Friday, 4 October 2013

Necco, the original candy wafer


These aren’t your run of the mill sweetie or should I say candy?  They’re an American offering after all.  They certainly intrigued me when I saw them sat in a random sweet shop in a random town on a road trip around the States earlier this year.  I’m a sucker for old fashioned packaging and loved the simple paper wrapper.  I purchased both the original and the chocolate roll.

They’ve been around a long time - since 1847 - that’s older than the old Victorian cottage I live in, a little piece of history.  Apparently they were originally called Hub Wafers and were invented by a chap called Oliver Chase, an English immigrant.  They became Necco a bit later on, which stands for New England Confectionary Company.  During the Civil War and World War II soldiers would carry them, I’m guessing because they’re hardy and long lasting - my packs have a best before date of two years time.  I love a product with a story and these sweets definitely have that.

Sadly though, for me, the history is the best bit about them.  It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they’re not good.  They’re a treat that I could take or leave which, for me, kinda ruins the point.  I’m sure had I grown up enjoying Necco I’d feel a bit nostalgic about them, in a similar way that here in the UK many of us still hanker over Palma Violets or Love Hearts. 

Necco, the ‘original candy wafer’ and an ‘American Classic’ are fat free and, as far as I can tell, they’re essentially sugar, little crunchy discs of sugar.  The flavours in the original pack are orange, lemon, lime, wintergreen, clove, liquorice, cinnamon and chocolate.  I didn’t particularly like 50% of them and several of the flavours taste slightly medicinal which isn’t overly appealing to me.  The fruity ones aren’t as full of flavour unfortunately as they were the only ones I could really stand.  I think if you are a fan of liquorice or cinnamon though, then you might just rather enjoy those flavours.
Anyway, as I've already suggested, they’re not really wafers as we’d know them nowadays, they’re more like sugary chalk.  It’s an unusual texture for a sweet, especially for the chocolate version; I’m not entirely convinced about powdery chocolate discs.
I’m still deliberating whether or not I actually like them and, three months on, I still have over half a pack left of each of them which probably says it all.  Still I would recommend everyone try them, they deserve that, they’ve done their time (boy, have they done their time), they’re still super popular and selling well today so they’re doing something right I guess?!  And, if you don’t like them, maybe you have a great aunt or grandparent out there who might!
If you want to read a bit more about Necco, check out their Wiki page here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Discos - KP Snacks

I may have devoured the prawn cocktail ones before photographing...

Ah, Discos.  Retro.  If ever a crisp reminded me of my childhood, this was it!  They've recently made an appearance at one of my favourite bargain stores, Home Bargains.  I have it on good authority that they're also available in other 'pound' shops.  Umm, the trusty salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and my oh my, prawn cocktail…
Crisps are my vice.  I say vice singular, that implies I only have one.  I don’t.  I have many, including  cakes, chocolates, bread, pizza…but crisps?  Well, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t eat them for some reason.  I can’t get enough of them.  I eat at least a bag a day and can easily consume a 150 gram bag in one sitting.  We do crisps so well in this part of the world, nowhere else compares in my humble opinion and I’ve tried a lot.  When I was travelling around Europe plain salted crisps were prevalent, as was paprika, and I really missed the vast array of flavours we have to offer in  this country.
Anyway, Discos contain no MSG, no artificial colours or flavours and contain less than 150 calories per 28 gram packet, so they could be worse.  The packaging’s changed a bit, I miss the old packets with the big disco glitter ball on the front, but maybe that’s just me being overly nostalgic?
The crisps haven’t really changed; they’re still perfectly round, strong flavoured with just enough crunch.  I really enjoyed every single flavour in my multipack.  The cheese and onion were full of flavour and the salt and vinegar and prawn cocktail both had that tang, that sharpness that I personally can’t get enough of.  I love any crisp that offers that simultaneous burst of heat and flavour and they certainly had that.  In fact I think that back in the day that was the point, I seem to recall some sort of focus on the hard hitting flavour?  Actually KP still describe them as having 'more bite' on the pack.
A fabulous selection.
My favourite was the prawn cocktail (that kick - wow), then the salt and vinegar and finally the cheese and onion but all three flavours were great in my opinion.  This is a relief as so often is the case with multipacks you’re left with one flavour at the end that no one in the household particularly likes.
Didn’t Discos used to do pickled onion, beef and bacon flavours too?  What are your favourites?
This pack came from Home Bargains for the incredible price of 99p for 6 packs (plus 2 free)