It was with this fact in mind that me and my friend decided to take on Jamie, Nigella and Gordon and their healthy ways and set up a blog about crisps. Its mission is quite simple really, to guide planet Earth through the wonderful world of crisps!
Whittling this list down to ten was quite difficult. Some of our all time favourites didn’t get in, and there was some heated debate over whether or not Pringles are even a crisp and let’s not even mention Doritos.
So, after you’ve got through this delicious list why not cancel your Sky+ repeat recording of Jamie’s thirty minute meals and pop down to the newsagents and pick up a nice bag of your favourite crisps?
Walkers – Cheese and Onion
The good people at Walkers have combined three of our favourite things - football, celebrity and crisps to create the non fictional character, Gary Lineker. Gary has been the face of England's most famous crisp brand for over forty years, and it was with these thoughts swirling around my busy mind that I picked up a 6 pack of Walkers C&O (cheese and onion) for the price of 1.37 (a price not to be scoffed at?).
This is the kind of deal, that Tesco assured me was quite special, so I wasn't too disappointed to find the bag a little light on crisps - I knew what I was signing up for. One thing I noticed almost immediately was that Walkers had changed the shade of blue that the C&O come in, a darker shade which I think add a statesman like quality to the new bag. But it's what's in the bag that counts, as they say, and the crisps inside this particular bag are simply classic. Walkers have a very distinctive style of C&O, one that you simply won't find anywhere else. And I find them to be a joy, not too over powering and never claiming to be anything other then what they are. The texture is uniform across every crisp in the bag, just the right side of brittle.
Yes, they may not be the most artisan of Crisps out there, they simply accompany your sandwich in a calm and dignified manner, much like Prince Phillip does when he travels the globe with our the Queen.
Hula Hoops Blue
Put simply, Hula Hoops are a staple of the Crisping industry. Red, Blue, Brown and Green (sometimes). They're a good fun crisp. A friendly crisp.
When I bought Hula Hoops blue this afternoon I was delighted with myself, the one thing I love about Hula Hoops (of any colour) is that you can really taste the potato. So off I delved inside. One thing I noticed straight away is that there is quite a few oddly shaped Hula Hoops in the packet, plenty of big Hulas, thrown in. Bonus I thought!
But then a strangeness came over me. The S&V (salt and vinegar) flavour was there alright, but that lovely potato taste had been diluted! It just didn't have the same punch as they used to. I checked the packet "NO MSG" it said. The MSG must of been the secret ingredient making the Hula Hoops so delicious all these years! I was highly disappointed.
So all in all, Hula Hoops blue are okay, but they were way nicer with a bit of MSG thrown in.
Tesco – Bacon Rashers
The night time - the perfect time for some crisps, but what kind. Rasher flavour? Bacon flavour? It's too hard to choose! Luckily Tesco have decided that there is no point in having to make such tough decisions and have made Bacon Rashers (see pic).
Basically, Bacon Rashers are Bacon Fries but are called Bacon Rashers and are cheaper (79c, I think) and come in a massive bag. First thing I noticed was the smell, it's a strange one. So strange that the other people in the room also noticed the odour, Deano deemed it to be a 'funky' smell, that's the perfect adjective. Initially it [the smell] is a little off putting. Taste wise they have a lovely bacon intensity about them, a very deep woody taste that leaves a lovely smokey tang on the palette post eat. I reckon they are a fantastic alternative to the more famous Bacon Fry and the fact they come in big bags mean that they'd be perfect for entertaining guests during a party scenario - stick 'em in a bowl, maybe?
Well done Tesco, you've done a sterling job.
This very day I perused the crisp aisle of an up market supermarket looking for something special. In Ireland for some very strange reason Wotsits aren't as readily available as they are over in the UK. So when I saw a six pack of Wotsits I was simply delighted, so then, I bought them and cycled home.
Settling down with a sausage sambo, Sky Sports News and a pack of Wotsits I felt a sense of Buddha like zen, everything at that point was in place and I was happy. And yet, I had to remain calm, I hadn't Wotsits in ages - what if they'd changed? What if, because they are now 95 calories they'd lost some sort of deliciousness that only extra calories can give?
Post sambo, I opened the bag. And had a peek in, not as many as I would like but then again it was part of a multi-pack (of six) so that's allowed, I suppose. And so I began to gobble. Every curvey cylindrical Wotsit held the flavour very well, the flavour being cheese. Very strong cheese, nothing like any real cheese I've ever had. And yet, this simple cheese flavour is amazing, it could be said that it's even better then actual cheese. I munched and munched enjoying the bag so much I didn't even notice that Natalie Sawyer was on the box - now that's the sign of a proper crisp.
Crunchips – Kebab And Onion
Travel broadens the mind is a common phrase that is used by many people throughout the world. I didn't want to forget that phrase as I traveled from Berlin to Poland recently. It was with this sense of abandon that I chose Kebab and Onion flavoured Crunchips. I bought them in a truck-stop type place, that was a little bit 'funky looking' to say the least.
I bailed back into the mini-van and ate away. I had a good smell before I began my new crisp experience. The smell was grand very similiar to any meat based snack. The individual crisps themselves were all fine. Taste wise, if I were to equate them to any crisps in the Irish market I would say they reminded me very much of McCoys Steak flavour, I reckon McCoys Steak 'Lite' would be more accurate though. Not quite as intense as McCoys but still fairly decent overall. Also it's worth mentioning that the bag they come in, is absolutely huge so it might be worth sharing them with a group of companions.
Honestly, I was expecting something a bit more unusual from a Kebab flavoured crisp, I wasn't exactly disappointed by the flavour it was just lacking that sense of excitement that the lovely packaging indicates.
Tyrrell's - Worcester Sauce & Sundried Tomato
It's Tuesday, it's lunch time you've managed to avoid being flooded but you're still freezing cold and starving. What to do? Buy a massive bag (150g) of crisps of course. That's the easy part. The hard part is choosing which crisps to buy. I've found myself going for the usual staples recently, King, Might Munch, Meanies. All fine choices but not very helpful when you're trying to review every crisp in the land. So I found myself in a fancy supermarket and became indecisively engrossed in the selection of crisps, that was until my eye caught the bright orange pack of Tyrrell's Worcester Sauce & Sundried Tomato. Decision made.
A massive bag means massive crisps. The majority here were in tact and provided a good mouthful. I even plucked out a bunch of crisps which were trapped together by one monster crisp.The crunch, the flavour, the sensation. Amazing. Tyrrell's have made the decision to leave the jackets on while they hand cook their crisps, this adds an extra bite to the crunchiness. The crunch is strong and firm leaving you with the option to eat the pack crisp by crisp if you so wish. This pack however is all about the flavour. The sweetness of the sundried tomatoes blends brilliantly with the sharpness of the Worcester sauce. The subtle hints of pepper and spice draw you back in for more of the sweet tangy tomato.
Overall a delightful experience and a fine choice of snack for any time of the day. You can see at the end of the pack it says 'excellent with a chunk of cheddar.' I didn't try that but I was thinking how good it would be as I devoured the bag. I'm really looking forward to trying some of their ten other flavours and three different types of vegetable crisps. Well done Tyrrell's, England's greatest export since John Aldridge.
Red Sky - West Country Bacon & Cream Cheese
I know, I know. Fancy, wha!? I wouldn't be normally lured into buying these new luxury crisp brands but it was bank holiday Friday, the sun was out and friends were coming over for a barbeque. So I was treating them really. And a treat it was.
This was the first time I ever saw Red Sky crisps. I had never even heard of them before, so it was a bold choice to supply them to my hungry guests. The first thing you notice is the quality of the potato and a nice crunching to the crisp. Then comes the subtle flavour of west country bacon and cream cheese. I can see some readers turning away in disgust but believe me, they're delicious and not overpowering. Kind of like a bagel, in crisp form.
McCoy's - Flame Grilled Steak
They went down a treat, with everyone munching away on them while I charred the hamburgers. So if you're looking for something to wow your guests this summer pick up some Red Sky. I did (twice).
Ah steak. The king of all meats. So tasty that I'm sure if cows were carnivores there would be none left for us humans. We'd still have McCoy's though.
It was always an obvious choice for McCoy's, positioning themselves as man crisps, to choose steak flavour. It was a risk however to lower the saturated fat by 30%. Thankfully it actually takes nothing away from the great taste. Each crisp was a delight, full of flavour, as if lifted straight from a barbecue. You could really taste the potato along with the flame grilled goodness. They stand true to the famous McCoy's crunch factor too. So crunchy in fact you can savour the pack eating it one crisp at a time.
Definitely one of the favourites and something I go back to for a regular fix. Truly the real McCoy.
Monster Munch – Roast Beef
It's a big treat to see a bag of crisps you haven't seen in ages. So when I was in London recently I simply couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these lads - Monster Munch and their Roast Beef flavourings.
The first thing you notice about Monster Munch is the shear size of the crisps, they're massive. Monstrous even! Sometimes you can get a bag that has been a bit beat up in transportation but this particular bag had a load of full monster hands. Now could the big hands live up to their big reputation? Oh yes and with big flavours. A great crunch brought out all the joys of a Sunday roast. Beef and potato no messing around with herbs or anything like that, just straight to the point tastiness. The more you eat the more beefy goodness fills your taste buds.
This is the second monster out of three I have reviewed and I must salute the Monster Munch trio and their munch bunch on a fine job so far. The yellow fella better get his pickled onions out of the jar cause I'm coming for him next.
Roysters – T-Bone Steak
It's a rare and joyous occasion when me and my fellow crisp blogger, Deano, get together and review crisps at the same time. But it happened! Last Friday evening. When our friend informed us that he had some crisps available for consumption. But! He warned us, eat quickly, because they go out of date in half an hour (it was 23:30).
So we went for it. Roysters T-Bone Steak, were a crisp that neither of us were familiar with. We were told they had been bought in Tesco as part of a 12 pack, for only 86p!
Surely these cheap, almost out of date crisps would be a disaster. Well, we were both happily surprised when these crisps turned out to be completely delicious. Proper good fun, made by the same people who make Nik Naks and Discos. Indeed the texture really reminded me of Disco's, but with "bubbles" in the texture to keep you excited.
Flavour wise they hit all the right notes, not so intense but definitely packing a meaty punch. These lads did leave the fingers smelling for a few hours after, but think of the smell as a happy reminder of these spectacular crisps.
Yes, they are cheap, yes you might be nervous about having a big 12 bag variety pack taking up space in your cupboard, but don't be! These crisps are what this blog is here for! Buy Roysters! They're a little gem!
Read more from Mark Orford and Dean Ross Murray here.