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Tesco Finest Salsa Spiced Almonds and Cashews

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1 Review

Brand: Tesco / Type: Snacks

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      23.01.2010 20:19
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      A bad idea to start with, if quite well executed

      Eating this I was reminded of the bit in 'Lord of the Rings' where they're making dinner and Gollum is flabbergasted to think that the Hobbits have ruined the lovely fresh rabbits he caught by putting them over the fire....in that with this product, someone has taken perfectly nice whole roasted almonds and cashew nuts, and then for some unknown reason covered them with a salty, chilli-hot, slightly sickly kind of spice-glaze.

      A rather nice large, straight-sided glass jam-jar containing 400g of these cost £4 at Christmas. I got mine reduced to half price in the sales. They're 'Tesco Finest' and the jars each had a little elasticated black and white 'Bonne Maman'-style checked cloth cover over the lid, but despite the rather hefty original price tag, the effect of this had been completely ruined by them using instead of a nice bit of actual gingham fabric for the jam-jar hats, that fake synthetic cloth that you usually find people making hanging shelves and fake-leather bean-bag inners out of.

      When I was a student I had a summer job in a canteen specializing in very low-grade food of all kinds, and when I was unpacking the industrial dishwasher there I remember you'd get this perennial stale-food waft of hot air whenever it opened after a wash cycle, which always smelt - no matter what the meal was they'd been eating - tomatoey and oniony and of stale red peppers. The reason I mention this is it was EXACTLY the same as the smell and taste of the 'salsa' spice those fools as Tesco Finest had sprayed all over their cashews and almonds.

      I say 'sprayed' because it's clear from the appearance of the nuts as well as the ingredients list that the salsa flavouring was delivered as well as held on to the surface of the nuts by means of some kind of liquid glaze. That'll be what they used the maize dextrin, which is one of the more obscure ingredients that appeared on the list on the back of the jar of nuts for then. (I assume from the name it's a plant-derived sugar that they've used as a glazing ingredient, so that makes it positively innocuous, considering the nature of some of the stuff I've noticed cropping up in Tesco-brand produce from time to time.) Some of the nuts in this mix are positively shining with it - so much so that it looks like they've been coated with dusty lacquer, or varnish, and there are also quite a few little shiny nuggets of (presumably) pure, dried maize dextrin knocking about there in with the nuts too.

      The product is 68% almonds, most of the other third being cashews, and maybe about 2 to 3% 'other ingredients' which in this case (apart from the maize dextrin) are dried spices and herbs - chilli flakes, chives and dried tomato. These look quite good on the nuts - as little green or orangey-red flakes stuck to the surface, so it's a pity the taste doesn't live up to that. They're certainly OK to eat, but to be honest not an improvement on what the nuts would have been like in their own right, had they not been mucked about with in the first place.

      Back to the drawing-board then for next year's X-mas "treats" then, Tesco-Finest recipe-devising bods!

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