Having previously bothered/infuriated/enlightened you with my experimental musings on which biscuit is best to dunk into tea, I now find myself returning to tackle an equally humble, though integral question: which slice of carbohydrate is best in between another two slices of carbohydrate?
Or put more simply, which crisp is best to make a crisp sandwich (note I say sandwich and not butty, because I am a soft Southerner). The crisp sandwich is one of life’s simple pleasures- it lacks the carnivorous aspect of a slice of ham or chicken (as much as love them both, they can get boring), or the pungent aroma of an exotic cheese, so therefore is more likely to be akin with a student budget. Add to the fact the variety of flavours which you can have for crisps, and you quickly find your range is far wider than that of conventional fillings, with an added crunch as well for that alternate texture.
Whereas in my last test I had different categories to weigh up against, this time I have merely eaten the different crisps in sandwiches on different days and then critiqued them. The six brands of crisps under scrutiny here are Walkers, McCoys, Sainsbury’s brand, M&S Luxury, Pringles, Doritos and Skips. I should note all sandwiches were prepared in the same location, with the same bread (Hovis White) and same butter, and all consumed with a glass of tap-water, but all crisps were different flavours- I recognise this may add bias.
But enough of my rambling, onto the scoring. First up was the Sainsbury’s own-brand crisps, in classic Ready Salted. I say Ready Salted, but in truth they tasted of potato only, and slightly burnt at that. The crisps were flat enough, and large enough to make a sandwich, and little did spill out, but really it just tasted like buttered bread. A disappointing start if I am honest.
Up next, McCoys Salt and Vinegar. I have always quite liked McCoys crisps purely because they have shiny packaging, although the crinkle-cut style did come back to haunt me when consuming the sandwich, the broken crisp crinkles were more like arrowheads stabbing into my tongue than tickling my taste-buds. The flavour did shine through, however, and this did compensate somewhat, in-between the throbbing. Whoever fills the packs needs to take a long hard look at themselves though, I wanted a packet of crisps to make a sandwich, not an air-bag which happened to have some potato snacks in it.
Being the Southerner that I am, I couldn’t help but include M&S in the mix, just to be posh. The crisps in question were the exotic pork, sage and onion and scrumpy-cider flavour, which sounds more like a MasterChef production than student cuisine and the price certainly did reflect this! The overall flavour was strong, but the pork was lost to the cider and that really didn’t complement buttered bread well.
Next up came my childhood favourite Skips. I loved Skips as a kid, and I could feel my youth returning to me as I opened up the packet of prawn cocktail flavour. Upon consuming the sandwich however, I was reminded why I stopped eating Skips. Upon contact with anything remotely wet, they dissolve as if touched by acid, and the flavour bleeds out. Prawn cocktail crisp snacks might be nice, but prawn cocktail bread and butter is certainly not a winner.
Next up came Doritos, the tangy cheese flavour. The first difficulty here comes with making the sandwich, the cheese flavouring covers your fingers to the point you feel compelled to lick them. The flavour did spill somewhat onto the bread, but cheese bread is a more natural complement to one another than some of the other concoctions and tasted quite nice. The only problem was the triangular shaped crisps did break far too easily when trying to fit them in the sandwich, and crisp shards went everywhere. Also unwelcome was the powdery mix at the bottom of the bag, I want to eat the crisps, not snort it.
Up next, Walkers Roast Chicken. Walkers seem to be everywhere as a brand nowadays, and the flavour range seems infinite, everything from Worcester Sauce to Cajun Squirrel. Rather than eat Nutkin, I decided to go for the classic Roast Chicken flavour, always a popular one and it did have a good taste, and the flat crisps were easy to assemble á la Tetris in the bread. The main issue again is the bag not being full enough- sort it out Gary!
Finally, we come to the pre-drinks/party staple that always seems to be on offer somewhere- Pringles. Smoky Bacon is a rare flavour to find, and they arguably are one of the best tasting ones, albeit still not a patch on the real thing. You can definitely taste the flavour in the crisps- problem is you need a lot of them to fill a sandwich. The curled shape also doesn’t help, shards were breaking off everywhere, only to get stuck in the butter and then stab my mouth.
So now we come to which is best, and the truth is I was very disappointed.
- Pringles and Skips come joint last in fifth, with several problems hampering the eating experience a lot.
- The M&S crisps worked okay, but the flavour is not a great combination with bread, so they take fourth.
- Doritos takes third, making a good sandwich in the end, but a pain to get it in that position.
- McCoys and Home-brand score a joint-second for value and taste, but they both had problems- McCoys with stabbing and Home with the burnt aftertaste in places.
- First place goes to Walkers for best value, a variety of flavours and easy to fit in. Shame about the diminished amount in the bag, but still probably the best.
Walkers takes first, but crisps companies take note, you need to step up your game!
Disclaimer: This is all my opinion!