Craquilles: au Fromage de Chèvre

‘Not identifiably chevre, the first whiff of its non-descript cheesy smell is like opening the door to a stuffy room which has long been sealed.’

The Ventrilocrisp is dubious about the ‘exotic voyage’ touted here. The flimsy, sober bag looks like it has been madeover, like a soviet-era holiday resort having a peppy rebrand to avoid decline. Two thin slices of chevre sit white and cold side by side, like two pence pieces. The moderate bag is clearly designed for sharing, but the Ventrilocrisp could make quick work of it alone. Very well, it says.

The Ventrilocrisp surveys the mountain of knobbly sticks. Cloistered pale and sickly in the bag, the Craquilles look like sun-starved Nik Naks. Some are giant, club-shaped, bumpy and uneven; others are dwarfed and malnourished, needing to be extracted with thumb & forefinger in pincer shape. The Ventrilocrisp breathes in the scents of the bag. Not identifiably chevre, the first whiff of its non-descript cheesy smell is like opening the door to a stuffy room which has long been sealed. The crisps smack of ill-health. Yet the first bite puts the Ventrilocrisp’s worries to bed. First, the chevre: silky, mild, even a little of the goat’s powderiness. Sylph-like, the goat taste morphs into something more mature. The crisp borrows some of the synthetic, addictive tang characteristic to a Cheeto. The flavour is unexpectedly potent: heady, salty; cheesy. The Ventrilocrisp is hooked. These crisps may appear infirm, but boy do they still have their mojo.

The wizened sticks are unique. One of the perils of a lighter crisp is the tendency for the flavour to be superficial (cf. Walker’s Poppables). Here it is intrinsic to the stick despite the apparent lack of oil. Remarkable! Little residue is left on the finger and the retention of smell is minimal. The crisps’ onomatopoeic crunch is charming; the mischievous Ventrilocrisp likens it to chomping brittle bones. But ay, there’s the rub: the Craquilles are somewhat dry. The consumer would be well-advised to wet its whistle first.

A wise man once said:’it is better to taste ten thousand varieties of crisp than to read ten thousand scrolls’. Certainly, this journey has illuminated the mighty power of perspective. For in one light these mercurial crisps may seem out of sorts, but held to the sunlight —like so— they are a diamond in the rough.

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