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Pricepoints: When it comes to the crunch

As the economic crisis continues to bite and we deny ourselves luxury purchases, posh crisps still seem to be doing well with new brands appearing almost every week.



Perhaps people are staying in with a six pack of beer and a packet of posh crisps rather than a pizza and a bottle of wine.

All the crisps were cooked in sunflower oil but many had a bewildering array of flavourings and preservatives. It is interesting that the top two brands (Kettle Chips and Burts) were the only crisps with no processed flavours and the quality impressed the kids and adults.

Also, only Tayto and Aldi's crisps seem to have been made in Ireland, the rest in the UK. Ireland is the most famous potato-loving and potato-growing nation in the world so surely there is scope for an artisan Irish hand-cooked crisp.

Burts Hand Fried Sea Salted, €1.99 per 150g -- 514cal

No added flavours, just potatoes, oil and salt. Thick, crunchy crisps, smaller than most samples with a very natural taste of fried potatoes and salt. Have with vintage Champagne! 8.5/10

Kettle Chips Lightly Salted, €2.09 per 150g -- 482cal

Kettle Chips were probably the first posh crisp to arrive in Ireland and are the model most hand-cooked crisps are based on. The large, thick crisps were lightly salted and simply tasted of oil and potatoes, and were excellent. Have with non-vintage Champagne. 8/10

Aldi Specially Selected Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, €1.39 per 150g -- 496cal

Good natural flavour of potatoes with salt and a mild vinegar taste. Some extra flavourings but not the worst. The best of the own brands and the cheapest of the hand-cut crisps. Have with Premier Cru Chablis. 7/10

Tesco Finest Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, €1.49 per 150g -- 480cal

Medium-sized, thick crisps with a relatively natural taste and more salt than vinegar. Good quality, not too many unusual ingredients. Have with Sancerre. 7/10

Marks & Spencer Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, €2.39 per 150g -- 490cal

Huge, medium-thick crisps with a relatively natural flavour, and not too many strange additives. Good quality but expensive. Have with hand-crafted Real Ale. 6.5/10

Tayto Bistro Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar, €2.29 per 150g -- 517cal

Looked like real crisps. Strong salt and vinegar taste, very similar in flavour to ordinary Tayto crisps except thicker. Low quantity of strange ingredients. Have with Guinness. 6.5/10

Tyrrells Sea Salt & Black Pepper, €2.34 per 150g -- 480cal

Large, thick crisps with a good flavour, the black pepper taste was more evident than the sea salt. They were the most expensive crisp sampled. Fairly good quality but do they really need the maltodextrin potato starch and the other added flavourings? Have with Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. 6/10

Red Sky Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar, €1.95 per 150g -- 456cal

Look like potatoes and taste reasonably like potatoes but with a very strong vinegar taste which masked all other flavours. Natural ingredients, according to the pack, but this includes dried milk whey (why?) and "natural flavouring", which could mean anything. Have with cider. 5/10

Walkers Sensations Balsamic & Caramelised Onion, €1.89 per 160g -- 485 cal

Spicy, strong onion and balsamic flavour. Tasted rather artificial and not that pleasant. Among the strange ingredients was calcium chloride. Have with Dutch Gold. 4/10

Lidl -- Knights Sweet Balsamic and Caramelised Onion, €1.25 per 150g -- 514cal

Cooked in sunflower oil but with dozens of extra flavourings. They had an odd orange colour and a strange taste that meant they were too sweet and yet too salty at the same time. Did not really taste like potatoes. Have with tap water. 3.5/10.


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