I am a huge fan of cheese and crackers. After a fancy dinner out I’m always pleased to see a cheeseboard rather than a sweet and sickly dessert to bring my dining experience to a close. That said, I’m more pleased to see a cheeseboard and a sweet and sickly desert!
On my quest for foodstuffs made in Britain I came across these Miller’s Elements crackers in Waitrose. With flavours based on the elements of water, earth and fire, each cracker is hand-made in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, by Artisan Biscuits, using local British ingredients and techniques dating back nearly 80 years. I bought the whole collection, obviously.
The purpose of a water biscuit, in my opinion, is to act as a vehicle for cheese and chutney to get into my mouth and these certainly deliver, literally. They are light and crisp but don’t have a whole lot of flavour. In fact, I’d liken the taste to a plain ice-cream cornet. That said, it’s exactly what you want from a water biscuit as it helps you enjoy the flavour of any cheeses, dips, pates or chutneys that you want to consume. When I tried these with some mature cheddar I couldn’t taste the cracker at all and it provided a nice light crunchy texture to accompany the cheese.
These are made from beetroot, potato and spinach and I thought that, oddly, they smelt like flapjack – which isn’t a bad thing! These are slightly thicker and denser than the water biscuits and have a satisfying snap. They are distinctly reddish in colour thanks to the beetroot which I found to be the dominant, but not overpowering, flavour. When eaten with cheese I found it tasted like a cheese and vegetable pie, which, again, isn’t a bad thing!
The two key ingredients in these crackers are oak-smoked flour and crushed red chilli. Both ingredients are very noticeable and they work really well together. Texture-wise they are coarse and crumbly and not too dissimilar to the earth crackers. They have an amazing smell akin to a distant bonfire which comes across as a nice smokey taste when eaten. The chilli packs more of a punch than I was expecting and they are actually quite fiery. When laden with a mature cheddar the punch of the chilli is diffused considerably but the smokey taste remains.
All in all these are three great crackers when eaten with cheese but I also recommend the earth crackers as a snack that can be enjoyed on their own. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite but it would have to be either the earth or fire crackers. If push came to shove I’d probably opt for the earth crackers as a snack and the fire crackers as my choice to go with cheese. It’s a shame that there’s no cracker themed around the element of wind but any food that claims to give you wind would probably not be a big seller.
Product Information (at the time of writing):
- Made in England.
- £1.95/box Waitrose.
- Water: 361 kcal/100g.
- Earth: 454 kcal/100g.
- Fire: 425 kcal/100g.