Yes, I said Duck Crackling. Not Pork Crackling. Duck. Duck Crackling. Two of my favourite things combined. Gimme now (this was my reaction when I stumbled across Wilding's on Twitter a few months ago!). Does it deliver though as a snack for Paleo-aficionado's and beyond?
Sometimes, reviewing products can be frankly a little scary (I'm thinking back to my whole-roasted insects review!) and sometimes it can be a downright pleasure - enter Wilding's Snacks. Set up by Adam Wilding, a chef, entrepreneur and food fanatic who wants to transform forgotten ingredients and bring exciting, innovate products that are full of amazing taste and texture.
That's the wording on the back of the packs of his Duck Crackling, so do they measure up to the hype?
These are certainly a versatile product, you can use them crunched up on salads or soups, or as a base for a pate. Personally I could see using them as a crunchy coating on meat, fish and poultry instead of using breadcrumbs.
They definitely hit the 'innovative' button (and indeed are the kind of business who should be entering the UK Paleo Awards this year!) - duck crackling is definitely a new one on us. We look forward to seeing Adam's next creation!
Myself and my crack-team of testers (aka the office mates - they're non-paleo which makes them perfect to review the product, harder nuts to crack!).
Well, we love it, sleek, smart, feels luxurious and vibrant. You definitely feel like you're getting a high-end product with quality ingredients (kampot pepper, anyone?).
We love the story about the business on the back of the pack and everything you want to find information-wise is there and easy to see.
The only niggle - the strap line for these is 'Triple cooked for more crackle'. That made us think they were going to be extra crunchy, but as you'll see from the review below, there wasn't much crunch.
Taste, Flavour & Texture
This was the big surprise, we thought we'd be eating tough as old boots pork scratching-style crackling but instead we got fairly soft and very easy to eat crackling instead (which given the strap line of 'triple cooked for more crackle' surprised us).
It certainly divided opinion, if you like your crackling jaw-breakingly hard then this might not be the product for you. If you want an easier eat with bags of taste, then you will like it, a lot! As a parent, I'd happily let my kids eat these and not worry about their teeth!
We thought it might have a greasy taste, not a jot. It felt very 'clean' and you could easily scoff a bag.
Smoked Sea Salt & Kampot Pepper Flavour
Initial taste on this was a straight 10/10, lovely kick of pepper. We all found it left a slightly bitter aftertaste though but would happily munch through a bag.
Peking Duck Flavour
Wowzers, if ever anything tasted exactly of Peking Duck, this is it, it's spot on! Tastes like a very posh, authentic chinese meal. It also has a really nice, lingering flavour too.
Habanero Chilli & Lemongrass Flavour
Lovely notes of Lemongrass to start with this one, then a decent whack of chilli comes through. It's pretty spicy so might not be a favourite amongst those who don't do much spice but chilli fans will love it we reckon!
Smoked Sea Salt & Kampot Pepper Flavour - Duck Skin, Sea Salt, Kampot Pepper, Coconut Sugar
Peking Duck Flavour - Duck Skin, Salt, Spices, Coconut Sugar
Habanero Chilli & Lemongrass Flavour - Duck Skin, Sea Salt, Ground Lemongrass, Coconut Sugar, Habanero Chilli Powder
We can't fault the ingredients, 100% Paleo and clean as you like. I'd have liked more breakdown on the 'spices' in the Peking Duck Flavour (for some on restricted diets, certain spices are a no-no) but otherwise a big fat thumbs up.
You could quibble the use of coconut sugar but it's a small amount and shows attention to health, instead of using normal refined sugar.
Nutritional Analysis (per 25g pack)
|Salt & Pepper||Peking Duck||Chilli & Lemongrass|
|- of which saturates||2.7g||2.7g||2.7g|
|- of which sugars||< 0.1g||< 0.1g||< 0.1g|
So, there's no doubting it's a higher fat, low carb snack, ideal for the Paleo and LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) consumer. Salt is higher than I'd like but as a snack rather than a regular diet staple, it works. It's a healthy dose of protein too for only 25g of product - over double what a lot of energy bars offer, so it may become a useful post-workout snack too.
As with a lot of products aimed at the Paleo and Clean Eating sector, these quality snacks do not come cheap - £8.50 for a pack of 3, so just over £2.80 a time. If you consider energy bars are often twice the weight and a bit cheaper, Wilding's may have it's work cut out for itself.
For discerning consumers who get the quality of the product, it should do really well.
Smoked Sea Salt & Kampot Pepper Flavour - 6/10
Peking Duck Flavour - 7/10
Habanero Chilli & Lemongrass Flavour - 7/10
They all would have scored 2 marks more each if the cost had been more accessible!
So, the only question that remains is ... what on earth is Kampot Pepper?! [goes off to google it] ;-)
Please note: as with all reviews on this website, this is not a sponsored post, just an honest review.