“ Brand: Snyder's of Hanover / Type: Snacks „
At the moment, my lunch of choice is a leafy salad I bring from home, along with some kind of carbs - a roll, some crackers or something a little different. The other week in London I spotted these in a random little grocer's near Euston and immediately picked them up. It was the first time I'd ever spotted them in the UK, but they're a company I'm familiar with from my time living in the US, and they were also all over Costa Rica.
Snyder's of Hanover, "America's Pretzel Bakery Since 1909" but "not connected with Snyder's of Berlin" is an established name in the US snack market, known for their sometimes random takes on the usual pretzel experience. They don't just stick to common little crispy and salty pretzel-shaped pretzels, they go for nuggets or 'sandwiches' with things like peanut butter inside, and while some of their products sound a little odd, I've yet to find one I don't like.
These pretzel sandwiches come in two sizes, either a small (60g) bag or a larger one. However even the small one is two servings, they say, though I could eat through them all in one go. It's not even like a whole bag is that bad for you - it has about 300 calories - but the 'in' thing in many countries is to market 100 - 150 calorie snacks, so by assuming a smaller serving size, they can do this too. (Rather interestingly, though, they have called a serving 1oz, but then given us a 2.125 oz / 60g bag, which doesn't quite add up). Since I was to be eating these with something else, not on their own, I decided to stick with their recommended size and shook out half the bag to take with me at a time. A serving, based on weight, is about 9 or 10 sandwiches, which is still quite a lot when you consider what they're made of, and the fact that you really get 18 or 20 pretzels for that.
Each sandwich is two round pretzels, with a lattice design, stuck together with a garishly coloured cheddar 'cheese'. Perhaps the inverted commas are too much of an insult - the goodies are made with 'tangy, real cheddar cheese' after all - but to look at, the first thing you'll think is artificial, processed crap. The packaging doesn't tell me how much cheese they contain, but does list it among the ingredients. These round, lattice pretzels do not have a salty coating like normal pretzels do but it's still one of the key ingredients and these are not a low salt snack even if you would think so from looking at them. The pretzel lattices are still quite appealing to look at, with an even brown colour and a nice shiny hue to them. The cheese peeks through the holes but doesn't spill out of them, or ooze out the sides in a messy fashion. For this reason, I would choose to eat these, but wouldn't attempt to recreate the idea at home myself, because without a special kind of pretzel-squishing machine I'm sure the cheese would just go everywhere.
The pretzels taste very crisp for something so thin. Alone (i.e. if you bite off the top or bottom part, taking it away from the cheese) they don't have quite the same flavour as normal pretzels, perhaps because there isn't extra surface salt. The cheese is like a creamy spread, made as it is with palm oil, and has the consistency of peanut butter (used in another variety of pretzel sandwiches). It surprisingly does not taste too artificial, though the taste is a bit generic cheese, rather than distinctly cheddar or similar. The cheese is tangy with a touch of salt and compliments the relative blandness of the pretzels well.
I expected these to smell cheesy (like Wotsits do) but didn't really smell of anything. Sometimes I add cheese to my salads, but don't tend to when I'm accompanying them with something that itself is cheesy, like Mini Cheddars or those lovely Weight Watchers Nachos. After having these with my lunch I didn't feel like I'd been deprived of anything, since these do add a definite cheese kick. I ate some straight form the packet, and others I scattered over my salad (as if they were super-sized croutons).
I really like these Pretzel Sandwiches, but the price would put me off buying them again, even if I could find them easily in the north of England. I paid £1.50 for my bag in a small shop in the capital (ergo inflated prices) which seems a bit steep even for two servings - you could certainly get a week's worth of rolls for that, for example. However, I wanted something a little different and these certainly fitted the bill. If I lived in a place where these were cheaper and more readily available (that would be the USA, then) I would have them on regular rotation with other things in my lunch box, as the flavour combination is spot on, they are easy to eat and they make a change from other things.
Try independent delis, grocers or convenience stores in 'international' areas or eBay to find these in the UK.