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Do you remember the horror you felt in childhood when different foods on a plate were allowed to TOUCH EACH OTHER? The sheer revulsion caused by the baked beans invading the fish fingers' territory, or the sausages getting friendly with the mash? As a littl'un I don't think I would have liked Dairylea Double Dunkers at all. The potential for the salsa to get in the cheese spread and vice versa just doesn't bear thinking about.
As a sophisticated adult, however (well, as sophisticated as you can be while dipping crisps into Dairylea out of a Pokemon lunch box at your terminal), I find the combination goes down a treat.
Snack products involving a crispy thing, such as mini breadsticks, and a gooey cheesey thing, such as Dairylea, sealed in separate compartments of a plastic tub have been around for a while now, improving the nation's table manners by gently discouraging us from sticking our fingers in things and licking them. There are many permutations, from the elegant simplicity of Philadelphia Lite with Garlic Bites to the crazy cartoon cows favoured by the more kid-friendly end of the market. Dairylea clearly realised that saturation
point had been reached and it was time for a whole new ballgame: a third compartment containing an extra dip.
The available combinations are Pizza and Nachos. The pizza flavour must be very good indeed becuase none of our local supermarkets ever have any left when I'm nosing round for lunchbox goodies. I managed to grab a couple of packs of Nachos while they were on buy one get one free, however (they normally retail at 65p each for an 80g tub). No doubt a small child went home empty-handed and bawling due to my actions. Heh, heh, heh.
You may have come to expect nachos to be triangular and bright yellow. Reverse those expectations now. In order to fit in their little plastic box, these guys are less than half the size of Doritos, and are also round. They're about the diameter of a 2p piece, a reassuringly natural-looking beigey brown in colour, and on their own don't taste of much; they're slightly salted, pleasant but nothing special. That's what the dips are for.
I was not a Dairylea child. I was brought up in a household whose only cheese spread was the upmarket Laughing Cow, and indeed on holidays in France I was taught to call it La Vache Qui Rit for added snobbery value. When I've been feeling cheap and bought Dairylea instead, I found it quite plasticky and bland. But in combination with the nachos and salsa it's just right. Although it does have a distinctive cheesy taste of its own, its main function is to contrast with the salsa and tone it down, which it does admirably. With its thicker texture it serves to cement the salsa to the chips and prevent drippage, and the power of dairy products to counteract spicy foods is well-known.
Which brings me to the salsa. This is a bright red confection and very smooth. The smoothness is probably aimed at children; kids don't tend to like big lumps of onion or peppers appearing in their tomato sauce. Personally I'm not sure this dip wouldn't be too spicy for young children, however. Although it's described on the pack as 'mild', I found it noticeably chilli-ish and would certainly have turned my nose up at it when I was primary school age, and probably for a few years more. Possibly the younger generation have palates more attuned to international culture these days.
A word of caution: the salsa is pretty runny. If a coordinated adult like myself can't avoid dripping it across the desk, just picture your children happily munching this one. On second thoughts, don't.
The logistics of fitting a round tortilla into a cuboid compartment are tricky, and I find you either don't get as much dip as you'd like or you overshoot and get salsa on your fingers. I blame the marketing department. This grumble aside, the idea works brilliantly.
As a dedicated lunchbox person, I am always on the lookout for novelty products to make my midday break just a little bit more exciting. Dairylea Double Dunkers are probably less healthy than a bag of crisps at 185 calories, 10g of fat, but you get more variety, vital vitamins and calcium (at least according to the Nutrition Information panel) and altogether a more engaging experience. Like A. A. Milne's Eeyore, who got endless satisfaction out of putting a burst balloon in an empty honeypot and pulling it out again, I have yet to get tired of varying the amount of each dip I put on the chips, and the order in which I do it. Thanks, Dairylea, for making lunchtime fun - and no doubt annoying the hell out of my coworkers to boot.
Mmmmm, the salsa ones are delicious, and I know exactly what you mean about the salsa being runny - unfortunately for me, I discovered how runny it was, whilst wearing a clean white shirt :( nevermind. Good op. Niki :)
Janemartin 13.12.2002 18:32
my youngest loves these, handy for his school lunch...Jane
emma.m 13.12.2002 15:14
For years I have been addicted to sticking things in my dairylea and/or laughing cow. Namely Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips and chocolate (yes chocolate! you should try it).
As you could imagine, I was delighted when they came up with the salt and vinegar dariylea dunkers a couple of years ago. I could dunk dairylea on the go, and no-one would give me funny stares on the tube! well not as many as when i used to dunk milkybars.
However those salsa ones sound quite rank.