Posts Tagged ‘traditional’

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.

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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 (info@tilleyssweets.com). You can even visit the website, www.tilleyssweets.com, 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.


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