Ten Acre snacks.

I really love crisps. They are my ultimate favourite snack, ever. Did anyone read this recent article in the Guardian, about the potential fall of crisps due to the rise and shine of posh popcorn? Well I did. And it made me a little sad. I for one don’t think Brits will ever fall out of love with crisps. And I don’t think they will every be fully replaced by ‘poshcorn’ either.

Which is exactly why, when a company called Ten Acre snacks (who specialise in both varieties of snack) contacted me I was excited to taste them, and see just how a brand can target both crisp lovers and popcorn addicts simultaneously.

Surely one product would be stronger than the other? Surely most flavours would be savoury, thus making them not so appealing to all the sweet-toothed Tessies out there?

I simply had to investigate…

A Manchester based company with a ‘free from’ attitude

Brought to us by Yumsh Snacks who say they make snacks that everyone can enjoy, and when they say everyone, they mean everyone. Pioneering a concept they call ‘free-from plus’ their snacks boast an impressive list of things they are free from:

Gluten, dairy and MSG. Plus, they are vegan, halal and kosher.

So, if that’s what they are free from, the what are they full of? First of all they are British. All of their potatoes, flavourings and packaging are sourced from the UK. And they are made in small batches in the UK too, which I think is very impressive.

I was very generously sent their full range of 10 flavours of hand-cooked crisps, and seven flavours of hand-picked popcorn. Here’s my summary of their stand-out flavours (the full list of flavours is at the bottom of this post).

Crisp taste-testing

The Secret Of Mr Salt – Ready Salted Crisps

I know what you’re thinking. Why is she starting with the boring flavour? Well, my friend. These are not boring. They were the first packet I sampled and they were delicious. It was mainly the texture that got me (which is applicable to all other flavours I sampled).

They have the most delicious crunch – but aren’t too hard like some other hand-cooked crisps out there. Lightly salted but enough so that the seasoning can cut through a decent scoop of plain hummus (which I enjoyed alongside the packet). A fine bag of crisps indeed.

When the Pepper Crack’d – Black Pepper and Sea Salt Crisps

As above, but with lashing of freshly ground black pepper. Which gives them a great little kick. Also sensational alongside a good pot of hummus for dipping.

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beautiful Bombay spices

When Bombay Got Spicy – Bombay Spice Flavour Crisps

I love Bombay mix, and have honestly never come across a bag of crisps this flavour before. They were delicious, warming, spicy and a great balance of flavours that really did remind me of a handful of Bombay mix. These would be great by the bowlful when you have friends over as something a little different and unexpected.

Pastrami In The Rye – Pastrami Flavour Hand Cooked Crisps

These little beauties were peppery and salty and meaty, all with the same great texture and crunch. Again, another well executed and innovative flavour. Making Walker’s weird and wonderful range look even more horrendous!

 

The Story of When the Cheese Met the Onion – Cheese and Onion Flavour Crisps

Cheese and onion are my favourite flavour crisps, and I have to admit I like the Walker’s variety. Other attempts at cheese and onion just seem to take it too far. Kettle Chips’ mature cheddar and red onion are too intense: too cheesy, and too onion-y. These ones however don’t try to be overly fancy. They are just cheese and onion, very well done.

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delicious crisps with a crispy crunch (that doesn’t break your teeth)

Popcorn taste-testing

Sweet and Salty 

I’m starting with this one, as in our house, we consider ourselves connoisseurs of sweet and salty popcorn varieties. I know that’s not a thing, but trust me – it should be. We have tried alllllllll the brands. And we have our favourite. Here’s how this one holds up: The balance between sweet and salty is good. The sweet pieces are in the form of crystallised chunks that have a light crunch to them. And the rest are dusted with a light salty powder.

So they haven’t quite replaced my favourite brand yet, but their other inventive flavours more than make up for it…

Wasabi 

Well, this flavour is amazing. The best wasabi flavoured product I have tested to date (apart from the real thing). Hot, spicy, gets up your nose a little bit like English mustard. Again, this flavour features the light, crunchy, crystallised kernels which had an almost sweetness to them. Mindbogglingly full of flavour. Nailed it.

Cappuccino

I took one look at this flavour in the extensive collection and thought ‘no’. Just no. Cappuccino flavour? That will be awful, I said. There’s no way that one will work, I said. So I left it until last. Boy, on boy, was I wrong. It was my second favourite after the wasabi and completely different. Much sweeter than I had imagined, with a subtle coffee flavour that added a welcomed bitterness. Delicious and very clever indeed. Hats off, chef.

Overall, I really enjoyed this taste test

The fact that these products are made self-contained here in the UK is great – it’s nice to see a company really embracing what we have here instead of importing bits and bobs from elsewhere.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the crisps and the popcorn, but slightly more so the crisps as they are pretty much my Achilles heel. Their flavours are inventive, well executed and their branding is cute and honest. Packaging lovely. I am not surprised they have won awards. They are a really great product, and there is something for everyone.

You can read more about Ten Acre snacks on their fun and cute website.

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All available flavours:

  1. The Secret Of Mr Salt – Ready Salted Crisps
  2. When the Pepper Crack’d – Black Pepper and Sea Salt Crisps
  3. When Bombay Got Spicy – Bombay Spice Flavour Crisps
  4. Pastrami In The Rye – Pastrami Flavour Hand Cooked Crisps
  5. How Chicken Soup Saved The Day – Chicken Soup Flavour Crisps
  6. When the Chilli got Sweet – Sweet Chilli Flavour Crisps
  7. The Story of When the Cheese Met the Onion – Cheese and Onion Flavour Crisps
  8. The Amazing Adventures of Salt and Vinegar – Salt and Vinegar Flavour Crisps
  9. When Hickory Got BBQ’d – Hickory BBQ Flavour Crisps
  10. The Day Sweet and Sour Became Friends -Sweet & Sour Flavour Crisps
  11. Cousin Maisie’s Fennel and Lemon Popcorn – Fennel and Lemon Flavour
  12. Ambrose Popperley’s Wasabi Popcorn – Wasabi Flavour
  13. Aunty Winifred’s Sweet and Salty Popcorn – Sweet and Salty Flavour
  14. Captain Theodore’s Lime and Sea Salt Popcorn – Lime and Salt Flavour
  15. Cornelius Popperley’s Sour Cream and Chive Popcorn – Sour Cream and Chive Flavour
  16. Lucia Popperley’s Cappuccino Popcorn- Cappuccino Flavour
  17. Cousin Penelope’s Strawberry & Cream Popcorn – Strawberry & Cream Flavour

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Mr. Sherick’s Shakes

I was recently contacted by The Food Sauce UK to sample some of Mr Sherick’s gourmet milkshakes. Now available in selected shops across the UK, I get the feeling you may be seeing a little more of these naughty little bottles of pure indulgence.

“Crammed full of the finest, ethically sourced ingredients, beautifully blended with fresh British milk, and made extraordinary with exciting bursts of flavours and texture. A little bit of heaven in every bottle.”

That’s the description on their rather groovy website, and I must say, flavour-wise they do live up to expectations. I noticed that in a couple of the creamier flavours, palm oil was present on the ingredients list. Although it says ingredients are ‘ethically sourced’ the individual ingredients are not listed, nor is there any mention of sustainable palm oil usage. So, I contacted Mr Sherick himself to clarify. He got back to me right away to confirm that “the palm oil we use is from certified sustainable sources.” He went on to confirm that “all our ingredients are ethically sourced and our factory is SEDEX affiliated.” I was pleased to hear this, although I do think they could make a little more effort to state this on their site, which is pretty but not very forthcoming with information.

A little background information:

Andrew Sherick, founder of Mr Sherick’s Shakes, former M&S Food Buyer and Chairman of the British Sandwich Association, launched his Shakes in Selfridges in late 2013. Consumer research and his own love of sweet, indulgent treats, identified a gap in the market for premium, luxurious milkshakes aimed primarily at adults.

Mr Sherick’s Shakes first launched in Selfridges in October 2013. Harrods shortly followed suit, as did selected Waitrose, Booths and Partridges. Alongside launching into some of these excellent food stores, they have also won a number of awards including the ‘Gold Innovation Challenge award’ at the Lunch! 2013 show, and ‘Best New Product of the Year 2014’ for the ‘Pot Au Choc’ shake, from The Grocer.

The flavours I sampled were:

  • Pot Au Choc
  • Hint of Mint (same base as Pot Au Choc but with a ‘hint’ of mint)
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Softly Banoffee
  • Strawberry Pavlova

I found all of the flavours to be truly indulgent, and at almost 500 calories per bottle – I wouldn’t expect any less! You can absolutely tell that they use ‘real’ ingredients, as none of the flavours are smooth – they each contain real pieces of the actual ingredients. For example, the Strawberry Pavlova contains real meringue pieces, and the Softly Banoffee contains real toffee pieces, and so on. I really liked this in the chocolate shakes (being a chocolate lover,) but it was quite strange swallowing real pieces of softened meringue with the strawberry shake. It’s nice to have texture, but I think it works better in some of the shakes than others.

Maybe I am missing something, but I do think it would help if their website contained the shakes nutritional information, so people could make more informed choices about whether or not they are willing to spend a big chunk of the days calorie intake in one small little bottle of joy. 🙂

Mr Sherick's Pot Au Choc flavour - yummy.
Mr Sherick’s Pot Au Choc flavour – yummy.

My favourite shake was by far the Pot Au Choc. You can really taste the Belgian chocolate – and I would certainly consider swapping this for a donut or a pudding after my lunch time sandwich… if I ever did that. The packaging and design is also gorgeous – certainly very aesthetically pleasing and unlike any other brand – I think a true representation that these shakes really are like no others on the shelves.

Overall, the shakes are lovely, once you get used to the texture, and sheer and utter indulgence. However, in recent times where people seem to be more and more health conscious (and becoming more attracted to ‘natural juices’ and ‘detox smoothie’ products), I am not sure these will be on the top of my shopping list, as I too am aiming to slim down for the summer!

Mr Sherick's Shakes - the full range in all their glory.
Mr Sherick’s Shakes – the full range in all their glory.

Disclaimer: Mr Sherick’s Shakes were sent to me on a promotional basis, to sample the flavours, via the wonderful The Food Sauce UK.