Everybody has at least one food vice and mine is crisps or potato chips as they are known by our American cousins. Man, I love crisps and could easily munch through a trio of packets. I think this is because when I was a kid, crisps were very much a distant treat, something to be treasured once a month or bought from my own hard earned pocket money.
As the ultimate convenience food, crisps are difficult to beat; they are no respecter of weather (unlike chocolate which can melt), come in a myriad of shapes, sizes and flavours, are relatively cheap, widely available, go with lots of other dishes and best of all, supremely satisfying to eat with no mess or fuss.
Over the years, I’ve become something of a crisp connoisseur having enthusiastically tried virtually every variety and brand available in the UK. As a result, my sixth sense has become highly adept at sniffing out a decent bag of crisps so here for your munching pleasure are my top six favourites.
Are these the ultimate crisps? Quite possibly, I love the combination of a unique bubbled texture with mouth sized crisps that deliver a hearty crunch. Best of all, the salt is not too overbearing so you can really taste the T-Bone steak flavour which is seasoned to perfection. If you like any type of beef flavoured crisps, Roysters is the benchmark to beat.
2. Waitrose Love Life Crinkle Cut
I only buy these reduced fat crisps in two flavours; unsalted and lightly salted. What makes these better than other salted brands are the uncomplicated ingredients (potato, oil and a dusting of salt) together with generously thick sliced chips that are then crinkle cut for a real mouthful of wholesome crunchy goodness devoid of oil and chemicals like potassium chloride and sugar that Walkers seems to put in all its crisps. You really get a clean taste of potato with the Waitrose, especially with the unsalted variety and the above all, these crisps exude quality with all produce having been locally sourced and lovingly cooked.
If McCoys are crisps for lumberjacks, Ruffles are most definitely the more refined and subtle variety equally at home being nibbled by the fairer sex. Like McCoys, the Ruffles are thickly sliced crinkle cut but the flavours are less strong and the crisps are a lot bigger. And if there’s anything sexier than watching a woman seductively crunch through a huge Ruffles crisp in two bites, I don’t know what it is.
Available in far too many complicated flavours and I really only like the original but 5 stars for the effort. The great thing about Pringles is that you know exactly what you’re getting; each crisp is the same shape, the same size and offers the same level of crunchiness. And because they’re sold in a large tube, you can scoff half and then seal the top to finish off the rest later. Be warned though, as the advert goes, once you pop, you can’t stop and these crisps do indeed seem to have some kind of allure that makes them addictive.
5. Pop Chips
A newcomer to the market, Pop Chips are unique for the simple reason that they’re the healthiest crisps available. Why? Because these beauties are not fried but cooked using a bit of heat and pressure, just like popcorn. This results in a light and crunchy product, delicately flavoured and far lower in fat than conventionally fried crisps or even those God awful baked crisps from McVities. I’m really liking the Salt and Pepper flavour at the moment and look forward to the range being expanded further.
The original thick sliced crinkle cut chips and still one of the best although I find a lot of their flavours a bit too strong. Nevertheless, their Flame Grilled Steak deserves a special mention as does Salt and Vinegar which is simply magnificent as a savoury accompaniment to pretty much any sandwich. Very satisfying to crunch through, they’re not called man crisps for nothing.
So there you have it. Agree or disagree? Let me know and let’s debate the merits of Cheese and Onion over Prawn Cocktail.