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When it comes to the crunch, can any crisp be worth £25 a packet? Asks TANITH CAREY

Once a cheap staple for school lunch boxes and pub snacks, the humble crisp has been transformed into a hand-baked, organically oiled gourmet experience.

From caviar to cheese and port, there’s no flavour left unturned in the hunt for ever posher nibbles.

But even in an era when crisps cost a packet, the news that the UK’s most upmarket grocery store, Fortnum & Mason, is selling a tub of plain ones for £24.99 sounds eye-watering, rather than mouth-watering.

So how much crunch do you really get for your upper-crust crisps? TANITH CAREY takes a bite…

From caviar to cheese and port, there’s no flavour left unturned in the hunt for ever posher nibbles

YOU’D BE BETTER OFF WITH A MULTIPACK

Bonilla al la Vista Patatas Fritas, 500g, £24.95 (Fortnum and Mason, fortnumandmason.com)

Calories per 100g: 576

How many crisps in the packet? 360

Price per crisp: 6.93p

They have natural star quality, thanks to coming in statement packaging ¿ a large white tin can ¿ rather than a traditional foil bag

They have natural star quality, thanks to coming in statement packaging — a large white tin can — rather than a traditional foil bag

It was a surprise cameo in a kitchen scene in Oscar-winning film Parasite that catapulted this Spanish brand — founded on a market stand in 1932 — to cult status.

They have natural star quality, thanks to coming in statement packaging — a large white tin can — rather than a traditional foil bag.

While this is reminiscent of a tin of Dulux, it not only keeps them fresh, but it also means they don’t have to be decanted into a bowl and are ready to serve at picnics or with cocktails.

But how do they taste?

When it comes down to it, they look like the Golden Wonder crisps of my childhood — large, light-coloured and pleasantly flimsy.

Taste-wise they are quite bland, due the fact the Spanish design their crisps as blank canvases to dip into salsa, so these crisps comprise only three ingredients: potatoes, olive oil and sea salt.

Since you can get a 24-bag multi-pack of Walkers crisps, 600g in total, for just £3.50 — a price difference of £21 — it’s not worth splashing out.4/10

CAVIAR CANAPE TO ENJOY WITH CAVA

However if you drill down to the ingredients, this is in fact 4.62 per cent caviar ¿flavouring¿

However if you drill down to the ingredients, this is in fact 4.62 per cent caviar ‘flavouring’

Torres Selecta Caviar flavoured, 125g, £3.95 (Harvey Nichols, harveynichols.com)

Calories per 100g: 616

How many crisps? 125

Price per crisp: 3.16p

Torres is another Spanish brand taking on the British at their own game, although they seem to have been making gourmet versions long before us, as Torres was founded in Barcelona in 1969. Rather than wolfing these down with a cider at the pub, Harvey Nicks proclaims they should be enjoyed with champagne or cava as an alternative to canapés — only with the caviar already blended in.

However if you drill down to the ingredients, this is in fact 4.62 per cent caviar ‘flavouring’.

Like many of the Spanish offerings, these are fresh-testing and super crisp. 6/10

MICHELIN-STARRED TRUFFLE CRUNCH

Truffle Superbon, 40g, £1.75 (Harvey Nichols)

Calories per 100g: 515

How many crisps? 35

Price per crisp: 5p

This all comes at a price, because even though the rest is potato and sunflower oil, they cost around 5p each ¿ five times as much as a Walkers crisp. 6/10

This all comes at a price, because even though the rest is potato and sunflower oil, they cost around 5p each — five times as much as a Walkers crisp. 6/10

It’s said there are crisps, posh crisps — then there’s Superbon.

That’s because these were invented by Michelin-starred French chef Philippe Emanuelli.

He brings his renowned mushroom flavours to the masses by using the most exclusive fungi of all, truffles. Bite into one and you’re hit by the musty truffly flavour, though the ingredients say they contain only 0.3 per cent dehydrated black summer truffle, with truffle ‘aroma’ on top.

This all comes at a price, because even though the rest is potato and sunflower oil, they cost around 5p each — five times as much as a Walkers crisp. 6/10

PASS THE PORT AND CHEESE, PLEASE

Savoursmiths Italian Cheese and Port, 40g, £1.50 (Harvey Nichols, harveynichols.com)

Calories per 100g: 581

How many crisps? 40

Price per crisp: 3.75p

The crisps are packed with ingredients, including Ruby Port and Italian cheese, to give you the experience of an after-dinner cheese board with every bite

The crisps are packed with ingredients, including Ruby Port and Italian cheese, to give you the experience of an after-dinner cheese board with every bite

This is another brand aiming to shake off the populist cheese and onion reputation of traditional crisps for something more upmarket. 

The crisps are packed with ingredients, including Ruby Port and Italian cheese, to give you the experience of an after-dinner cheese board with every bite. 

However, this could come at a cost to your waistline, because they are one of the highest in fat and calories — at 581kcals and 28g of fat. 7/10

FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH VALUE

San Nicasio Patatas Fritas, 150g, £3 (John Lewis Food Hall)

Calories per 100g: 571

How many crisps? 150

Price per crisp: 2p

In recent years crisp-makers have aimed to get rid of the ¿dead air¿ to save on space, packaging and avoid customer irritation

In recent years crisp-makers have aimed to get rid of the ‘dead air’ to save on space, packaging and avoid customer irritation

Another example of the incoming Armada of crisps from crisp-producing competitor Spain, these come with lots of airs and graces, including a frilly-looking, pink pastel packet. 

In recent years crisp-makers have aimed to get rid of the ‘dead air’ to save on space, packaging and avoid customer irritation — and this packet is full to the brim and the crisps are excellent value just 2p each. 

These are made with extra virgin olive oil too, though this seems to send the calorie value soaring to 571 per 100g. 

Still, they are good value — the cheapest of the Spanish imports sampled — and would impress at a dinner party. 8/10

CHEESE AND ONION WITH ARTISAN CHIC

Two Farmers Cheese & Onion, 40g, £1.19 (Selfridges)

Calories per 100g: 531

How many crisps? 30

These crisps were hatched from a plan by two Herefordshire farmers in the pub one night to ¿honour and celebrate¿ their produce

These crisps were hatched from a plan by two Herefordshire farmers in the pub one night to ‘honour and celebrate’ their produce

Price per crisp: 3.96p

These crisps were hatched from a plan by two Herefordshire farmers in the pub one night to ‘honour and celebrate’ their produce. 

We are also told these are flavoured with cheese by a local artisan cheese-maker. 

The result is a satisfyingly golden, round-looking crisp, with little green sprinkles and a tangy taste. 8/10

POSH BITES THAT DELIVER ON VALUE

Considering I bought them in Harrods ¿ and they came in at 1.2p each ¿ they were surprisingly good value, costing barely more than the 1p each

Considering I bought them in Harrods — and they came in at 1.2p each — they were surprisingly good value, costing barely more than the 1p each

Fairfield Farms Sea Salt and Aspall Cyder Vinegar, 150g, £1.50 (harrods.com)

Calories per 100g : 503

How many crisps? 125

Price per crisp: 1.2p

What could be more British than salt and vinegar crisps. Well, these aim to go one better, flavoured with Aspall Cyder Vinegar from Suffolk, and the sharp flavour shines through.

And these home-grown crisps are also low in food miles because they are made on a family farm in Essex.

Considering I bought them in Harrods — and they came in at 1.2p each — they were surprisingly good value, costing barely more than the 1p each. 9/10

MAKE MINE A BAG OF GUINNESS

They have a denser texture than most crisps and are disconcertingly brown coloured ¿ and although I¿m no connoisseur of the black stuff, they tasted to me like a weird mixture of chocolate and Marmite

They have a denser texture than most crisps and are disconcertingly brown coloured — and although I’m no connoisseur of the black stuff, they tasted to me like a weird mixture of chocolate and Marmite

Burts Guinness Chips, 40g, 99p (Selfridges)

Calories per 100g: 498

How many crisps? 30

Price per crisp: 3.3p

aimed at the drinking crowd, this crisp aims to bring the taste of the iconic Irish stout to your snacks. However, the ingredient list reveals they are flavoured with cocoa, yeast extract powder and barley.

They have a denser texture than most crisps and are disconcertingly brown coloured — and although I’m no connoisseur of the black stuff, they tasted to me like a weird mixture of chocolate and Marmite. 3/10

Prices based on cost on day of purchase. Crisp numbers are approximate.


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