The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Tag: tayto (page 1 of 4)

Spud Sunday: A Better Bar

Remember the horror that was (and still is) Tayto chocolate?

Personally, it’s something that I have been trying to forget (though for some perverse reason, a half-eaten bar of the stuff still lurks in the cupboard; no sugar craving has proved desperate enough to result in consumption of same chez Spud, and that’s saying something). Happily, the whole experience was redeemed somewhat recently by a gift brought back from the States by thoughtful friends and which proved, at least, that crisps-in-a-chocolate-bar can work.

Potato chip chocolate by Chuao

Chuao Chocolatier’s potato chip chocolate

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Spud Sunday: Big Fish, Big Food

Before I get to this week’s spud topic, this is something that I think is worth your attention.

Tuesday was the Irish Government’s Budget Day – delivered to the tune of their austerity anthem – while Wednesday was no less than World Food Day – an initiative of the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organisation, with a theme based around sustainable food systems and food security (or how we ensure that people have ongoing access to food without destroying the planet in the process). On Thursday, however, it was another organisation that brought the intersection of these two events into sharp, local focus when news of an urgent appeal for support by Irish Seed Savers hit social media channels.

Irish Seed Savers

Irish Seed Savers is a Co. Clare based non-governmental organisation dedicated to the conservation of Ireland’s plant genetic resources, and they maintain a seed bank with over 600 rare and endangered vegetable varieties, along with native Irish apple and grain collections, as well (of course) as a collection of heirloom varieties of potato. In their appeal, they point out that knowledge of, and access to, this seed base brings with it at least some control over Ireland’s future food security, but with severe cuts in funding from the Dept. of Agriculture in recent years, the survival of Irish Seed Savers – like the survival of the seeds they save – is in very real danger. You can read about the appeal and ways to support the organisation here.

I used to think of Tayto – or, rather, Largo Foods, Ray Coyle’s snack manufacturing business, which makes Tayto, Hunky Dorys, King Crisps and others here in Ireland – as the big fish in crisp terms. And, relative to some of the newer entrants to the Irish crisp market, like Keogh’s and O’Donnells, that, I suppose, is the case. This week, however, has given my big fish notions a bit of Big Food perspective.

tayto cheese 'n' onion

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Spud Sunday: A Bar Too Far

Warning: You may feel a slight dizziness as I plunge from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a single post. This is a normal reaction and mostly nothing to be concerned about.
Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi à la Madhur Jaffrey

Last week, you see, I was all about the heady heights of the Ballymaloe Lit Fest.

There was me and there was Madhur Jaffrey and the world was a-glow with possibilities. First stop, aloo gobi, next stop, who knows where.

This week, there is cheese and onion chocolate. A place to which I didn’t particularly want to go.

Tayto cheese and onion chocolate

Cheese and onion chocolate. Did it have to happen?

Yet here it is (or, at least, there it was in my local Centra), the union, in a single wrapper, of Tayto cheese & onion crisps and milk chocolate.

Now, the first thing to know is that, in Ireland, the combination of crisps and chocolate is, to use that most nondescript of descriptions, a thing. I have – and I know I am not alone in this – enjoyed meals of Tayto cheese & onion and Cadbury’s dairy milk, usually in that order and most memorably when my Da would bring both items home as a treat. Perhaps a chocolate bar with embedded Tayto was an inevitability but – guess what? – that sweet chocolatey ooze in your gob smacks mostly of onion and, with that, all desire to let it linger disappears.

Afterward, it tastes like you’ve downed a bag of Tayto, which seems unfair, given that you haven’t had the pleasure. The fundamental problem, I think, is that the crisp-chocolate balance is all wrong (well that, and the fact that the chocolate isn’t great to begin with). The real joy of crisps and chocolate is that you get to have the satisfying savoury crunch of the crisp followed by some silky chocolate sweetness. This bar manages, sadly, to rob you of both.

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