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Categorie: Crispreviews

Lidl’s Sol&Mar: Patatas Fritas Picantes Chorizo Flavour by Sem/Bannie

Let me be honest, I am a lazy chap. Why else would I write a blog about eating crisps?
However, for this weeks review I went on a hunt for a crazy wild crisp! I was doing normal grocery shopping when I found this bag of crazy wild chorizo flavoured crisps. I bought them and took them home. Immediately I searched the internet to find a stock photo of the crisp for this review and I did not find one! I had to take a picture myself! An obscure crisp indeed.


First things first: the name of this crisp is way too long. Even if you cut the brand name Sol&Mar you are still confronted by a five-word flavour name. A crisp name needs to be easy, short and memorable, such as readily salted, salt and pepper or cheese and onion. Maybe the producers thought the crisp would get a point for each word in its name…
When one opens the bag there is no smell and the colour of the crisp itself is not red like the chorizo sausage is, it is more orange like a paprika crisp. The first bite is crunchy, which is good, but then… the flavour kicks in. Our director Eline Henrotte tasted them with me and she described it as Spam straight from a can! I myself would call it heavy garlic infused dog food. The taste reminds me of the time I was eight years old and lost a bet, as a result of this I had to eat a piece of dry dog food.  

I now understand why Lidl did not have a picture of this crisp on their website or in any discount magazine: this is a disgusting monster of a crisp! Never eat this and do not feed it to your dog either!!

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Verdict:

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Hamka’s vs Patatje Joppie By Sem/Bannie

So we are back in Amsterdam. While performing overseas is fun and all you always miss home and when I write home I mean I miss the crisps that we have here. I am not talking about Paprika flavoured crisps, no, I mean Hamka’s and Patatje Joppie. Two types of crisps that you can only buy in the Netherlands (and Belgium).
Hamka’s is a corn based crisp with the taste of ham and cheese, dare I say one of the most classic and most liked combinations in (Dutch) cuisine. It was first introduced in 1964. Patatje Joppie is a potato chip type of crisp with a flavour based on a Dutch snack sauce which tastes like onion, mayo and curry powder made love to each other! This crisp flavour won an ‘invent your own taste’ competition in the Netherlands back in 2010 and hit the stores with a powerful presence in 2011. So, in short, this review is the rookie versus the veteran. An age old tale that we are not going to finish in one review, but it is a start.

Before we start reviewing I have to say I love these two crisps dearly. They are my two favorite choices for an evening of crispy pleasure. But let’s start this fight with the veteran.

Lay’s Hamka’s
When you open a given pack of Hamka’s you smell the well known and endearing smell of ham and cheese. It takes one back to the times you ate a ham and cheese toastie when you got back from school as a child. The shape of the corn based crisp is that of a rectangular waffle with little holes in it. This makes it so that it has a quite particular mouthfeel. Or as one of my friends describes it: ‘Crispy divine rectangle made up from smaller equally sized squares of golden godliness’. The crunch is superb! This is because corn batter just gets crunchier than normal flour and this makes for an exceptional crunchy crisp.
The flavour is like ham and cheese, nice and salty with enough umami to make it a tasty combination. You don’t eat them all at once though, you eat a couple of these crisps at a time and save them for later or to share them but you would not use them for a solo Netflix session.  
Verdict:


Lay’s Superchips: Patatje Joppie Flavour
Joppie is a sauce used in snack shops in the Netherlands. It is an alternative to mayo or ketchup and it is based on combining onion, mayo, curry powder and some secret ingredients I do not know. For this review, I used the ridged version of the crisp. This is because it has a better mouthfeel and crunch.
Upon opening the bag one gets blasted in the face by the smell of onion and curry, like a heavy storm of umami and a hint of pure fat, just like in a snack shop! The crunch is good as expected and the flavour is strong. Some might find it repulsive, but I find it quite tasty. You can clearly taste the onion and curry, but the salty potato chip gives it an extra level that begs you to eat another crisp.
Unlike Hamka’s, you would not share a bag of these crisps with others, it is a gorge fest for oneself. Perfect for those nights you get back from the pub and you need some fat and salt to outbalance the drinking or when a Netflix and chill appointment gets cancelled and turns into a Netflix and spill kind of evening. This is a crisp you feel ashamed of having in your cupboard, but the taste is addictive!
Verdict:



In Conclusion
I believe that these two different crisps are the perfect representatives for what the idea behind a crisp is or was in the era that they got invented. The Hamka’s are for a party, a get together crisp to share with family and friends, just like crisps were meant to be eaten in the 1960’s.
The Patatje Joppie Crisp is there for the quick snack on your own during binge watching a series or when one is watching a whole bunch of kat videos on Youtube.
As I wrote before I am a fan of both but I solely use them for the activity they were meant for. There is no clear winner.
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Six Salt and Vinegar crisps by Sem/Bannie

During this years Edinburgh Fringe I ate a lot of crisps and when I say a lot I mean at least two small packets a day. This was part of our show, but of stage, I ate a lot of crisps as well because it’s the quick bite after a show that ends at 12.30 AM. A cultured individual like myself does want to adapt to the flavors and traditions of the country I am visiting and that is why I ate a lot of different Salt & Vinegar Crisps. Six different brands at that and I am going to rank them in this review. Before I start with the review I want to state that I am not doing a review of Kettle’s Salt & Vinegar in this piece, this is because it is my baseline, the first time I ever ate Salt & Vinegar crisps was Kettle and they get a 3/5 stars, an exemptible crisp for a baseline.
The crisps will be ordered in the order I ate them during the Fringe. I am only making note of the “special” types of vinegar that have been used in these crisps. All of them use sea salt.

Co-op: Sea Salt & Chardonnay wine Vinegar
When opening the packet you will see a slight hint of red potato peel around the edges of the crisps. Upon entering the mouth the crisp is good, but not spectacular. You immediately taste the vinegar: the sour, harsh attack of (cheap) Chardonnay that has fermented just slightly too long. The taste of the salt is pushed back by this exceptionally strong vinegar. You have to get used to the fact that the taste will take over your whole pallet for about two hours but is it is an exciting crisp.
Verdict:

Walkers: Salt and Vinegar
I bought these for our performances, so it where small packets and that was already horrible enough! the type of vinegar used is not specified in the list of ingredients, which gives the impression that they used all purpose cleaning vinegar. It is a soggy crisp when it enters your mouth and the vinegar tastes more like spoiled milk or old worn socks! The salt is like a jab straight into your kidneys. Do not buy these and if you do keep them away from small children!
Verdict:


Mackie’s of Scotland: Sea Salt & Vinegar
Again this was a small packet that I bought together with lunch one day. This was the first crisp that had a decent salt to vinegar ratio, so you could actually enjoy the classic combination. The crispiness is good, not too soft and a good crunch at the first bite! the vinegar makes a nice little whirl with the salt like a classical dance in your mouth. the smell is subtle and not too pungent. I do not know who Mackie is but he can certainly make a great crisp.
Verdict:


Tesco Finest: Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar
What a buy and what an amazing crisp. I knew from previous experiences that Tesco Finest makes some great crisps but this is the best one yet. The crunch is super nice and elegant. The cider vinegar is stronger than the salt but not too much so you can still taste a hint of salty goodness! The hint of apple in the cider certainly pull this crisp over the edge from great to fantastic.  Once you start eating these you will not finish until the packet is empty!!
Verdict:



McCoy’s Ridge cut: Salt & Malt Vinegar
First things first: I find that ridge cut crisps are of an extreme advantage above normal cut crisps. However, I could not find McCoy’s without the ridges so I give them this advantage in this review. For me ridges just enhance the crunch exceptionally which is a great thing for a crisp! the Malt Vinegar is not too present in this crisp. However, the salt is, which means that this is more of a slightly sour salted crisp than a vinegar. That’s a shame for a salt and vinegar crisp. However, it has a good crunch and that makes it worth the while.
Verdict:



Marks & Spencer: Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar
The Marks & Spencer crisps were recommended to me by a good friend so I put them to the test. Personally, I find Marks & Spencer’s too expensive. I always have the feeling I am out of place in their shops, standing in a queue behind the Queen is quite an experience. These crisps are kind of flaky, they do not have a good mouth feel or crunch. The balance between salt and vinegar is good,  but it is nothing special. We had to walk quite some distance to get these and it was not worth the effort.
Verdict:


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Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis & Cracked black peper by Sem/Bannie

While in Edinburgh one cannot count himself ready to leave before one has stuffed its face in a plate of haggis!! Haggis in Scotland is everywhere, even as a crisp flavour. In this case Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis & cracked black pepper and of course, a review on iratecrisps.com cannot be missed.

But let us start reviewing, haggis and black pepper have historically been proven to being a golden combination. However, it is always quite important that the haggis is the lead in this duo, this is not the case in this crisp. The pepper is overshadowing the haggis. 
When entering the mouth you taste a shy, cheeky hint of the spiced organ filled sheep’s stomach but in a fraction of a second the pepper takes over and you do not taste anything else any longer. The rest of your day will be filled with the taste of pepper!
By the way, the crunch is not spectacular either! The one upside is the crisps are totally vegan! 


Verdict:
Go get yourself a real plate of (vegan)haggis
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Paprika crisps by Sem Bannenberg/Bannie Cheff.

On the continental Europe, we have a lot of good things, we also have a lot of strange things, and we have paprika crisps. In this review, I will try to determine of the paprika crisp from Lay’s is a worth it to hop over to good old Amsterdam!
I was testing this crisp on a beautiful evening an evening of historical importance, was it important because of the crisp? Nope, it was Sunday the 6th of August 2017 the day of the Women’s Euro cup final, yeah the final we (The Netherlands) won! The shirt of the girls was the same colour as the paprika crisp which is bright orange (the Dutch royal colour), and that gave the crisp kind of a Dutch vibe, which made the experience even more pleasurable.

Let’s get back to the crisp like I said before it has a strong orange colour and this is a good sign the smoked paprika spice that it is supposed to be tasting like has the same colour!

Upon entering one’s mouth, the expected crispness does not over perform, but you understand the thought behind the crunch. The taste smoked paprika spice takes over with just the right amount of spiciness; then the salt takes over, what follows is a near perfect umami, this is it, my friends, the one true crisp to rule them all. 
The future is bright the future is orange. If you have the change eat these crisps are they worth a 100-quit ticket to Amsterdam? Probably not, but after a spliff or two you will thank me and get a bag of these amazing crisps! 
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Lays Naturel by Marijn de Vries

So I have been asked to write a review for this wonderful website http://www.iratecrisps.com by my good friend Sem Bannenberg. This is something we as humans have been yearning for: a website that rates crisps. So many different brands, so many different flavours, where should one go to find what crisps are wanted for specific situations. But now it is there in the form of this website. You’re welcome. 
Let me kick off with one of the most known crisps: Lays Naturel (or Walkers Ready Salted, depending where you live). It’s the crisp you turn to for parties or birthdays. It’s a rather safe bet, but is it any good?
Let me start by saying they live up to their name. They are salty, but not much more than that. There is a whim of potato, sure, but it’s overshadowed by the saltiness of the crisp. But that’s not the only problem of this crisp.
The name says it all: a crisp is crispy. Or should be at least. This ‘crisp’ disappears when you put it in your mouth, there is no real bite, there is no crunch. Instead, the crisp almost vaporises in your mouth, leaving you with a lot of salt in your mouth.
And that’s actually all there is to say about this crisp, so I will end with my final verdict. Lays Naturel (or Walkers Ready Salted) is ok to have as a bite on parties where you don’t want to spend too much money on. As a crisp I find it rather disappointing both in taste and in crunch.
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HEMA: Smoked Sausage crisps by Bannie

The Dutch smoked sausage is often overshadowed by the fame of the german frankfurter, a disgusting germanic contraption not worthy of the name sausage. Our smoked sausage is from far better stock and everyone that has ever eaten one of these rods of pure holy bliss knows the HEMA has been making the best smoked sausage. Since 2014 they have started to make smoked sausage crisps.


I think it is time to give the smoked sausage crisp a try. However, my friends and family were not open minded about these crisps. Even though they are completely vegan. You do not even have to cheat your hipster pig worshipping diet for them. I  was afraid of liking these crisps, of becoming a pariah. People would pass me in the street whispering to each other snickering behind my back.


At first I was afraid, I was petrified but then I opened the bag. The smell that oozed out reminded me of the smell of the warm water that is used to keep the smoked sausage in the nice and hot in the store. I tried one of the crisps and put it in my mouth. The crunch was basic. One could even say it was a little flaky but overall the texture was up to standards. The taste however, was fantastic it tastes exactly as a smoked sausage. Then the fat and salt started to take over it is a crisp after all. After about four or five crisps you only tasted fat and salt, which is a shame. I still think there is a lot to improve on these crisps. To be perfectly honest I liked these crisps I would buy them again but the fat and salt at the end makes you feel dirty inside. This is a little like a bag of Patatje Joppie crisps you want more but do you need it?


Verdict:
Do you have a crisp you secretly like but people discriminate you for it?
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Croky: Bolognese by Bannie and Marijn

Ever mesmerize about the good old days when you were young and the only problems you had were the amount of pocket money you got, how much candy you could buy with it and if the school bully would beat you up for it. Times where these crisps could make or break a party. But are these crisps really good or is it just nostalgia? Let’s find out!


The name ‘bolognese’ implies that the taste is like the pasta sauce with the same name. You expect tomato, garlic, union and the umami that only minced meat can bring. Yet my memory of the Croky bolognese is of spices and a little heat. Not something to binge eat while watching your favourite series or you would end up with pain in your belly.


Important to know: Lays also has a bolognese flavoured crisp. But if you think the Lays and the Croky ones are alike, you couldn’t be more wrong. This one definitely has the preference taste wise, or at least as I remember it. Does the taste live up to the memory?


The taste is powerful, spicy, the smell for what was left of it after the initial opening was strong of tomatoes, herbs and ‘garlic’. The texture or crunch was middle of the road. Not too flakey but definitely not the crunch you dream of in your crisp eating dreams. It was a good crisp but not as legendary as my memory made me think.  I need to state here that I had looked at 3 different stores before I found this initial bag of Croky Bolognese normal cut.



Let me fast forward to today. I was doing some shopping at the Action (the Dutch equivalent of Poundland) buying wash baskets and such. I was standing in the checkout queue when I saw it. The holy grail! Croky Bolognese Ridge cut crisps.

The Smell was strong but refined like an aged wine. The taste more supple than the normal cut version. And the crunch ladies and gentlemen, the crunch is of that of a freshly baked baguette, supreme. This is the legend of old the once and future crisp of mankind’s dreams.

Verdict: 
Which crisps did you eat growing up? and are they still as good as in the olden days?


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AH Excellent: Sea salt & Rosemary by Bannie

Salt and Vinegar was never a standard or ordinary choice in the Netherlands. However, a couple of years ago it got some recognition and this blazed the way for more ‘simple’, less flavour heavy crisps, such as salt and pepper and salt combined with herbs.
Rosemary is a logical choice in this line of crisp. It is a subtle herb with a long-standing tradition in simple but delicious foods. Legends even state that rosemary was used in the magic drink Getafix made to keep the village of Asterix free from Roman invaders. No wonder that Rosemary is now so popular!


When you open the bag you do not smell a lot, this appears to be a true subtle crisp. The taste is easy going. It does not trick you, it is just what the package tells you: Rosemary with some salt. It is delightful, light, beautifully shaped. The crunch is decent, as expected and in accordance with the rest of the crisp. This is a true class act. A crisp you can easily present to your in-laws to make a good impression. A crisp you serve on a date when you want to come over as a civilized person that has never eaten a whole bag of crisps in one go, while you were crying about the ending of Star Wars Episode III because they did not drop Jar Jar in a fiery pit of lava! I hate Jar Jar so much!

Verdict:

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Lays Paprika Light 33% less fat by Bannie

As a crisp reviewer you have to watch your weight. Eating (at least) a bag of crisps a day is an unhealthy and maybe even life threatening “hobby”. You might say I am exaggerating, but please keep in mind that obesity is one of the biggest killers out there. Obesity even killed more people than Genghis Khan, which is quite an accomplishment.  Please keep in mind that in the two past weeks I have eaten Chickpea crisps and those are quite full on calories. When you realise this, you can fathom that I needed a less fat crisp.


Let me be honest: I am not going to eat crisps as a healthy snack! That is the type of behaviour of people that order a full king size menu at McDonald’s and then ask for a sugar free soda “because they are worried about their figure”. Go eat a salad people and do not buy one in the store, MAKE IT YOURSELF!!. Eating low fat crisps is about as ‘healthy’ for a person as punching one’s  girlfriend in the belly  is a good way of anticonception!


I bought the packet of crisps while I was grumbling about buying a full priced bag that contained 33% less of the the product. When I got home I opened the bag and I found out the following: opening the bag, I smelled no paprika! This is a worrying sign indeed!

At first sight the crisp does look like a normal paprika crisp. I popped one into my mouth and it did taste like a paprika crisp. However, part of the crunch was more flakey or chewy than crispy! After tasting a second crisp I established that these crisps do indeed taste like paprika but not as plentiful as the ‘normal’ Lays Paprika crisps. If you want some paprika flavoured crisps, just go into the store and grab the original Paprika. And for the crunch lovers: get the ridge cut! That one never disappoints.

Verdict:

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