Interesting to ponder, for a minute, what you expect when someone offers you a snack. Are you imagining a monstrous, cartoon layered scooby-snack, a weighty slice of bread on the bottom balancing a slab of every meat you can think of, a ginormous slice of beef tomato, a hunk of cheese bigger than a small country and a gravity defying top slice keeping it all together?
Or are you, like my children, imagining a chocolate-laden Swiss roll – chocolate sponge rolled expertly around chocolate butter icing and all excessively encased in solid chocolate (because two types of chocolate in a snack can only ever be improved by adding a third).
Or are you, like me, imagining a wrought iron balcony, looking out to the Mediterranean, a warm breeze ruffling your skirt as gentle music plays and a waiter brings you three little dishes of delicious savoury morsels to accompany a glass of cold rose?
If you’re on my wavelength, and those three little dishes hold a trio of olives, nuts and sweet chilli rice crackers then you too should have Mr Filbert’s Fine Foods on speed-dial.
Their foil packages of “really interesting snacks” mean that you can experience the delights of snacking absolutely anywhere and that imaginary Mediterranean balcony can be in the layby off the M5 if your handbag holds a snack pack with Mr Filbert on the cover.
We, at Fabulous Farm Shops, recently had the good fortune to review three of their snacks (Pitted mixed olives with rosemary & garlic, French rosemary almonds and Traditional beef biltong) and found them quite delightful (read more here). So another box of goodies was sent our way and the gallant review panel, arms twisted, stepped forward with their hands cupped and ready for the next round of tasting.
On the table this time:
Basil, garlic and coriander marinated olives (snack pack)
Sweet chilli rice crackers (sharing pack)
Peanuts and Hazelnuts with Italian herbs (snack pack)
Well, anyone offering me my own little packet of olives to snack on immediately goes on my Christmas card list so I, for one, was pretty happy to see olives on the menu again. This time they are marinated in basil, garlic and coriander which is a slightly controversial mixture. Some of the review panel members turned their nose up at the thought of coriander. I have recently learnt that one’s delight or revulsion at the taste of coriander is a genetic predisposition rather than a simple taste preference. If coriander tastes like soapy water to you, then it is just the way you were born!
Fortunately, Mr Filbert’s use of coriander in his snack pack of olives is very sparing and the light hint of herbiness across these olives is perfectly balanced. There’s a nod to the Mediterranean without an overwhelming perfume or flavour.
” a subtle hint of summer nights”
…wrote one reviewer. “Soft and scrumptious” crooned another and “Moreish” scribbled a third.
The word moreish was deliberated over for a while by the review panel. Meaning “so good it leaves you wanting more” it was certainly applicable to this little pack of snack olives. This was not a sharing pack. It was a small handful of the most succulent, gently flavoured green olives. Some were left desperate for more whilst others felt that the volume was perfect for a little one-person accompaniment to a cool beverage. I certainly didn’t want to share mine with anyone. They can have my last rolo but I’m keeping my Filbert’s olives.
Next in the bowl were the sweet chilli rice crackers. Now if you’re after a bag of goodies to share with your mates, then you’ve come to the right snack. This is a sharing pack and a generous one at that. The packaging is fantastic as the resealable pouch can be easily closed and keeps the rice crackers gloriously fresh for the next bout of the munchies and there weren’t many who could have finished off this pack all by themselves. They pack a serious punch of chilli sweetness which knocks some sense into you. Often a sharing pack is just an excuse to eat three times more than you know is sensible but here we had a snack you want to take your time over.
The crackers are small and intense, a glorious orangey colour with a fabulous crunch. Pop a couple in your mouth and the sweet chilli gets the juices flowing then a powerful kick of flavour demands your attention. It was slightly unexpected on the first mouthful, eyes opened wide and a few coughs escaped but everyone, and I mean everyone, came back for more.
… was one comment, followed by a liberal sprinkling of exclamation marks. “WoW” shouted another. “Ker POW” added another (who thought he was in a Marvel comic and not writing for an extremely respectable and serious review panel).
A definite hit.
Our third and final treat for the day was another smaller snack pack containing a pleasing mixture of peanuts and hazelnuts with Italian herbs. Everyone noted the packet and were in favour of the realistic and attractive picture on the front. Knowing how hard it is to photograph food and make it look enticing, the consensus was that Mr Filbert’s have got it just right. The packaging gives you a good indication of what your senses are about to experience. Light and colourful but with a cleanness to the presentation which only makes you want to snack more. Excellent work.
Now for the taste test. Again, eager hands were held out for a good sprinkling of nut magic. And no one was disappointed. An even distribution of herby flavouring was noted and the taste was a “just right” on the Goldilocks’ scale of appreciation.
…wrote one nut-lover. “Perky” suggested another and the word “moreish” was rolled out again by various reviewers. One wrote a full essay on the pleasures of enjoying Mr Filbert’s peanuts and hazelnuts whilst watching a game of cricket with a cold beer. It was an excellent essay despite the awful handwriting and the unsightly beer stains on the paper but the message was clear…
“I will be buying these snacks in the future”
- accompanied by a very good doodle of a wicket keeper.
See! – snacks beyond expectation.
If you would like to stock these fabulous little snacks in your farm shop then get in touch with Filbert’s Fine Foods:
by phone 01458 833744
by email firstname.lastname@example.org
or online mrfilberts.com/pages/trade
If you have a product you would like us to review, please contact