Friday, 12 July 2019

Packet #105: M&S Chicken Katsu Curry Ridge Cut Crisps

The last time I had a Chicken Katsu Curry I was a meat-eating teenager wearing very baggy jeans in Celtic Tiger Dublin.

Things have changed since then in more ways than one. When I saw this wasp-esque packet of Crisps in town the other day, I couldn't help but indulge in a spot of nostalgia.

On opening the packet, I got a strong whiff of curry. But not a 3-in-1 style curry. It was more of a posh Thai takeaway sort of scent.

The Crisps in the packet were remarkably in tact. A lot of large Crisps, which always leads to a challenging yet satisfying eat.

I really enjoyed the texture of the Crisp. It's very sturdy and very crunchy. It's almost like a Frisp that's been double cooked or perhaps condensed. I don't think it's necessary a winner for everyone. For those with a weak jaw, the extra work might get tiresome. But if you're into a crunch, then you're in luck.

The flavour leaves a little to be desired. In my (albeit limited) experience of Chicken Katsu Curry, the dish is a basic brown gloop with a strong curry taste. This is more like a spiced coconut sauce type taste. And couldn't get any chicken favour at all. I think the Crisp Creatives at M&S aimed for a posh flavour, but it ended up a bit sickly.

I even considered not finishing the packet straight away.

However, because I enjoyed the texture so much, I'd be open to experimenting with another Crisp from the range with a different flavour.


Friday, 24 May 2019

Packet #104 - Walkers Max Strong Jalapeño and Cheese

A pack of crisps can often be like a promotion/relegation playoff. So much hope, so much anticipation. Will it be packed full of flavour, deliver a good crunch and leave you wanting more? Or will it be limp, lifeless and forgettable? Success and you're in the big leagues, failure and you're out.

Now Walkers would often be a bit of a yo-yo pack in my eyes. Sometimes they pull it out of the bag but often they leave you questioning your love of crisps. That's why it was a huge risk picking up this share bag of Walkers Max Strong Jalapeño AND Cheese especially after Christine's magnificent review of another flavour. But sometimes dear reader, just sometimes, it's worth taking that risk. You can hear the crunch instantly, it's loud and consistent, just like any good defender. The next thing you notice is the power of the cheese hitting you in the face like a strikers wayward shot, neatly followed up with a fiery finish of jalapeño. They finished the job with consistency and before I knew it the bag was over and this pack was in the big leagues.

I guess what we can take from this is that we shouldn't judge a pack by it's cover. We should be bold and brave and dive two handed at even the most outrageous looking packs of crisps. Don't be afraid, eat more crisps.


Monday, 11 February 2019

Packet #103: El Valle Sabor Huevo Frito

Do you ever get up in the morning craving crispy fried eggs? That homely sulphuric taste, doused in oil and salt is a joy to many people, even people who don't like Crisps.

If you both like Crisps AND fried eggs but don't feel like cooking, we have the solution for you. And that solution is: El Valle Sabor Huevo Frito. For English speakers, the variety is helpfully translated as Fried Egg Taste Chips.

The white packet is reminiscent of egg whites and it has classy gold and black accents. The serving suggestion on the packet appears to be a handful of this Crisps served alongside a fried egg on a slate. And the foil on the inside of the packet is gold instead of the classic silver, which is another elegant touch.

In order to get the true flavour of these adventurous Spanish Crisps, I ate them solo and straight out of the packet.

The first thing that hits you is the smell. A definite and distinct fried egg smell. Anyone who's been in a cafe on a Sunday morning will be familiar with this particular waft. So far, so egg.

When you take one of these Crisps in your hand, you'll immediately feel oil and quite large chunks of salt. That's a good sign in my book.

They have a dense, weighty consistency. These babies are definitely a posh Crisp with a loud crunch to match.

Most of these Crisps are fairly large in size and held their shape well in the suitcase of my Mother In Law, who brought this packet back from Spain for me to try. She is a very generous Mother In Law, who clearly could have a fine career in the Crisp transportation logistics business.

So we have near top marks for size, density and presentation. But what about taste? You will be astounded to know that these taste EXACTLY LIKE FRIED EGGS. It's incredible. On first bite, they are reminiscent of the crispy bits on the edge of the fried egg whites. But then, when you move on to your subsequent handfuls, it develops into a somewhat yolky taste. It really is amazing.

Whoever made these Crisps is a genius.


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Packet #102: Ruffles Double Crunch Zesty Cheddar

Today is Thanksgiving! It is a day where, I'm told, people put marshmallows in their dinner in the United States of America. WHAT A DAY.

To celebrate this big USA day, I decided to treat myself to a packet of Ruffles Double Crunch Zesty Cheddar.

The bag of Crisps, or "Chips" as they say in America, is very American looking in its design. It looks very "High School" or "Baseball" or something.

The packet also promises "RRRidges" and "2x The Crunch Compared to Ruffles Original Potato Chips".

The first thing that you notice when you open the bag is a very, very bad smell. A terrible smell. It's difficult to describe. Maybe a bit like fermenting corn mixed with rotting mayonnaise. They could be the worst smelling Crisp I've eaten all year.

Surprisingly, the taste is actually pretty good. It has more depth than a regular cheese Crisp and the Zesty Cheddar flavour is complemented by a selection of spices and a large whack of garlic.

The texture is TOP NOTCH. I don't know if these really have exactly double the crunch of Ruffles Original Potato Chips because I've never had them, but they are definitely very crunchy. A thick, substantial crunch. It feels like two Hunky Dorys smushed together.

This leads to a really loud crunch. And there are few things more satisfying than a really loud crunch of a Crisp.

They are also orange in appearance, which has been the unofficial colour of America for the past two years or so. A very fitting shade for the times we live in.

I don't know if I'd choose to eat another packet of these Crisps anytime soon. They leave a very unpleasant smell on your fingers and your breath. But there are also somewhat pleasing.

In conclusion, if you like a cheese Crisp and you have a heavy cold, or just a poor sense of smell, give these Crisps a crunch.


Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Packet #101 - Walkers Poppables Sweet Chilli

It's too late to have lunch. It's too early to have dinner. And you're waiting for a bus. What do you do?

Well, this dilemma came upon me only today and I decided to do the only thing that felt right.

I opened up a bag of Walkers Poppables Sweet Chilli.

These Crisps are WILD. When I saw the picture on the front of the packet, I was skeptical. How could these Crisps hold their shape? Especially considering they survived a journey to and from The Plex, Coolock, I didn't quite think it was possible.

But it was. Incredibly, almost every single Crisp inside the bag was intact. They're like dense Waffles moulded into the shape of an American "football".

Speaking of Waffles, these potato-based snacks have a very similiar texture to their Irish bacon counterparts. They're definitely a little more solid though, which I suppose is necessary from an engineering point of view in order to ensure the structure of each Crisp is secure. And they don't stick in your teeth for too long, which is a nice plus.

The flavour is also very intriguing. The bag says Sweet Chilli, but in my opinion it's closer to that of a spicy Skip. Inoffensive and not overly powerful. Maybe it would be more accurate if they called this Spiced Prawn flavour? I've never tasted a prawn, but I'm guessing if paired with a spice, it would taste a bit like this Crisp.

In conclusion, I would recommend this Crisp. A thrilling shape, impressive uniformity throughout the bag and a flavour you don't come across every day. Unless you eat a lot of Skips.


Friday, 24 August 2018

Packet #100 - Walkers Max Strong Hot Chicken Wings

100 Crisp reviews is a lot. So for this Crisp reviewing landmark, we thought we'd go all out. We'd go for a bold, hard-hitting Crisp that promises to shake things up.

After the moderate success of our last Crinkle Cut review (Keogh's Irish Cheddar and Red Onion), we decided to continue with this seemingly insatiable Crisp trend. That's why we decided to sample Walkers Max Strong Hot Chicken Wings Crisps.

Well, when we say we decided to sample them, we actually just got them for free off a guy selling cartons of water at a festival. He only had one flavour of Crisps in his shack and we accepted them gladly.

But maybe the fact that he was giving them away for free should've indicated the sad truth about these Crisps. They are kind of horrible. And when I say kind of, I mean REALLY HORRIBLE.

In my opinion, chicken flavour Crisps are usually more miss than hit. You might think that as a vegetarian reviewer I'm biased against all meat flavoured Crisps. On the contrary, dear reader. My favourite Crisps are usually meat flavoured. Smokey Bacon, BBQ Beef and Flaming Steak all rank highly in my esteem. But I don't think I've ever met a chicken flavour Crisp that I liked. Well except Chickatees. They're lovely.

Anyway, I really thought that these Hot Chicken Wing Crisps would be the ones to change my mind. I love hot wing sauce. I like the fact that they are rated on the packet as a two flames out of three flames level of spiciness. And the crinkle cut format is always fun to eat. At least that's what I thought before I ate these crisps.

If you look carefully at the packet you'll see the tagline "Perfect With Beer". As friend of A Blog About Crisps, human rights fan and reveller Niall put it: "We had beer. They were not perfect.".

He's right. There is nothing perfect about these Crisps. They weren't even spicy. They didn't have the vinegary tang that you get off a good hot sauce. They just tasted a bit musty. Kind of like old soy sauce or something. Maybe vaguely herby. Weird anyway.

The texture was actually grand. A good thick Crisp with a bit of bite. But because the flavour was so unpleasing, I couldn't even stick with them for the satisfying crunch.

I'm not sure if this has ever happened before, but I didn't even finish the Crisps. I just gave them to an unsuspecting festival goer and went on my way.

So no. I wouldn't recommend these Crisps. But I am intrigued by the rest of the Max Strong range, so maybe I'll give the other flavours a bash at some point.


Friday, 17 August 2018

Packet # 99 - Keogh’s Crinkle Cut Irish Cheddar And Red Onion

At A Blog About Crisps, we’ve been eating Keogh’s Crisps for well over seven years. That’s a long time, but do you know what, reader? We're not sick of them yet.

Occasionally, the brand bring out seasonal favourites – like the patriotic Shamrock & Sour Cream – but that's not the only the revolutionary Crisp they have in their Crisp stable.

Let’s get down to it. What’s so special about these Crisps? First off, they are a posh Crisp but they’re also crinkle cut. That means you get all the firmness of a posh Crisp with all the exciting textural experience that a crinkle cut crisp delivers. Imagine if Hunky Dory’s were denser, crunchier and perhaps 10% thicker. That’s the texture-profile of this crisp.

And now, on to the flavour. I’ll be honest. When I saw cheese and onion on the packet, I thought I’d like them. But I didn’t think they’d be anything new. I thought maybe they’d be like the regular Keogh’s Dubliner Irish Cheese & Onion. A nice Crisp that’s like a more flavourful version of a non-posh C&O Crisp.

Keogh’s Crinkle Cut Irish Cheddar And Red Onion Crisps are not like that at all. They are MUCH CHEESIER than the average cheese and onion Crisp. To tell you the truth, it threw me a little. But I was also sneakily eating these Crisps under the table at an upmarket drinking establishment, so it was fairly easy to throw me.

I was too freaked to finish the rest of the bag in the pub so I took the end home. And even from the comfort of my own couch, the cheese still blew me away. It’s almost more parmesany than cheddary. Delicious, but probably not for a casual C&O eater. These are designed for hardcore cheese lovers.

I’m not sure what the difference is between red onion and normal onion, but I could definitely taste a bit of onion off of these crisps. But it’s mainly cheese.

With reports of extremely cheesy crisps in Africa, I wonder is there some sort of trans-continental cheese Crisp craze going on?

But I digress. Overall, these are great Crisps. Bold and brave in both flavour and texture, these are best suited to cheese aficionados and adventurous Crisp fans.