… And so inevitably rather than posting something unique I type a review of a snack food I have been eating recently.
Today I look at Cofresh’s ‘Chilli & Lemon’ flavoured Potatoe Grills. An interesting alternative to your common bag of crisps or high end kettle chips.
Bought from the ‘mystery isle’ of Tescos… that is if you go to ‘the big Tesco’ in Bridgend. They are hidden away in shame with other ‘non-standard’ snack foods like the non-glutenous cakes deemed not worthy of being placed with the ‘proper’ snack food down the far end of the supermarket next to the biscuits, cereal, snack bars, etc by the soft drinks and alcohol isles. Oh no, these are hidden next to the oils and cooking supplies under low lit cover near the bakery and pharmacy looking out upon the open spaces of the fruit and veg area… such a secretive burden it must be that Tesco bears in providing niche produce to their consumers some of which may want a taste of home abroad. Do not ask the staff where these things are. They will only shy away and, when no one is looking, suggest you meet them under cover of darkness when the moon is in its wane behind the trolleys where the staff skive off for a fag during the midnight shift. Only then will they tell you of this place of foreign cheaply sold chocolates and oddly flavoured juice drinks… most of which are produced in the UK anyway just by a foreign company.
But fortunately if you do find this oasis these particular snacks will not be even further hidden away, on a shelf tightly fitted behind a support pillar for the upper floor, like the Polish sweets are. I honestly suspect they are trying to hide those as you can barely stick your hand past the pillar to get them let alone see them if you were casually passing by… as if they don’t want you to have 4 chocolate bars for £1! And definitely not the slightly alcoholic ones (which they don’t realise are such) that you can buy 3 for £1! In fact if you find this isle at all, even with the ‘treasure map’ like guidance I have given you it will be by fluke or sheer process of elimination and not, like me, the wild abandon of curiousity of what is hidden in this no man’s land of an isle where you never see a living soul… It is truly a strange new world of confectionaries you have never heard of, in flavours ‘foreign’ to British tastes, being sold for cheaper than their mainstream counterparts… but that is a story for another day.
On the front of the packaging it states ‘serving suggestion’ with a few chillis and a cut lemon next to the actual ‘potatoe grills’ in the photo… Apparently these aren’t just any crisps these are we are potato grills which are nothing like crisps‘ crisps… but in fairness I think, due to the unusual shape, these would look far more appetising at a buffet than a bowl filled with standard crisps or bougeois ‘kettle chips’.
The packaging, which is distinct enough you would remember it once you found a taste for these, declares they are ‘Britain’s Favourite Indian Snack’ which is interesting as I had never heard of them before seeing them on the shelf, in my search for foreign confections, nor seen their quite unique shape before. To me Britain’s favourite Indian snacks are onion bhajis or other side dishes but then that is my experience and I have known quite a few, if you will, ‘fat b*****ds’ who would consider an entire Indian meal with 2 side dishes, a nan bread and multiples of popadoms in the double digits just for themselves as ‘an alright amount for a meal when your out having a couple’ so my perspective may be skewed somewhat…
In a circle is the word ‘tangy’ which is not quite how I would describe them. When you first put it in your mouth there may be a slight tang arising I assume from the very light amount of lemon but I found the main flavour experience came in the pleasant warm heat of the chilli aftertaste you experience from them. Therefore I wouldn’t say these are something you would eat for their own sake but as an accompliment to a dip of some kind.
A 90kg/3.2oz bag of these retails for the cost of 80 pence which I felt was actually good value as a small hand full of them, though light, are actually quite filling and you will not devour a full bag all in one go as you might with less fulfilling snacks.
In case you are still wondering these are produced and packaged in the UK. More specifically Leiceister where Cofresh Snack Foods are based although they export to America, Australia and New Zeland and no doubt other countries too.
There are seperate nutrition information boxes for the UK & ANZ markets compared to the American market and the stastics are somehow different interestingly. You might like to know that we in Britain apparently have, per 28g/1oz serving (which apparently is 46 pieces though how the company made this deduction with any accuracy is anyone’s guess) 5.9g of fat to the USA 6g, 1.1g to their 1g of saturated fat, 3g of salt to their 330mg, 2.2g of fibre to their 2g, 1.1g of sugar to their 1g, 18.8g of carbohydrates to their 19g and 1.4g of protein to their 1g. Quite interesting how different the nutrition is in America as if transporting it somehow alters the nutrition.
Allegry advice on the bag says because it is made in a factory which uses sesame seeds, lentils, wheat and nuts it may contain allergens. Also it tells you small children can choke on nuts which, while sagely advice, is a bit random on a bag of ‘potato grills’. It might as well also tell you if you have dairy allergies its probably not a good idea to go eating any milk chocolate.
Oh and its suitable for vegetarians.
Well I might as well just rattle off all the ingredients now I’ve come this far… they are provided in English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch…. and have you heard of these snacks before? International sales but apparently their marketing stategy is ‘lets just make it and eventually people will pick it up out of curiousity wandering around a shop’.
Ingredients: Native potato starch, potatoe solids (Potato granules), modified potato starch, vegetable oil (rapeseed), salt, chilli & lemon flavouring (salt, paprika, rice flour, lemon juice powder (maltodextrin from ip maize, lemon juice), flavour enhancer (monosodium glutamate), spice & herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, yeast extract, yeast powder, acidity regulator (citric acid), flavourings, colour (paprika extract).
Well apart from one stray parenthesis bracket there certainly is a lot of repitition in there… and I wouldn’t be suprised if, like the American vs uk and ANL nutritional information, it wasn’t slightly different in the other languages.
These were enjoyable and a statisfying snack albeit like many lemon flavoured confectionaries its hit or miss if you can taste the lemon flavouring. They are by no means bland and the warm heat of the aftertaste is something i savoured when eating them. There are other varieties of these potatoe grills and I would suggest trying any just once to see what they are like. I would eat these again given the chance but will try one of their other flavourings as these are far more intersting than their mainstream rivals which are slowly becoming, like many other things, homoginised.