Any expat will tell you that, when you're away from home, the things that you crave the most are the quintessentially British things that you probably never even gave a second glance to on the supermarket shelves when doing the weekly shop. Just before heading back to France, we always go and stock up on baked beans, cranberry sauce, cheddar cheese, Spam, gravy granules, Extra chewing gum and parsnips (no kidding, they don't sell parsnips in France !). Oh and Branston pickle ! You can get serious cravings for a cheese and pickle sandwich when you know that the shops sell neither pickle not cheddar cheese, believe me !
Well, Crosse & Blackwell recently announced some exciting news on the Branston front : "Pickle lovers can now enjoy the delicious taste of Branston in the form of a brand new snack, Branston Peanuts & Crackers. A modern twist on a British classic, Branston Peanuts & Crackers deliver the tantalising taste of the nation’s favourite cheese and pickle sandwich in a handy snack-sized bag. The delicious oven baked peanuts are coated in the unique flavour of Branston and are accompanied with tasty cheese mini crackers – perfect for tickling the taste buds of any pickle pundits. These sweet and tangy nibbles can be enjoyed either at home or on the go; and in the run up to Christmas make the fantastic addition to any festive occasion."
Well, they kindly sent me through two bags to try out and the whole family (apart from Pierre who's still a bit young for peanuts) got involved in the taste-testing. I should point out that the kids have never tried Branston pickle before, but they loved them. Madhouse Daddy Mike, who has only tasted Branston on a couple of occasions, none of them recently, said that they were nice and tasted of pickle. And that leaves me, who was brought up on the stuff and, while loving the new snacks, didn't think they had a taste of Branston.
The little oval shaped cheese crackers have exactly the right combination of crunch and crumble and they have a lovely savoury taste, but to me weren't cheesy. I sat wracking my brains trying to think what the flavour reminded me of and I think it's pickle flavoured cheese spread that Primula or somebody used to make when I was a kid. The peanuts have a lovely tangy, slightly spicy flavour that doesn't make me think of pickle but does really nicely complement the taste of the cheese crackers. Strangely, a few minutes after eating the contents of the bag, there is a kind of Branston pickle aftertaste that comes through.
They're a puzzling snack that will have your tastebuds tying themselves up in knots trying to work out what they are tasting, but my advice is give up the brainwork and just enjoy the flavours exploding on your tongue - they're delicious ! Before you pig out on the whole 90g bag though, you should be aware that 100g contain 524 calories - ouch !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £1.49 for a 90g bag
Available in Aldi, ASDA, Holland & Barrett, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose stores nationwide.
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