31 March 2012

Rancheros: bamf! and it's 1979

Maybe you don't remember Rancheros. Maybe you're under the age of 30. Or Norwegian. Or you don't like crisps. (Hi there! This is a blog [occasionally] about crisps.)

Or maybe you do remember. A distinctive bacon-flavoured snack of the 70s and 80s, the Ranchero has long since gone the way of Smiths Salt 'n' Vinegar Bones and Football Crazy. And yet, for the last couple of decades, I have been subject to random moments every year or two when I could swear I could smell Rancheros. Nothing smells quite the same. Not even Frazzles. Call it a recurrent olfactory mirage.

So imagine my astonishment when, on a recent brief trip to Ireland, I saw these.

Yes, crisp fans, they really are Rancheros. They seem to be the same product, as far as I can tell. But most importantly, they smell exactly the same as they always did. Never mind the texture, or the crunch, or even the flavour (still with the faint after-tang of MSG) – just open the bag, close your eyes, and inhale.

Right, that's enough italics for one day.

07 March 2012

Pork scratchings? Nope, Baconsvor!

Tired of molar-shatteringly hard, multiple-additive, over-seasoned pork scratchings that look like an ogre's toenails? Look no further than our Scandinavian friends. These are seasoned with salt and nothing else, and they rock.

04 March 2012

The Badgermin

There is something terribly, horribly, wrong about this. And yet...

Only in Dorset could this happen.

03 March 2012

The ubiquity of paprika

Just returned from a couple of weeks in Arctic Norway. There was lots of snow, of course. And ice. And I have hundreds of photos of snow, but I won't bore you with those, cos you know what snow looks like. (It's white.)

What I do have for you is a photo of some packets of crisps.

There you go, Paprika flavour crisps, the ultimate expression of the Nordic potato-based snack. This brand, Potetgull ("Potato Gold") is pretty good. Nice crunch. Slightly old-fashioned, too: none of this artisan stuff, just a big family-sized bag of thin crisps. Great if, like us, you face a seven-hour drive with uncertain dining prospects en route.

The photo was actually taken in a little grocery shop on the small island of Bjarkøya, which is reached by means of two ferries from the mainland (not actually the mainland, but a large island joined to the mainland by a bridge... such is Norwegian geography): the first to another island called Grytøya, followed by (in our case) a frenzied half-hour drive on and through heavy snow to just catch the second ferry with a couple of minutes to spare. It was exceptionally well worth it, as the clouds parted and we were blessed with beautiful sunshine when we got to Bjarkøya. We celebrated by ordering chips ("pommes frites", as they are known in Norway, remarkably) and various accompaniments in the cosy café next door to the aforementioned island shop. Said chips were served with a generous shake of grillkrydder, a reddy-pink granulated national-trademark condiment composed of salt, paprika and various other spices. Fab. Here's the café (on the right), and the shop. (Click on the photo to enlarge, as always. )

Sorry, a bit of snow crept into shot. My apologies.

02 March 2012

Chocolate: an opinion

These new chunky KitKat variants, then. For me it's got to be Orange. Delicious. White is just wrong (we had them before, remember?), ditto Peanut Butter (ditto, and BTW blech), and I can't see the point of Double Choc – it was just disappointing... unlike the Triple Choc Mars that have been doing the rounds recently, which are a stroke of genius.

Just my opinion, right or wrong, but confidently stated <g>. Message ends.