October 1, 2013

Pipers Crisps: An Exercise in Chips Elegance and Refinement

It's been a long time since we've had a chips review on our beloved corner of the internets - I believe the last one was by Daniel Witchfinder, who reviewed the latest success in chips design and engineering from Chio Chips. They did the unthinkable and came out with Spicy Wings and Shaorma flavored chips. I've actually tasted the Shaorma ones since then and I gotta say, I was blown away: you can taste every single ingredient of a typical Romanian shaorma, right down to the garlic mayo. A great triumph, indeed! 

Today, however, I want to talk about something much more refined and fancy: the potato chips lovingly produced by the chaps at the Pipers Crisp Company in Lincolnshire, in the East of England. I bought these for my birthday back in February from one of those fancy Greek cavas, or liquor stores. You know, the type where they sell 30 year old brandy and fine scotch, only fit for the most manly gentlemen. Among all the fancy drinks, they had a stand with a lot of Pipers Crisps bags. The first thing I noticed was the wonderful array of different flavors available, most of them paying some sort of homage to the traditions of the old Empire: there were sea salt, black pepper and sea salt, cheddar cheese and onion, vinegar and sea salt, spicy tomato and sweet chili flavors all happily sharing the same rack. An impressive range of flavors, no doubt about it. 

The second thing you notice is the exquisite packaging. The bag feels smooth, doesn't make a lot of noise and it's almost like a paper bag from ye olde days. Each flavor of chips is made with ingredients sourced from various local farmers. On the back of the bag, there's pictures of the farm where the ingredients were grown, along with a beautiful description of the places around it and even an address, so you can go to the farm and see for yourself the rows of plump, ripe tomatoes, the organic onion patches or the cows grazing happily on an open field, making for outstanding milk which in turn becomes delicious cheddar cheese. The package also goes on mentioning how each potato is carefully selected and fried in the finest vegetable oil, then packaged in a protective atmosphere that leaves the flavor intact. 

All of this sounded amazing, frankly, so, being my birthday and all, I was happy to shell out 3.30 euros for a bag of Cheddar and onion flavored Pipers Crisps

Then I got home and they tasted like stinky socks.

I couldn't even finish them in one sitting because it's a big bag, so I ate them over the course of 3 days. However, I think it might be that I just don't get along very well with cheese and onion chips, so I'm willing to give these the benefit of the doubt. I'll probably buy them again soon, but I'm going to go with a more traditional flavor this time, like black pepper and sea salt.

3.30 euros is a pretty big bill for a bag of chips, but I think it's worth to try these at least once or twice because of the diverse range of flavors and excellent packaging. I'm not sure about the geographical availability of these chips (I haven't seen them anywhere in Romania, that's for sure), but you can check out their beautifully designed official website for more information on where you can find them.

Until next time, tally-ho, old chaps!

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