed-consumption Walkers Shots (see also Hula Hoops Shoks) and 2004's would-be Pringles-rivals Walkers Stax failed to capture crisp-eaters' imaginations, while 2005's Nobby's Crisps even went through a 2006 biltong incarnation, of which now only the nut-based forms survive.
Speaking of Pringles, they managed more re-inventions than you might remember, including Pringles Dippers (2004), Mini Pringles (2005), Pringles Gourmet and Light Aromas (both 2006), Rice Infusions (2007), Pringles Select (2008) and, most recently, Pringles Xtreme. Which hints at the other big story of the decade (well, other than the triumphant return of Seabrook's): "healthier", low-fat snacks. Golden Lights
and Golden Skins weren't enough to save Golden Wonder, but 2006's Walkers Baked and
2007's SunBites seem to
have outlived their other
Walkers Lites! and Cheese Heads/ Potato Heads experiments. Even Kettle Chips and The Tyrrell Corporation got in on the act with 2006's Kettle Crispy Bakes/ Lentil and Potato Curls and 2005's Apple Chips, respectively - but surprisingly the current ones-to-watch seem to be Tayto's Velvet Crunch (based on 2007's Oven Baked Whisps?), and now-less-overtly-associated-with-Quaker-Oats Snack A Jacks, which have been on our shelves since April 2000. (Probably not literally the same bags, though given their taste and consistency - how could you tell?)
Confirmed sighting: McCoy's Limited Edition Pub
Grub Roast Beef and Horseradish
Posted: 16:37 Sun 06-Dec-2009. Price: £1.00/ assorted 6 pack. Location: Morrisons, Peckham. Sub-flavours: Lamb and Mint, and "another I can't remember".
I think I've also glimpsed McCoy's Twisted on the shelves somewhere (in Salt and Malt Vinegar with Chilli, or Cheddar and Onion with Jalapeno), or it's possible that the "other" Pub Grub flavour might be from the winter 2006 incarnation. Anyway, "Tina Gray" reports: Six bags for a pound is amazing value... nice, thick 'n' crunchy. The roast beef and horseradish taste like roast beef and mustard. I need to find out whether the roast lamb and mint flavour are suitable for a vegan to eat? Anyone know... please?
...Sorry "Tina", I was going to suggest checking the ingredients, but then had a similar dilemma with Tyrrells' slightly odd-tasting Turkey and Chestnut Stuffing (£1.17/150g in Waitrose) and Honey Roast Ham and Cranberry varieties (though this did reveal that the honey roast ham and cranberry flavouring contained vegetarian whey powder, raspberry powder, liquorice powder and blueberry flakes).
Or, in other semi-Christmassy savouries, I don't know what Kettle Chips are trying to get at with their Roasted Tomato and Basil Seasonal Edition, or why Subway haven't gone for actual turkey in their back-from-last-year "Add cranberry sauce for a festive flourish" Chicken and Stuffing Sub, especially now even Tesco are jumping on the £1.99 microwaveable baguette bandwagon.
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Max Cheese-Burger flavour
Posted: 14:00 Sun 18-Oct-2009. Price: 60p. Location: Newsagents.
A triple helping of crisps today, crunched up into small pieces so you can't take them all in one go - "Fishface" doesn't add too much to our previous Walkers Max coverage with the admission that: "I haven't tried these yet, so the most I can offer without being a complete snack nerd about it is that they are in a yellow [version] of the usual packaging." "I kid you not, I saw them, but I never bought them for some reason, but McCoy's have released a Sizzling King Prawn flavour of their crisps, want proof, well, you should see them soon hopefully..." adds "Marc Carran" of Southport, while Turkey and Onion Gravy and Extra Special Pigs in Blankets (£1 for 150g, Arnold Nottingham) are among Asda's Christmas offerings according to "Laura Martin" who, regarding the Pigs in Blankets, reports: "Sausage wrapped in bacon it says on the packet but I couldn't taste much bacon. Reminded me of sausage flavour Pringles."
...Bafflingly, Walkers have added not-very-seasonal Sea Salt and Cracked Peppercorn, or English Cheddar and Red Onion to their Red Sky range - and, in other burger-based urges, McDonald's seem to have replaced the recently-revived M Burger with a Caramel McFlurry, Little Tex Mex, Garlic and Herb Chicken Snack Wrap and maybe the Big Tasty again? Subway also appear to have ditched their summertime Reggae Reggae Chicken Sub in favour of a pepperoni-packed Chicken Pizziola - though I hope it's not as much of a letdown as this Tesco Fish Fingers and Ketchup sandwich that I (over)paid £1.55 for yesterday in Golders Green.
Raspberry Cheesecake/ Coconut/ Rum and Raisin Carte D'Or
Dormen luxury handmade crisps
Betty Bassett's Red Liquorice Allsorts
Wrigley's Extra Ice Mint tins
Mr Kipling's Big French Fancy
Smarties Party Ice Cream/ Calippo Fizz
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Ginsters microwavable ready meals
Carte D'Or sorbets/ Raspberries and Meringue Haagen-Dazs
Minara Micro Meals in a jar
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Super Size Me (DVD)
Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure
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Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
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