Best Foods Lotto Pizza

We picked this up at Ozmen , our local emporium of international foods. The draw was immediate: they’re just like onion ring corn snacks, but pizza flavoured!! And they’re from Romania – we haven’t spotted other intriguing snacks from there yet.

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Only GIFs can adequately describe our love for pizza
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Piiizzaaa

   Snack: Best Foods Lotto Pizza 75g

Bought at: Ozmen Barber Rd

Price: 79p

The packaging for Lotto Pizza is charmingly badly designed, like someone’s GCSE graphics project. It features a pizza with tomato slices and olives badly photoshopped onto it, with several of the pizza rings themselves frolicking around it – again, badly photoshopped, but they have at least not resorted to using one image of a pizza ring copied, pasted, rotated and resized – at least two separate pizza rings have been photographed for this endeavor.

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“SNACK”

Now, what sort of flavours would you expect from a pizza-flavoured snack? We thought we’d be in for tomato, cheese, herbs, maybe even olives and peppers, seeing as they’re featured on the packaging and all. But in hindsight we should have been warned by the product name – is it called “Lotto Pizza” because it’s a lottery of flavour?

Opening the packet, we took a whiff… and smell… mushroom cupasoup? What on Earth? Well, a quick glance at the ingredients list reveals that, alongside “pizza flavour 6%” (6%!!!), bacon flavour and mushroom flavour also make an appearance. Ok, so maybe they’re supposed to taste like a farmhouse pizza? Odd that neither has been photoshopped onto the cover pizza though…

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Appetising green herby bits

They look reassuringly like your average corn-based onion ring snack, so we dive in, and, indeed, we taste mushroom.

Megan: “I suppose it tastes a bit like a ham and mushroom pizza, if you use your imagination.”

The texture is light and crisp, a bit more melt-in-the-mouth than onion rings generally are, and if they’d been labelled as mushroom flavour we’d have been very happy with them, but:

Lottie: “I feel I have been misled.”

We did a spot of research into Best Foods, the manufacturer (i.e. we Googled them), and found that Lotto Pizza is just one of their line in “extruded snacks” – yum. In fact, it turns out Best Foods are the “market leader of extruded snacks in the Romanian market” and have “one of the most skillful workforce in the extruded snacks industry” (sic). The more you know.

The whole Best Foods website is charmingly Web 1.0, the homepage featuring an animated graphic of bags of crispy snacks.

As well as extruded snacks, they also do a nice line in peanuts and peanut products. Here’s our favourite: Peanuts Paste for Industrial use Barells of 230Kg, illustrated by a delightful picture of a bowl that someone has filled with beige in MS Paint.

They are moving with the times though, and have a Facebook page! It is, naturally, full of badly photoshopped pictures. Seriously guys, go and take a look – here’s our favourite.

Anyway, these actually are good quality snacks, and would have got a much higher score except that they don’t taste of the advertised flavour. They certainly provided us with plenty of entertainment.

6/10

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E. Wedel Supreme Raspberry Jaffa Cakes

Blackcurrant. Lemon and Lime. Strawberry.

Many have tried to usurp orange’s throne as the ultimate smashing jelly bit on our treasured jaffa cakes, but none have succeeded. Can raspberry triumph where lesser fruits have failed? That is the question we asked when we stumbled upon these Polish jaffas at Tesco.

We both love raspberries – they are our very fave fruit, and we love jaffa cakes as all right thinking people do. Surely these have to be glorious.

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Lottie: ‘ Hahaha it makes out that E. Wedel has stamped their name on the bottom of each each jaffa cake. There is no way that can be real. Somebody call trading standards.’

     Snack: E. Wedel Supreme Jaffa Cakes Raspberry

     Bought at: Tesco

     Price: 80p

     Available at: Tesco, Morrison’s, Amazon

The packaging looks well fancy with a premium looking design on the front. It even has a swish resealable opening which is thoughtful, if unnecessary. Has anyone in history ever opened a tube of jaffas without scoffing the lot?

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Megan: ‘Oooh just like baby wipes!’

A deliciously sweet, chocolatey scent slowly fills the kitchen. They smell really good.

The packaging claims that the cakes are coated with ‘Original Wedel Chocolate’, although they use the word ‘original’ loosely. Correct me if I am wrong but I am not sure that soya beans and polyglycerol polyricinoleate were commonplace in 19th century Poland. In any case, the chocolate looks dark, glossy and tempting.

As we take a bite, the chocolate emits a satisfying crack just like that advert for Magnum ice cream. Woah. The Raspberry layer is thick and soft and the cake base is generous and delightfully springy.

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More chocolate + More Smashing bit + More Cake = More NOMMMMMMMM

The flavour of the jelly is subtle – a sweet mild raspberry flavour followed by a hint of rose. The cake is a little drier than on the average jaffa, but it has a more vanilla flavour than most cakes and doesn’t feel too mealy when combined with the generous layer of dark chocolate.

Usually I tend to gravitate towards big bold flavours that overwhelm my taste buds, but the delicate balance of these three components is absolutely spot on and I wouldn’t change a thing. I would go as far as to say that the flavours of this 80p packet of snacks are genuinely balanced and refined. Megan is so taken with the experience that she has started sounding like a sommelier:

Megan [Thinking carefully]: ‘The chocolate is very present. A nice balance.’

One more thing seals this amazing deal:

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Lottie: ‘Holy shit! I stand corrected. This is one quality product!’

These. Are. Excellent. They are delicious, satisfyingly plump and have a unique flavour. They are even cheaper than the usual McVities jaffas. Move over orange, there’s a new cake in town!

9/10

Niru Faluda

So far, our efforts to find a yummy, little known drink have been unsuccessful. Perhaps it’s time to try something a little further Off the Bitten Track:

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Looks like fabric softener, but is allegedly potable and delicious.

     Drink: Niru Faluda 290ml

     Bought at: Tesco

     Price: 75p

     Available at: Tesco, Asda

We came across this mystery beverage and it’s unusual packaging in the Indian import section of Tesco. The label is opaque and covers all of the glass except the bottom. We would later discover that this is a design feature as the its contents are, shall we say, a textural experience.

Wikipedia informs me that faluda is a chilled dessert popular across South Asia, made with rose syrup, milk, sweet basil seeds, vermicelli, jelly and is sometimes topped with a scoop of ice cream. It sounds completely unlike anything I have ever tried before which is promising… But can you really approximate this delicate sounding delight in a hermetically sealed bottle and ship it half way across the globe?

I think the ingredients list answers this question for us.

There is no milk in this drink, but instead water and “non-dairy creamer”. Confusingly, this is listed as a milk allergen because it’s made of the milk protein (and safety match binder!) casein. Hmm. The faluda also contains everyone’s favourite insect derived E number: cochineal. Hmmmmmmmm. The drink does fortunately contain genuine basil seeds.

 

Unfortunately, genuine basil seeds look like this.

 

This looks like an ordeal experience that is best shared, so today we are joined by our friends and fellow snack aficionados Bella and Cyd to help us make sense of all of this. Let’s pour some out to get a good look at it.

 

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Bella: “Ha! It’s millenial pink!”

The bottle told us to shake before opening, but that appears to have done exactly nothing as all of the basil seeds instantly sink to the bottom. I take a quick sniff to see if it smells of anything familiar and it does smell faintly rosy like turkish delight. Perhaps there is hope yet?

Hahaha. No. By the time I have finished my sniff, white floaty clumps of debris begin to rise to the surface of the liquid, crushing what little optimism I have left.

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BITCH YOU THOUGHT.

To be honest, I am not expecting to enjoy this drink as I

A) Do not like floral flavours.

B) Do not like very sweet drinks.

C) Can’t help but be reminded by the basil seeds of the time I had to fight that giant eye monster in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

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You know the one.

We have a sip.

There is silence.

Then there is frowning.

Cyd: “Ugh. It gets creamy in your mouth after you’ve drank it.”

The flavour takes a while to unfold on your tongue, beginning as a very diluted sugary taste, then developing into an artificial powdery approximation of rose before ending on a big, oily faux cream tang. It is not good.

I didn’t get any basil seeds in my first mouthful so, for science, I decide to take a bigger gulp from the bottom of the glass and… well, my head is just swimming with words…

 

All of which are the word  “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” screamed into an eternal void.

Ughhhhh.

It is truly awful. Blobby on the outside, gritty in the middle. Nope.

Lottie: “Would you say this lived up to expectation?”

Cyd: “I would never drink this again.”

Megan: “It lived up to expectation in the sense that it was awful.”

At this point there was a serious debate between us as to whether 0/10 is a valid score. In the end we decided that it is (just about) possible to have a drink with a worse flavour, although it’s hard to imagine a drink with a worse texture.

This is quite simply the worst thing we have tried to date. Steer clear or forever be haunted by the experience. 

1/10

Peanut Punch Flavoured Milk Drink

A couple of months ago we valiantly reviewed ‘Eggnog Flavoured Milk Drink ‘ for your reading pleasure. We discovered that despite the name, it was in fact an unholy faux-banana-bubblegum-squirty-cream flavour. Even with the ‘artificial cognac brandy’.

We promised to review it’s nutty sibling the ‘Peanut Punch Flavoured Milk Drink’ (just brimming with pithy product name zingers aren’t they?) and… here we are!

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Don’t say we never do anything for you.

     Drink: Serge Island Premium Peanut Punch 240ml

     Bought at: Tesco

     Price: 75p

     Available at: TescoAmazon

Initially the promise of a smooth… creamy…. cool…… buttery……… nutty experience fills me with eager anticipation. The unassuming carton calls to me. It sings sweetly. Drawing me to it with it’s siren song….

 

I remind myself that this shelf stable ‘flavoured milk drink’ was snatched off a dusty shelf from a forgotten corner of Tesco for 75p. Surely it can’t be a lot better than the last box of disappointment?

Let’s just get it open and have a swig.

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Stabbing your way in through a two dimensional peanut feels a bit OTT. Haven’t they suffered enough already?

There is 10% peanut butter, 9.1% peanut and a massive 25g of sugar in this little box. I am therefore expecting a huge, sweet peanut ice cream flavour as I take a gulp.

Hmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

This is not what I expected.

The initial creaminess gives way to a raw, natural and unroasted peanut flavour. It’s a strange experience that is borderline cloying at first, and then a bit too woody and green tasting at the finish. It manages to miss the mark in opposite ways at the same time. Wow.

I am not quite sure if I am enjoying it or not, but I can’t stop drinking the stuff and marveling at the trip happening on my tongue. I offer Megan a go but I am not sure she is game.

Lottie: “Have another sip, it’s not too bad!”

Megan: “I will not.”

Is it delicious? No. But it is fascinating and worth a dabble if you are a foodie thrill seeker.

4/10

itsu Chocolate Edamame

Here’s another snack we found on the bottom shelf of the Sainsbury’s ‘impulse buy’ section near the till. We chose these because of the weird AF packaging – a bikini-clad woman’s bum? Really?

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Lottie: “I like how they put the window over the ball but not over her arse.”

Snack: itsu chocolate edamame 35g

Bought at: Sainsbury’s local 

Price: approx. £1.20

Also available from: OcadoWaitrose

On closer inspection, it appears itsu, the company behind these chocolate coated edamame beans, is actually the official partner of the Volleyball England Beach Tour, and, looking at their website, much of their packaging features photographs of volleyball players. But maybe they should have put, say, a banner across the front of the box, rather than a tiny logo on the side, so that people don’t just think they’re being weird and trying to sell ‘healthy’ snacks with scantily-clad ladies?

Looking into itsu further, it turns out they were founded 20 years ago by one of the people behind Pret A Manger, and currently have 70 stores, but we’ve never heard of them before. Then again, Sheffield only got its first branch of Pret last year, so we’re not exactly in a Mecca of trendy brands here.

itsu seem to be very health focussed, and bill this product as high in fibre and a healthier alternative to chocolate-coated peanuts, but they actually have more fat per 100g than a kitkat. And they’re stupidly expensive.

Despite having put effort into a slick website, there’s a typo in the first sentence of their ‘about us’ section, and, EVEN WORSE, they use the motto “eat beautiful”:

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Lottie: screams “That doesn’t make grammatical sense!”

Down to the eating: we’re expecting these to be a lot like chocolate coated nuts or coffee beans, but less delicious, and we’re not wrong.

On opening the inner packet (and do they really need a cardboard box as well?) the beans do look temptingly dark and glossy. Biting in, the chocolate has a good flavour, and it’s a nice thick coating of it. The roasted edamame interior is crunchy, and very faintly nutty/salty, but to be honest it isn’t doing much.

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Shiny.

They’re perfectly pleasant to eat, and we polished off the rest of the (small) packet easily enough, but what is the point? We’d rather have some chocolate almonds or peanuts, but even if you’re looking for a healthier snack, you’d be better off with a few squares of some better dark chocolate. Purely based on the product, we give these:

4/10

But, particularly given the high price for such a small product, and how much the packaging offends us on a really primal level, we’re going to reduce the score to:

2/10

Oishi Crablets

Q: What’s snappy, crabby and can be lured from Scarborough Harbour with bacon bits?

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‘Hmmm… Lottie after a pasting at Pirate Adventure Mini Golf?’

Yes.

But also: crabs, which are what today’s snack adventure is alllllllll about.

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Crab shaped, crab flavoured, crab named and 1% crab powder. Crab level: MAX.

Snack: Oishi Crablets 40g

Bought At: Oriental Supermarket, Sheffield

Price: 95p

Available From: Amazon, Eastern Fortune, Fresh Oriental

These were an impulse buy at our local Asian supermarket. The bag looked really fun and, as you no doubt know by now, we are suckers for novelty. The packaging informs us that this snack is made in China and, like us, is ‘Ready to eat’.

We are hoping that these little crispy crustaceans live up to the super crabby flavour inferred by the bag. As such there is a danger that these are going to be a bit stinky when we crack ’em open.

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Tuck your trousers into your socks. The crablets cometh.

There is something almost intimidating by the huge number of tiny crunchy critters spilling from the bag. Perhaps it is the anatomical oversight of the crabby design (which has omitted a pair of legs), that makes it appear that the bag contains a deep fried pile of mites.

We gather up courage and take a sniff from the bag and find that the aroma is mild and a little like a batch of freshly fried prawn crackers. The crablets are not as big as we were expecting – we thought they would be Monster Munch like in size and texture but they are quite delicate and small.

Megan: ‘Can I make a diorama of crabs against a seascape?’

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Sure. You do you.

As for the flavour, it is pretty good! A light saltiness gives way to a creamy seafood flavour, ending on a very subtle crabby note. So subtle in fact, that if we weren’t reminded in every way that these are CRAB snacks made with CRAB, then we probably would have assumed they were prawn flavour. The taste is very reminiscent of those Nong Shim Shrimp Crackers that you see in Asian supermarkets. The texture is particularly good – the crablets are very light and almost melty like a Pom-bear.

Verdict: These are a really fun novelty snack with a good flavour, but could perhaps use a little more of the flavouring powder on them to stand out from the other crispy seafood snacks out there.

7/10

Polly Puffar Sea Salt

Here’s another snack we picked up on our trip to Stockholm – Polly Puffar Sea Salt.

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Lovely sea imagery in the background there.

Snack: Cloetta Polly Puffar Sea Salt 150g

Bought at: 7-Eleven in Stockholm

Price: £2ish

I grabbed these at 7-Eleven because I have been completely taken in by the trend for salted caramel and salted chocolate. Also, our friends Bella and Cyd gave us a bag of regular Polly a while back which we enjoyed. The regular Polly are sort of chewy, sort of marshmallowy things coated in chocolate (the manufacturer’s website says “delightfully chewy foam drops”), but Polly Puffar are rather different.

The Puffar are “salty corn puffs covered with milk chocolate”. Oddly, the front of the packet is entirely in English (except for the word ‘puffar’), which makes sense as these are sold in several countries – no point repackaging them I suppose. However there is absolutely no English on the back of the packet. Puzzling.

Moving on to the Puffar themselves: they are rather unfortunate looking. That’s wishful thinking on the packaging. Imagine someone gave some Niknaks a not-very-smooth chocolate coating and you’ve pretty much got the idea. They look like the droppings of a small woodland creature. Lottie also likened them to Jumanji playing pieces. Take a look for yourselves:

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Hmmm.

Thankfully they made up for their lacklustre appearance by being incredibly moreish. On first bite, we both think we’ve eaten something like this before – but what? We can’t quite place it.

The closest comparison we came up with is a giant Crispy M&M, minus the sugar shell, and with a bit of salt. Texturally, the innards are similar to Niknaks, Monster Munch, Golden Nuggets cereal, and other forms of extruded puffed corn (I like the word ‘extruded’). I think the middle is just salty, with all the sweetness coming from the chocolate coating. They’re very light and easy to eat, rather like Maltesers.

Basically, I think if you like Maltesers and other forms of crispy things coated in chocolate, and you also like the salty-sweet combination, then you’ll find these slip down far too easily. 

8/10