The 25 finest snacks to have with a movie

Popcorn? Pah. If you're going to munch along to a movie, popcorn barely scrapes it into the top 25 snacks...

When writing list articles for Den of Geek, I feel a real weight of responsibility. These lists are definitive, and once published become lore not only at Den of Geek Towers but also the world. We take them incredibly seriously, and we’re sure that you understand: these are not meant as mere playthings or subjects of idle disqussion, no. To us, these list articles are nothing less than the breath of god. Without them, Den of Geek’s opinion would carry no weight.

So, having itemised objective truths about Harry Potter, Middle Earth, and such like, I’ve felt pressure. Of course I have. I’m a regular guy (you can tell because Zack Snyder has no interest in making a film about me). However, those were just films. Ephemeral pleasures that pass like failed reboots in the night. They are nothing in comparison to food. Without films, we’d merely have nothing to write think pieces about. Without food, at best we’d end up in a post-apocalyptic situation like the one depicted in The Death Of Grass. At worst we’d be dead, but at least then there’d be fewer think pieces.

QED: Food’s kinda a big deal.

Not going to lie, I really felt the pressure on this one. In did the only thing I could, and took it immensely seriously.

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25. Popcorn

Type: Savoury/SweetAcceptable in cinema: No

In the comfort of your own home, you can watch a film however you want, but in the cinema there is an unspoken code of conduct. Plus, there’s a spoken Code of Conduct which anyone who listens to Mayo and Kermode will be familiar with. Essentially, eating and drinking is fine but consider the noise and smell created. Basically if it’s hot or noisy, don’t bring it in. Cinemas do, unfortunately, stock a lot of food that goes ‘crunch’ when you eat it and give you drinks with straws, because apparently the noisiest foods have the highest profit margins. Hence, popcorn.

I hate popcorn. It’s partly because it’s just dry little bits of stuff that taste like twig farts sprinkled with sugary or salty water, but mainly because I used to work in a cinema with three small malfunctioning vacuum cleaners. People always buy a huge box, their mouths dry out, and then they get bored and turn it upside down like it’s a bucket of wet sand at the beach. Plus, it makes a noise. However, it’s on this list because it’s a great staple of cinema, and real people who aren’t me probably quite like it. Also cinemas have got to make their money somehow, so just make you sure you get a small bucket rather than a bag, and try not to knock it over when you leave.

24. Hot Shreddies

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: No

I might as well mention that there is some logic to this list. I’m trying to limit it to things that require minimal effort, i.e. stuff you can order from a takeaway or simply put in the oven/microwave, or eat straight away. Hence the lack of things like nachos which, even at their simplest, do still involve buying three things, pouring them onto each other and then microwaving it, and who’s got time for that? Seize the day. Indulge efficiently.

Chocolate cereals are helpful in this respect, and some of them respond well to hot milk. However, if you’re in a hurry or lazy I would cheerfully recommend giving a bowl of Chocolate Shreddies a 20 second blast in the microwave on medium heat and then eating them dry.

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23. Parmo

Type: SavouryAcceptable in cinema: No

The North East has given us Vic & Bob, Byker Grove and Geordie Racer. It’s also given us Parmo, which is essentially pizza with chicken instead of bread.

The only reason it’s this lowdown on the list is because it’s not that widely available yet. Expect to see gourmet versions of it in craft beer pubs for £10 a pop within the next few years.

22. Wotsits

Type: CrispAcceptable in cinema: No

Because cheese. Because you can put them on your tongue and wait. Because once you’ve picked one up your hand is covered in a yellow powder as moreish as crack and you have to lick it off, which means more gets stuck the next time, so you have to lick it off until you’re a cheese-addicted modern day Sisyphus.

Wine pairing: a light, fruity Asti.

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21. Onken

Type: YoghurtAcceptable in cinema: Yes

When I worked at a cinema one of the projectionists bought me yoghurt most nights so I would be strong, like Jason Bourne. He would go out to Tesco and bought back a tub of Onken and a spork. He would then toy with General Franco – one of several identical Swiss Army Knives he owned – while I ate the yoghurt with said spork, and talk about the notion of honour as depicted in Quentin Tarantino movies.

While all this is true, I wish to point out that I was essentially getting free, healthy food out of it and that Onken is really nice. I would recommend it to a friend.

20. Pickled Onion Monster Munch

Type: CrispAcceptable in cinema: No

These crisps have always been there for us. They are cheap. They are chunky. They’re shaped like monsters feet with little holes in so you can put them on your fingers and pretend they’re legs and this will never get old.

Wine pairing: one of those big cartons that comes with a tap.

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19. Bananas

Type: FruitAcceptable in cinema: Yes

Bananas, like hot dogs, are a famously quiet foodstuff. Unlike hot dogs they are multifunctional. Not only can you eat them – and they’re a good source of potassium, which helps aid blood pressure and stress – but as James Clayton of this parish points out, you can pretend they’re a gun on the way into the cinema and that’s five minutes of free entertainment right there (er, don’t try that for real). Plus once you’ve eaten it you can leave the skin as a trap for your enemies. Bananas piss all over hotdogs.

18. Carr’s Cheese Melts

Type: Biscuit (Savoury)Acceptable in cinema: No

The simple, quiet genius of coming up with a cheese biscuit that already has cheese on it means these biscuits are suitable for the sorts of parties where everyone passes port round and there’s curvy knives with prongs on the end, but they’re also suitable for sitting in front of Netflix watching the entirety of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in your dressing gown.

17. Viennetta

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: No

Everyone knows that you aren’t a proper adult until you’ve bought a Viennetta. They’re perfect for those classic romantic comedies that have aged quite badly and bits of which make you genuinely uncomfortable.

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16. Party Rings

Type: Biscuit (Sweet)Acceptable in cinema: No

At no point in my Philosophy degree did we get to study the question: Does a party really exist until someone brings Party Rings into it? Waste of four years, frankly.

Party Rings say so much about parties, and indeed life. The holes in the middle are slightly too small for your fingers to fit through, so they balance precariously on your fingertips as you blitz your way through the packet. The sugar high is indeed potent, but then once you’ve Party Ringed too hard the icing sugar starts to taste bitter, and you crash. The dichotomy of Party Rings is that they need to be consumed in moderation but this is clearly impossible. There are so many life lessons to be had with Party Rings. Party Rings. Yeah.

15. Doritos Chilli Heatwave

Type: CrispAcceptable in cinema: No

I had to put these in or the editors would have killed me. I’m a Cool Original man myself. Simon, however, consumes these without chewing whenever he feels a rant coming on and wants to get in the zone. “Taste the pain,” he yells through the tears, though with the amount of crisps in his mouth it sounds more like “Tfft dur brn.”

Wine pairing: Alsace Riesling

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14. Falafel

Type: SavouryAcceptable in cinema: Yes

Because you can eat them cold, and they’re soft, and you get a more pleasant waft from them than you do cocktail sausages, falafel is great to bring into the cinema for a quiet nomming session while you ignore the adverts. Or you can sit at home dipping them in hummus and feeling temporarily healthy while watching art house cinema.

13. Lidl cookies

Type: Biscuit (Sweet)Acceptable in cinema: Yes

The big ones in the Lidl bakery section are crammed full of hefty great chunks of chocolate, and as such yield probably the best biscuit/chip ratio of any known cookie. Plus they’re usually four for a pound, so treat yourself: they’re soft enough to take into the cinema for when you’re flagging at the two hour mark.

12. 60 piece party platter

Type: SavouryAcceptable in cinema: No

Available from the freezer section of most supermarkets, the 60 piece party platter is not only fun to say but fun to scoff. Generally consisting of your orangey brown foodstuffs, if you want to cover all your bases for a large assembly of movie-watching types this is what you need. For smaller gatherings, the 24 piece party platters are an alternative option, but who doesn’t enjoy a challenge?

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11. Starmix

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: No

It isn’t that Starmix are necessarily the best chewy sweets, it’s simply that they’re the best chewy sweets that aren’t individually wrapped. Also they’re really good chewy sweets. Also I’ve discovered to my cost that rogue Skittles can cause minor injuries and shatter glasses if deployed carelessly, so Starmix are a safety-conscious alternative.

10. Fudge

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: Yes

Sweet, silent fudge. Did you know a finger of fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat? Here’s the evidence.

Other brands of fudge are available.

9. Pic ‘n’ Mix

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: Yes

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If you don’t like fudge, or if you’re indecisive, several cinema chains sell Pic ‘n’ Mix, dispensed into cardboard cartons to minimise rustling (and should you wish to re-use these cartons in order to enjoy other cellophane-wrapped products, no one should judge you). Pic ‘n’ Mix has got all the sweets, or at least cheaper-to-make variations on all the sweets, that you remember from that one newsagent. The one that stocked that flavour of Millions you saw nowhere else. This enables you to efficiently fling your childhood favourites into your gob without causing any major distractions in the cinema, keeping your blood sugar high so you can stay incredibly awake for the three hours of moving images. It’s a win for everyone, except perhaps cardiologists.

Beware, though: Mental Floss dug into how much each individual sweet at the Pic ‘n’ Mix counter is costing you

8. Sensations Lime/Coriander Poppadoms

Type: CrispAcceptable in cinema: No

At school someone’s Advanced Higher Chemistry project involved the active ingredient in cocaine. I forget why. The point is that you can clearly get hold of this ingredient, and I’m convinced that Walkers are deploying it in these crisps. Er, not really, Walkers lawyers…

Wine pairing: Gruner Veltliner

7. Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: Yes

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Because peanut butter had to feature somewhere in this list, but because I wanted to maintain a facade of dignity I didn’t just go for the ‘paw it out of the jaw and into your mouth’ option. Also, if your cinema has a Ben & Jerry’s stand and you’re a millionaire, you can totally afford to buy a small tub of this and take it into the film (tubs of ice cream edge out the Cornetto based purely on the relative lack of noise pollution).

6. Pakora

Type: SavouryAcceptable in cinema: No

Glasgow is better at pakora than all other places in the universe. This is a fact. It’s one of two facts in this article. The other is that the best way to watch an Eighties action film is accompanied by a polystyrene container full of deep-fried spicy nuggets, a corner of unwanted salad, and a tub of sauce the colour of burnt skin.

5. Cadbury’s Fingers

Type: BiscuitAcceptable in cinema: No

There’s a lot of science goes into making a packet of Fingers. Specifically, whoever it was calculated the exact size of box so that by the time you start feeling slightly ill, you notice there’s only about a fifth of the box left, and that’s hardly any, so you might as well finish them. Then there’s the informed psychological aspect of making a product where you can try to – with only rare successes – suck all the chocolate off so you’re left with a shard of purest biscuit, even though you will immediately eat the proof of your victory.

4. Salt and Vinegar Twirls

Type: CrispAcceptable in cinema: No

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No one knows why food tastes better when it’s in a twirl shape, but it definitely does. As Monster Munch tend to be stocked mainly by newsagents, the other Old Reliable are these; stocked by supermarkets and Co-ops across the land, available after the corner shops have closed, acidic enough to give you a subtle hint when your gums start bleeding.

Wine pairing: a full-bodied Picpoul

(Wine pairings courtesy of Andrew Smith, teaching fellow at University College London, ex-Threshers employee and author of proper wine-type books Terror & Terroir and The Wine Bible)

3. Pizza

Type: Savoury (sweet options available)Acceptable in cinema: No

Versatile, freely available, easy to share, and essentially an edible container for melted cheese, pizzas are entirely sensible. Kudos to whoever came up with them. Also kudos to whoever it was first had a go on a cow, because we’ve really got a lot of mileage out of milk.

2. Revels

Type: SweetAcceptable in cinema: No

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Minstrels are all very well and good, but they’re a bit samey after a while. They’re the MCU, and Revels are Batman films. There’s something for everyone, an emotional journey through the highs and lows of life; from the pop art bursts of pure chocolate to the sweet but substantial toffee to the badly edited, over-caffeinated mess masquerading as a sweet, there’s dynamic contrast in Revels. Plus you can put them on a pizza to see what happens.

1. Chips

Type: SavouryAcceptable in cinema: No

I’ve just realised that this article will translate quite badly if it gets put on Den of Geek US. For reference purposes, by ‘chips’ I mean ‘fries’ and by ‘crisps’ I mean ‘chips’ and by ‘The Avengers‘ I clearly mean ‘The popular ITV spy series that ran throughout the Sixties’. Anyway, chips are another incredibly versatile foodstuff. They can be thin or curly or huge and thick and clearly just eight chunks of a potato served in some sort of bespoke luxury bucket. You can fry them once or – get this – twice. All the savoury sauces, spices and herbs can be applied. They’re easy to share. They go with basically anything. Sometimes they come with a tiny fork so you can pretend you’re a giant. Chips are amazing. This is even canon in Doctor Who.

It’s worth noting that enough food is produced in the world to feed 10 billion people, and yet around one in nine people on the planet does not have enough food to have a healthy life. If you’re able to, please consider donating to an organisation such as the World Food Programme, or to a local food bank.

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