* Prices may differ from that shown
We are big fans of the "bacon bits" in the pizza hut sald bar. So when I saw these for sale in Cost Co a couple of weeks ago I thought I would buy them.
They were a large tub containing 300g of the bacon bits - these are not really bacon but are bacon flavoured soya peices. The packet suggests that they are suitable for vegetarians but I always find meat flavoured vegetarian products a bit strange.They are great for adding to salads - as per Pizza hut - but I like to add them into a macaroni cheese to give it a bit more flavour. I also like to include it with breadcrumbs on the top with a bit of cheese to make it a really crusty top.
They can be little bit chewy rather than crunchy when they are contained in the macaroni but when they are on top they go really crunchy.
I am going to try them on new potatoes soon and see how that goes. They do have a good smoky bacon flavour so I will be making sure they are part of my shop when this pot runs out.
Schwatrz bacon flavour bits are not, as you might expect, bits of bacon, but in fact are actually small, hard, red/brown bits of soya that taste very strongly of salty bacon. Theyre almost overpowering on their own, but work especially well on
Hang on, Im doing it again, getting all ahead of myself and going into great detail before Ive told you the basics. Let me start again.
Schwartz market their bacon flavour bits as a seasoned salad topping, but to me these little crunchy nuggets are so much more. As I mentioned above, theyre bacon flavoured soya pieces, each a couple of millimetres in size, and you can usually find them on the Schwartz herb and spices stand in your local supermarket. They come in a typically Schwartz yellow plastic pot and Ive bought them in Sainsburys, Asda and Tesco, though Ive never found them anywhere else, and believe me, Ive looked.
At £1.43 each from my local Sainsburys, the 65g that you get in each pot doesnt sound all that much, but the taste is so strong that each pot goes a long way. It helps that the bacon bits are only tiny, but you do have to be a little careful with the rather large hole at the top of the pot that you dont pour out too many at once. The pot comes complete with a safety seal, so obviously dont eat them if you notice this has been broken or even better, dont buy them from the supermarket if you notice its broken. The pot is resealable, but Schwartz recommend that you use their bits within 14 days of opening. Believe me, you wont find that difficult.
I was surprised to notice that this product is by appointment to the Queen. Not that it means as much as it used to nowadays, but still, it is nice to know that some evening not too far distant from now, the queen might be tucking into a leafy green salad and think hm, one could just do with some bacon bits to go with this. Yeah, unlikely, I know. Still This product is also made in the EU, but the packaging doesnt specify where.
Ive already mentioned that these bacon bits are made with flavoured soya, but incase you were wondering what else is in them, the full ingredient list is: Textured soy flour*, partially hydrogenated soy bean oil*, salt, corn starch**, flavourings, flavour enhancer (E621), colours (caramel, allura red AC), hydrolysed soy*, corn, wheat gluten.
* Produced from genetically modified soya
** Produced from genetically modified corn
Phew, doesnt make for happy reading, does it. All of those GM products crammed in there along with salt, flavourings, whatever they may be, and all. Apparently this is one of only two products still using GM foods on sale in this country. Theres no mention of any advice for allergy sufferers too, or whether this product is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
However, what they do give on the pot is the website address (www.schwartz.co.uk) so I checked it out. The allergen advice is straight forward and doesnt really say much more than we already knew from checking the pot this product contains soya and wheat. The website also says that this product is suitable for vegetarians, woohoo. But how much easier it wouldve been if this information had been on the pot itself.
Now, getting onto the really important stuff, what is special enough about this product that Ive chosen to suggest the category for it? Well, lets open the pot shall we, and Ill try to tell you all about it.
Yes, I really do have a virgin, unopened pot of bacon bits on the desk right next to my left hand so I can take you through the whole experience. Im picking it up right now and removing the security seal No getting any funny ideas now, this isnt going to be one of THOSE opinions! That came off really easily, I think a child could have done it without any problems. Now Im going to flip up the lid
Oh boy! Id forgotten just how good these little fellas smell. The second I opened the lid and hovered my nose over the pot I was hit with a powerful salty wave of bacony goodness. The smell is just divine, especially as Im a veggie and so very used to the torture of living with meat eaters who fry bacon! Evil! Theres nothing that can test the metal of a vegetarian more than frying bacon within sniffing range.
Now Im tasting a few of them, and to be honest, on their own theyre overpoweringly bacony and not particularly pleasant (especially as right now theyre sharing my mouth with the remnants of the bourbon biscuit I wolfed down a couple of minutes ago, poor planning, that). However, the Schwartz Bacon Flavour Bit was never intended to be eaten alone (or with bourbon biscuits) its marketed as a salad topping, and it does excel at that vocation. My husbands favourite is bacon bits over a rich potato salad, but personally I like them mixed with croutons over a rocket, watercress and spinach salad with lashings of goats cheese crumbled over and a swoosh of red pepper and balsamic dressing.
On the pot they suggest that you pep up pizzas, soups, dips or jacket potatoes with a sprinkle of bacon bits, but to be honest I cant really see these working well on pizza, jacket potatoes or in dips as theyre really quite hard and brittle. I dont know about you but I dont want hard little lumps in my soft as butter jacket potato, or on my squishy soft pizza. But hey, to each his own. I do, however, love bacon bits on a quiche, if its a bland one, and they absolutely come into their own on cauliflower cheese, or macaroni cheese for that matter.
One word of warning, however, like croutons if youre going to use this product on any salad, soup or other moist food item, use it at the very last moment to retain optimum crunch. If you add bacon bits and leave them for a while they will go soggy, and whilst they still remain gorgeously bacony the crunch is something that shouldnt be missed.
So, are Schwartz Bacon Flavour Bits a big hit for me? Youd think so from the glowing review Ive given them, wouldnt you? But then, Ive tasted Betty Crockers Bac-os. Theyre hard to find nowadays, which is why, more often than not, I settle for the Schwartz equivalent. But if I had my way Bac-os would be my bacon bit of choice every time. Theyre just a little bit more subtle in their use of bacony flavouring and the Bac-os bits are just a little less hard than the Schwartz bits obacon. Thats the only difference.
Oh, and incidentally, that other product containing GM foods still on sale in the UK? Betty Crockers Bac-os!