I was recently offered some of the new Ryvita Crackers for Cheese to taste (the crackers were sent to me free of charge, but with no payment or obligation to review). It was a very timely offer. The crackers we were getting don't seem to be available any more, and while I have been auditing a bunch of other varieties, I haven't really settled on one that I like enough to buy twice.
The problem is, of course, that my benchmark is very high. The best cracker in the world for eating with cheese is the cracked pepper vitaweat. They are the only Australian food product that I regularly seek out, and pay ridiculous amounts for. I love them more than vegemite. It has baffled me for the last 5 years why Britain, which makes such excellent cheese and delicious sweet biscuits, has only been offering me bland, flaky, insubstantial biscuits or hard, fragile crispbreads for my cheese.
So no pressure, Mr Ryvita Man.
Firstly, can I just say "Wow"? My tasting selection was an extremely generous hamper of two packets of the crackers (golden rye and cracked pepper), three cheeses, a jar of chutney and a nice little cheeseboard.
Pros: I like the individual portions of crackers - it helps keep them fresh and assists in a bit of portion control. I like the size of them - not a dainty, one-bite cracker but big enough to support a decent wodge of cheese. I like the texture - fairly flaky but not fragile enough to disintegrate into a shower of crumbs.
Cons: They don't taste like original ryvita: I love original ryvita and if they could get that deep flavour into a thinner, flakier biscuit I think it would be a hands-down winner. The golden rye isn't particularly rye-y and tastes a bit generic. With some of the cheeses, the cracked pepper was really intensified and reached gum-ripping strength.
My verdict? Not vitaweat-standard, but a very good vehicle for cheese (and a better vehicle for pâté, I think). And given the quality of the other offerings that I have tried, I will definitely seek these out to buy.