Posts Tagged ‘bag’

Snack Food Review: MS Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch Savoury Pork Snack

12 August, 2009

I WASN’T going to do another one of these, but the combination of my curiosity and your enthusiastic response to MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings convinced otherwise. From Costcutter on Brick Lane, here is a bag of MS Pork Crunch; an Authentic Black Country Savoury Pork Snack.

MS Pork Crunch front of bag

First impressions are that they didn’t exactly splash out on the packaging. There’s little to disguise the fact that this is a transparent plastic bag. Nevertheless, it says everything you need to know. Plus you see exactly what you’re getting.

If, like me, you remembering how delicious MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings were, you won’t care that it looks like it was made on a kitchen table. You will already have pulled one from the cardboard shop display that pork snacks are, for some reason, hung on in shops.

The back of the bag has much the same details as MS’ Traditional Pork Scratchings.

MS Pork Crunch back of bag

The top ingredients are pork rinds and salt. So you might want to skip these if you care about health. If health isn’t your thing, your teeth might be. If that didn’t put you off, they still recommend it only for “people with strong healthy teeth”. Besides the story about them producing Authentic Black Country pork snacks for over twenty-five years, the only other detail worth reading is the address where they came from. And yes, it was “produced in the heart of the Black Country” in Wolverhampton no less.

So what are MS Pork Crunch like? How to they compare to other “Seasoned Pork Rind” snacks? I’m looking forward to finding out.

MS Pork Crunch close-up

MS Pork Crunch are surprisingly easy to describe. They are big, chunky, crunchy, meaty, tasty Quavers. If normal Quavers are too feeble for you, you will love Pork Crunch. Unlike every other seasoned pork rind, this is the easiest to eat of the whole lot. I don’t know why they have the “healthy teeth” message. They are about as challenging as a thick-cut crisp.

What am I enjoying about MS Pork Crunch? A lot of things. They are a lot of fun to eat. And they taste of pork. Not too salty either. This could go very well with some light, summery ale. I also love how they do something different with the pork rind formula. I’ve not yet seen anything else on the shelves like this.

What am I not enjoying about MS Pork Crunch? Very little. Some people will say that they aren’t real pork scratchings because it isn’t as hard as granite. It’s also hard to find. And when you do find it, there’s a good chance that they have already passed their “Best Before” date. Frustratingly, they do not have a long shelf-life.

To sum up, MS Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch is a delicious snack food. They are chunky, porky Quavers. They are unlike any pork scratchings I’ve tried before. And just like that other MS pork snack, I think it is worth your time and money to look out for this tasty post-beer snack when you do your shopping.

Have you tried MS Pork Crunch? What did you think of it?

Do please leave your angry criticisms, praise, opinions, corrections, suggestions and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Pork Crackles

1 May, 2009

AMAZINGLY, people started reading my quick reviews of pork scratchings. So, for those people, here is another one: Mr. Porky Pork Crackles.

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles front of bag

If you missed the story so far, let me re-cap. Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings were mostly big and tasty, but too salty. Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings were smaller, tasty and not as salty, but still too salty. MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings on the other hand were big, tasty, not too salty and brilliant.

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles back of bag

The back of this small bag is much the same as the back of the other Mr. Porky bags. There’s a message telling you not to attempt them if you have dodgy teeth. There’s an address for their parent company, Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd in the West Midlands. There’s a website address of A list of ingredients which reassuringly for your heart, lists “Pork Rind, Pork Fat” and “Salt” as their chief ingredients. And there is a table of nutrition information with big numbers next to protein and fat.

How are pork crackles different to pork scratchings? What are they like? Should you try them? Let’s find out…

Mr. Porky Pork Crackles open bag close-up

How are pork crackles different to scratchings? They don’t have the chewy porky bit. These are just the crackly, fatty surface. The result is a much tougher, crunchy and harder to eat snack.

What do they taste like? Much of the porky taste came from the bit below the crackle. That makes these pork crackles lack any real porky taste. And, although seasoned, you can’t taste much else at all. Maybe there’s some hints of something peppery, but mostly it’s salt.

What do I like about Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? They might not be perfect, but they get the job done. They are a crunchy and tasty snack. If you’re not looking for anything more, these are perfectly fine.

What don’t I like about Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? Well, their too small. About the size of popcorn is too small to be a real, meaty snack. They don’t have enough porky material to deliver a porky taste. That leaves the taste in the hands of the underwhelming seasoning. And you just can’t escape how salty they are. Not as bad as some, but still saltier than you’d like. And your fingers get covered in grease and seasoning dust.

To sum up, Mr. Porky Pork Crackles deliver a slight variation on the pork scratchings formula, but, like the other Mr. Porky’s, they fall into the trap of being too salty. Yes, they’re perfectly fine. I’ll happily scoff many more bags of them. But maybe it’s time for a new and improved Mr. Porky with more taste and less salt?

Have you tried Mr. Porky Pork Crackles? What did you think of them?

Do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments

26 April, 2009

SMITHS Scampi Flavour Fries are one of the best snacks you can buy. But, they aren’t the only flavoured corn snacks in Smiths “Savoury Selection”. Take this small bag of Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments for example.

Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments front of bag

Instead of a picture of the sea, this time the front has a picture of cows in fields. The illustration of the snack itself again looks like two pillows. And they describe it as a “Cereal Snack With Delicious Cheesy Centres”. The back of the bag is just as predictable, if informative, as the front.

Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments back of bag

It is almost exactly the same as the bag of Scampi Flavour Fries. So I won’t waste your time going over the same old details about customer service departments and boring tables of nutrition information and ingredients for this 28g bag.

How will Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments compare to the outstanding Scampi Fries? What will they taste like? I’m feeling peckish, so let’s find out.

Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments open bag close up

Funny looking, aren’t they? The best way I can describe them is trapezoidal corn lumps. I feel the urge to use them as packaging materials the next time I sell something on eBay. These have the added benefit that unlike some other snacks, your fingers won’t get covered in grease and dust flavouring.

What are they like to eat? They are a crunchy snack. But the inside is a surprise. Inside the crunchy corn exterior, is a cool, soft and cheese flavoured interior.

Do they taste of cheese? Yes, but in the same artificial way that “strawberry” flavoured things taste of what manufacturers think strawberries taste like. That is to say, not realistically.

What do I like about Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments? I like the strange combination of crunch and cool, soft cheesy bit. You just don’t expect it. I like that they aren’t greasy or too salty. And the flavour is okay.

What don’t I like about Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments? That taste. There’s something not right about it. Cheese doesn’t taste like this. It tastes flavoured.

Unlike the Scampi Fries, they’re just not as fun, and they taste like flavoured corn. Sure, they are perfectly adequate, but why would you choose this over something tastier? In conclusion, Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments are fine, but not yummy enough to be a favourite.

Have you tried Smiths Cheese Flavoured Moments? What did you think of them?

Do please leave your opinions, corrections, recommendations, requests and places to buy in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries

17 April, 2009

PORK scratchings, pickles and tins of small fish aren’t the only snacks you can enjoy. You could have oysters, fois gras or nibble on some diced albino tiger cub. If like me however, you only have 49 pence to spare, then you might want to consider this: a small bag of Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries.

Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries front of bag

And first impressions are not bad. The bag is in a funny green colour, unlike anything else for sale in the shop. The middle has a picture of a traditional fishing port. And there’s a picture of some strange beige lumps. They’re either pillows or pictures of what these scampi fries will look like.

The banner across the bottom of the bag describes them as a “Cereal Snack With A Delicious Scampi & Lemon Taste”. Does that fact make them high-end crisps?

Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries back of bag

The back of the bag is full of information. None of which is interesting. There’s all the usual big-brand stuff about consumer services departments and storing away from bright lights. They have a website which is, because of course, Walkers owns the old Smiths brand.

There’s a small teaser on the bag for their Bacon Flavour Fries and Cheese Flavoured Moments “Savoury Selection”. A table of nutrition information which will scare you with large numbers next to the word ‘fat’. Then there’s a list of ingredients for this 27g snack. Like more ingredients list, it’s impenetrable.

This only leaves one thing to do. To open the bag and report to you what they are like. Should you buy them? Let’s find out.

Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries open bag closeup

Yes they do look as funny as they do in the illustration on the front. Only much dustier. You’ll be licking a thick layer of flavouring dust off your fingers by the end.

They smell of fish. Sort of. Whatever it smells of, it smells strong. And tasty.

Are they actually tasty? Yes they are. They are like nothing else. They taste of fish, but in the form of a crunchy little snack. Imagine a combination of fish and pork scratchings, and you’d be near. In case you’re wandering, they are completely hollow. Inside the cocoon of scampi and lemon flavoured cereal snack there is nothing to be found.

What do I like about Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries? I think they’re incredibly tasty. They manage this without being too salty either. They’re not like many other snacks on the market, so they get marks for being different.

What don’t I like about Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries? Very little. If you were to nitpick, you could say you dislike the somewhat unnatural taste. Or that you don’t like the way it leaves grease and tiny bits on your fingers. But they are minor complaints.

What’s the verdict on Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries? I think they are outstanding. I love their tangy, fishy taste in the form of a strange bag of crisps. They could go well with whatever beer or spirit mix you have to hand.

Have you tried Smiths Scampi Flavour Fries? What did you think of them?

Do please share your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings

15 April, 2009

BOTH bags of pork scratchings that I’ve tried so far have been from Mr. Porky. And both have been excellent. But they’re not the only pork in town. Here is a bag of MS Traditional Pork Scratchings from a convenience store on Brick Lane.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings front

The MS name at the top has a border with words describing it as “Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks”. To hammer home the point, most of the bag is coloured black. Under the window into the bag’s contents, are the reassuring words “Finest quality Hand cooked Seasoned Pork Rind”. I don’t know about you, but the words “Traditional” and “Hand cooked” are making me salivate.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings back of bag

The back of the bag has lots of information on it. It opens with the list of ingredients which, happily, starts with pork rinds. Less happily for your heart, the second ingredient is salt. There are lots of other ingredients, some natural, some not, but all too boring to list here.

Helpfully, they have allergy advice. And there’s a big table of nutritional information. But unless you want to shock yourself with the huge fat and sodium figures, it’s best not to read it.

On the other column is the few sentences you want to read. They tell us that they’ve been making these pork scratchings for over 25 years. And that they use an “Authentic Black Country recipe”. Also making an appearance is that familiar warning that it is “Only Recommended For People With Strong Healthy Teetch”. Sound advice indeed for this kind of snack.

Also on the back of the bag, they tease you with a hint of another, probably tasty snack “Try our Authentic Black Country Pork Crunch”. Darn, that’s another snack I’ve got to look out for. If you find it before I do, leave a comment letting me know what it’s like.

The label closes with their “Heart of the Black Country” postal address. An address of Midland Snacks Limited in Wolverhampton. Apparently the Internet hasn’t reached that corner of the Black Country yet as they have no website or email address.

What are MS Traditional Pork Scratchings like? How do they compare to the Mr. Porky I’ve tried so far? I’m looking forward to finding out.

MS Authentic Black Country Pork Snacks Traditional Pork Scratchings open bag

First impressions are that these a big pieces. Maybe even bigger than Mr. Porky Prime Cut. But, like Prime Cut, there’s a variety of big and small. Somehow, these don’t look as dusty. In fact, they don’t look as well done. They look a little less crispy.

To eat, the taste is a pleasant porky seasoning. Not too salty. There’s just a gentle taste of pork and of things like pepper which must be the seasoning.

The texture depends on what the piece you eat happens to look like. If it’s a small and crinkly bit, it will be like chewing on gravel. Pick up a bigger piece, and it’s like eating some fresh, chewy pork with a crunchy top. And that seems to be what MS Traditional Pork Scratchings are about.

What am I enjoying about MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratchings? I like how different they are to the competition. These have a decent sized chuck of regular pork attached to a decent sized layer of crunchy rind. All of which tastes good and isn’t like pouring a sachet of salt into your mouth. I also like how easy they are on the teeth compared to some of the competition.

What don’t I like about MS Traditional Pork Scratchings? They’re hard to find down here. Who know if I’ll ever get to try their Pork Crunch. Some people might object to the non-crunchy bit of the rind. Not me though. I can’t even criticise them for not having many in a bag, because they’ve compensated by having a lager than-you’d-expect bag. If you genuinely like pork scratchings, there’s like to criticise about them.

How can I sum up MS Authentic Black Country Traditional Pork Scratching? They are an excellent snack. If the strong saltiness or gravel-like texture of other pork scratchings puts you off, then try these. As far as I can tell, they are the real ale of the pork scratchings world.

Manufacturers, if you can top these, then get in touch. If you’ve tried MS Traditional Pork Scratchings, do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snack

13 April, 2009

I PICKED up this oddity from a shop on Brick Lane. According to the front, it is some kind of chilli and lemon flavoured roasted corn snack. Sounds intriguing and delicious.

Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snack front of bag

The back label is similarly enigmatic.

Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snack back of bag

The ingredients are… okay. I think. Maize, soya bean oil and seasoning sound right for the snack like this. The bag is a small 40 gram size. It lists the nutrition information. Which you will no doubt ignore. And it was packed by Berkshire Foods Ltd in Gosport, England.

The interesting bit, though, is that near the “Best Before” date we learn that Nutcracker is a trade mark of Nutcracker Ltd. A company from Nairobi, Kenya. What we have here, is an African snack food. A fact that immediately score it points of interesting-ness and curiosity value.

What are Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snacks like? Do I think you should buy them? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snack open bag closeup

They are as funny looking as they are on the front of the bag. The look half-way between corn from corn on a cob and popcorn. And with a funny orangey colouring and a dusting of flavour.

What are they like? Eating them is a strange experience. They’re not soft, but crunchy. Very tough and crunchy. Amazingly, they’re like pork scratchings.

How do they taste? The bag makes them sound as hot and spicy as a jar of chilli sauce. But they’re not. They’re as hot and spicy as hot chilli Doritos are. And that’s no bad thing. Hot chilli Doritos are very nice. You can even detect a tiny hint of lemon. But I get the impression that were it not for the heavy dusting of flavour, they would have no flavour at all.

What is there to like about Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snacks? I like how funny they are. I like how heavy and filling they are, making this tiny bag a real snack. And I like the strong but not inedibly strong flavour.

What don’t I like about Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snacks? They are hard work. They are heavy, crunchy and chewy. Not fun and light like some snacks. Some people won’t like how strong tasting they are. But they’ve got to do that because on their own, there is no taste at all. It would be like eating, well, raw corn. The other downside is how hard they are to buy around here.

To sum up, Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snacks are a quirky and filling little snack. I’ve never had anything like this before. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised too. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re looking for interesting snacks, you can do worse than Nut Cracker Crunchy Roasted Corn Chilli & Lemon Flavour Corn Snacks.

Sweets Review: Tilley’s Emerald Toffees / Oatfield Emerald Chocolate Caramels

19 March, 2009

THE last bag of Tilley’s brand traditional sweets I tried was Jargonelle Pears. They were a nice, but unexciting sweet experience. Something I’m expecting to be repeated here, with a bag of Tilley’s Emerald Toffees.

Tilley's Emerald Toffees / Oatfield Chocolate Caramels front of bag

Everything worth saying about the outside was said before, when I looked at their Jargonelle Pears. That means I can skip the boring part and get straight to telling you what these Emerald Toffees taste like. Or does it?

Something is amiss on the back.

Tilley's Emerald Toffees / Oatfield Chocolate Caramels back of bag

The back is where they list the ingredients for every single one of their sweets. Except, that is, for Emerald Toffees. I’ve been up and down the alphabetical list and they are simply not there.

Does it bother me? Not even slightly. You don’t eat sweets because you’re worried about antioxidents, sucrose and sodium bicarbonate. You eat them because you want your taste buds to have a party.

If, however, you are the sort of person who does worry about such things, then you’ll want to look at the bottom right-hand corner of the bag. That’s because the full Northants address of Tilley’s Sweets Limited is printed there. As is a telephone number, fax number and email address ( You can even visit the website,, where you discover that Tilley’s is part of Zed Candy. Are there any independent sweet makers left in the country? Comments at the end of the post please.

In the bag, there are about twenty of these little things.CLOSE UP

Tilley's Emerald Toffees / Oatfield Chocolate Caramels open, wrapper and unwrapped

I admit it. I didn’t expect to find chocolate covered anything in the wrapper. Looking closer at each wrapper does reveal some answers. Oddly, they have Oatfield branding. Which could explain why the ingredients weren’t listed on the bag. And, although the word “Emerald” is on there, they’re also called “Chocolate Caramels”.

Actually eating them reveals yet more questions and answers. What they are, are small rectangular pieces of something caramely and toffee-ish, covered with chocolate. There’s even something almost nutty or nougat-like about the taste. The whole thing is chewy enough to give you a minute or two of chocolaty, chewy, sweetness.

What do I like about them? A lot. I like the tastes of chocolate plus all the other confectionary tastes that I’m not talented enough to identify. I like how much chewy mileage you can get out of each one. And I liked the surprise of finding something completely unexpected in the wrapper.

What don’t I like? I don’t like not knowing that they are. Are they Oatfield Emerald Chocolate Caramels and not Tilley’s Emerald Toffees? And if I had to nitpick, I would say that they’re not exciting enough. Nothing is going to fizz loudly or turn your tongue blue.

What are they all about? That’s harder to pinpoint than you’d think. We might have a rogue batch here. Have these sweets landed in the wrong bags by mistake during packing? If you know the answer, do please leave a comment at the end of the post. Whatever the case, these Emerald thing-a-ma-bobs are delicious traditional sweets. They might not have any novelty value, but they are darned nice confectionary.

Have you tried these, whatever their true identity is? Have you got any insight or answers to the profound questions raised in this piece of serious journalism? If so, then do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings Seasoned Pork Rind

15 March, 2009

WHAT goes better with a bottle of ale, than a small bag of crinkly pork fragments that are as crunchy as gravel? Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings made by Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd in Wednesbury, West Midlands, were inconsistent, but tasty. Here is the ubiquitous (you can find them in most corner shops) cousin of Prime Cut Scratchings, Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings. The down-to-earth, straightforward seasoned pork rind pork scratchings.

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings front of bag

There’s not much to say about the front. It’s unmistakeably a Mr. Porky snack. They are, apparently, “Best Ever”. I’ll take their word on that. What does the back say?

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings back of bag

No, not much different to the other Mr. Porky pork scratchings. That’s good, because it means I can whizz through what it says without dwelling on the boring small print. If you want to read absolutely everything, then read my post about Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings here.

The main ingredients are, unsurprisingly, pork rind, pork fat and salt. There’s a few other things too, but, pleasingly, no E numbers. The full address of Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd is on there in case you want to write to them. But I think you should go to their fun little website at instead.

There’s also a big table of Nutrition Information where you can read about how much fat and salt you’re about to consume. But you don’t want to worry yourself by reading it. Make the most of these snacks now. Quickly. Before the nanny-state bans them or slaps a tax on them.

So, what do Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings look like? What do they taste like? And should you buy them? These questions I shall answer now…

Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings open bag close up

They are smallish pieces and tiny pieces of seasoned pork rind. About the size of popcorn. They smell a little of salt and seasoning. But not very strongly.

What do they taste like? They taste of seasoning and salt. I can’t taste much pork in there, but it is there. Hiding in the background. There’s nothing strong about the way Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings taste.

They’re not very tough on the teeth either. These are crunchy with very occasional chewiness. The crunchiness isn’t hard going like some pork scratchings. Just satisfyingly crunchy.

What do I like about Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? I like the easy to eat crunchiness compared to hard as rock other pork scratchings. The taste isn’t off-putting in anyway. Even the most timid of snackers will be able to stomache the lightly salted and seasoned Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings.

What about the downsides? Well this ubiquitous little bag is so little, that you don’t get much for your money. You’ll have finished them before you’ve even begun. If you want extreme crunchiness or taste, you won’t find it here, either.

How can I sum up Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? Quite easily. They are simple, straight forward, adequately tasty and easy to eat. For pork scratchings that is. Almost so inoffensive, you could call them boring. No wander they are what nearly every corner shop in the land chooses to stock.

Have you tried Mr. Porky Pork Scratchings? Do you work for Red Mill? What do you think of them? Do please leave your opinions, corrections, requests, recommendations and places to buy here in the comments.

Sweets Review: Devona Jelly Babies

27 February, 2009

IN for testing this time is a bag of Devona Jelly Babies. The same Devona that brought me nice-but-dry Toasted Tea Cakes last time. And from the same Brick Lane Sunday market stall. Though I’m sure you can get them from lots of shops too.

Devona Jelly Babies bag

Being a Devona brand of bagged sweets, it looks much the same as every other bag of Devona sweets. That means very little writing or labels to get in your way. And that’s a good thing, because you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Devona Jelly Babies print on front of bag

The print on the front and bottom-right corner suffers though. I’ts just too easily scratched off. Not as bad on this one, but Toasted Tea Cakes was almost impossible to read. This time, we can finally read that it comes from Appleton & Sons Ltd. And what’s more, they’re local, coming from Bow in E3. That makes these, and all Devona sweets, proper East End sweets, and that scores them bonus points.

Devona Jelly Babies barcode

The barcode and ingredients on the other side however are badly scratched off. Honestly, you’d think there was someone going over each bag with wire wool before they left the factory.

What I can make out is that this is a 160g bag. And that sugar, glucose syrup and gelling agent and lots of E numbers make up the bulk of these jelly babies.

What do they look like close up? Like this…

Devona Jelly Babies jelly baby close-up

As far as I can tell, they’re bigger than the more mainstream jelly babies out there. I’ve counted five different colours. And each one is covered in a kind of sugar that leaves white marks on your fingers. Like the sort that icing for cakes is made out of. What’s it called? Caster sugar? Is that it?

So, what are they like? The sugary surface gets them off to tasty a good start. There’s an almost hard surface. One you bite through, you get a soft, moist jelly interior. It tastes a little of the colour of the jelly baby. But not much. Mild sweetness and mild jelly flavour are where the flavours and tastes end. These jelly babies are all about the funny texture.

What do I like about Devona Jelly Babies? Quite a lot more than any I’ve tried so far. They’re not too small. The combination of solid-ish body and squishy insides make them an interesting eat. They’re not too dry. And there’s nothing too strong to put off even timid sweet fans.

What don’t I like about Devona Jelly Babies? For a start, there’s not enough in a bag. You’ll polish them off in moments. They don’t have enough taste or flavour. There’s little to surprise you. No explosion of fizz, crackle, tang or sourness.

To sum up, Devona Jelly Babies are very edible little sweets. Not exciting. Just satisfying and tasty.

Have you tried Devona Jelly Babies? Do you work for Devona? Then do please leave a comment. What did you think of them? Got any requests, recommendations or places to buy?

Sweets Review: Devona Toasted Teacakes

26 January, 2009

TILLEY’S Jargonelle Pears were a good start. Perfectly respectable. But lacking that eccentric yummy-ness that sweets need. Time to see if Toasted Teacakes from Devona fare better.

Devona Toasted Teacakes front of bag

This little bag was bought from the same place as Tilley’s – a trader at Brick Lane’s Sunday market. And it’s a plain little bag. There’s a “Devona” roundel sporting the words “Quality sweets for over 50 years” stuck on. But little else. Or is there?

There are some words printed on the bottom-right hand corner. Only they’ve been rubbed into illegibility. I think it used to say “Toasted Teacakes” and something else. But what that other thing was, we may never know.

The back of the bag isn’t exactly crammed with detail. What we get instead is a little white box.

Devona Toasted Teacakes back of bag

In that box, we learn that these sweets are called Toasted Teacakes. That they are make mostly of desiccated coconut and sugar. That the bag weighs in at 140g. And… not much else besides. This bag is leaving the sweets to do the talking. So let’s find out what they’re like and if you should buy a bag.

Devona Toasted Teacakes open bag

They look yummy enough. I’d describe them as little cylinders of coconut that’s been lightly toasted at each end. Which is what I’m hoping they taste like.

That’s exactly how they taste. They taste a little of coconut. Nothing more to say about the taste. But there is something to say about the texture.

Normally when you enjoy a coconut based sweet, it crumbles as easily as sand. Not Devona Toasted Teacakes however. These are as solid and as chewy as popcorn. Something that catches you by surprise. You don’t expect coconut to be as chewy as this.

What do I like about Devona Toasted Teacakes? I like coconut. I think it should be in everything. It doesn’t taste as if it’s been pumped full of chemicals. Which is good. It’s chewy enough for you to get a good few seconds out of each one. And you get a good number in each bag.

What of the downsides to Devona Toasted Teacakes? There’s not a lot of flavour. And compared to some sweets on the market, they don’t surprise you enough. When you bite into the chewy coconut, you half hope to be greeted by an explosion of fizz. But that doesn’t happen. Which could make them a little boring.

To sum up Devona Toasted Teacakes are yummy in a conservative coconut way. If you like coconut based sweets, you’ll probably enjoy these. If you like exciting or funny looking sweets, keep looking.

Snack Food Review: Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings

20 January, 2009

SINCE I started writing this blog, I’ve wanted to find the perfect pork scratchings. Why? Because pork scratchings are one of the most honest, simple and tasty snack foods you can buy. Not to mention that they can round off a bottle of ale perfectly.

Crisps just aren’t as meaty. Probably because they aren’t made of meat. But pork scratchings are. So, if your religion allows, you owe it to yourself to try a packet of pork scratchings the next time you enjoy a bottle or pint of ale. As long as your religion doesn’t forbid that also.

So where do we start? The choice in shops isn’t exactly overwhelming. Tesco was my starting point and it produced this: a large 35g bag of Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings. Which I think puts this at the premium end of the market.

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings front of bag

Mr. Porky himself, a jolly looking butcher type, makes an appearance on this, and the rest of the Mr. Porky range. These are, apparently “New”. And this “Seasoned Pork Rind” to give it it’s proper name is made with “Extra Big Pieces”. Yummy.

What of the back of the bag?

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings back of bag

There’s quite a lot on here. And, in my experience, it’s much the same as what’s on the back of most packets of pork scratchings. There’s a quality guarantee in the form of “Mr. Porky’s Pledge”. There’s a red warning that only people with strong teeth should ever think of eating the contents.

The ingredients list starts off with “pork rind, pork fat, salt”. And that tells you everything you need to know about what it is and what it’ll taste like. It does contains wheat gluten and soya though, so watch out if you can’t eat those things.

There’s a whole table of nutrition information. But you’re about to eat almost pure fat and salt, so you don’t want to read what it says. Really, you don’t want to know how much fat you’re about to eat.

Elsewhere, we learn that this was made by Red Mill Snack Foods Ltd from Wednesbury in the West Midlands. And, if you want to, you can go to their website at On their website, which looks almost exactly like most brewers websites, we learn that this is just one of four types Mr. Porky’s. That’s going to make my search for the perfect pork scratching go on a bit longer than expected.

And that’s about it from the bag. All that remains is to open it up and sample the piggy goodness within. What will they taste like? And should you buy them? Lets find out.

Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings open bag

What do they look like? Curly bits of pork Some big, but at least an equal number of small pieces. They look very very thoroughly cooked, with top and bottom of each piece being the same yellowy colour. Plenty of seasoning too. My hands are covered in dusty seasoning and grease.

What are they like to eat? In a couple of words, crunchy and tasty. The meaty part is soft and the crackly part is crunchy. Together, they have a texture you won’t find in any other type of snack.

They taste mildly of pork. Not as much as you’d think. And that’s probably because of the seasoning and salt.

What am I enjoying about Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings? I like it that there’s some fairly big pieces in the bag. I like the salty seasoning that isn’t too strong. And that it’s well made.

There are one or two problems however. For a start, Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings are supposed to be “Extra Big Pieces”. Sure, there are some big pieces in there. But only about a third of them were. The rest were the normal small size. And that’s disappointing. There’s inconsistency in other ways too. Some of them are soft with a crunchy crackly top. Others are so well done that they’re all crunchy and as hard as granite. Still, it does keep you on your toes.

Are Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings the perfect pork scratching? I don’t know. I haven’t had enough to know. They are delicious though. I heartily recommend them. I can’t help thinking that there are better pork scratchings lurking somewhere out there in the British Isles. Or possibly beyond.

Have you tried Mr. Porky Prime Cut Scratchings? Do you work for Red Mill Snack Foods? Then do, please, leave a comment here with your corrections, opinions, requests and recommendations.

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