I first heard about Twiglets via France-based Graham Holliday (Noodlepie, Word of Mouth). This British expat journalist's Twiglet madness initially manifested itself on his blog, then spread to his Flickr account, and later to Twitter. It became severe enough that Holliday created a separate site devoted to these "crisps."
By the time Holliday invited me to join a social network formed around this U.K. snack fooda treat I'd never even triedI'd had enough. Knowing he was traveling to England for a visit, I pinged him: "Send me some of these things, stat!"
A few weeks later, the Twiglets arrived via Royal Mail. After photographing the unboxing and the two full, unopened bags, the folks at Serious Eats HQ dug in.
Me: [Scrunches up face.]
Ed Levine: "That ... is odd. It tastes like I'm eating coal ash."
Alaina Browne: "These are weird." [Picks up a jar of peanut butter sitting on conference table.] "Maybe if you dipped it in some of this peanut butter."
Raphael: "This tastes like burning."
Robyn Lee: "Ew. That's gross. It does taste like burning."
Yes, despite all their epic crunchpower"A whole lot of crunch in a wholewheat munch!" the bag exclaimsTwiglets had little appeal when we first tried them. If you closed your eyes and tried to filter out the burnt taste, they might remind you of Japanese rice crackersdipped in Marmite. And much like that quintessenitally British product, you either love it or hate it.
But I tried to keep an open mind, and dipping into the Twiglets bag over the course of a few days, these little twiglike sticks started to grow on me. I'm not sure they'd be the first thing I'd reach for if they were readily available in the U.S., but that's probably because the taste for Marmite is something you'd have to be raised with, I'd imagine—and most Yanks aren't.
If you're an expat Brit living in the States or a curious American, you might find Twiglets on these shoresdepending on availabiltyat one of the following:
British American Imports, 726 15th Street, San Francisco CA 94103; 415-863-3300
British Imports of Plymouth, 1 Court Street, Plymouth MA 02360; 877-264-8586
Made in Britain, Ltd., Main Street Shops, Egg Harbour, Door County WI 54209; 888-223-1236
Myers of Keswick, 634 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014; 212-691-4194
Tea & Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Avenue, New York NY 10011; 212-989-9735
You Say Tomato, 1526 California Street, San Francisco CA 94109; 415-921-2828