Looking for a classy crisp that's a bit more special? Well try a bag from one of our five favourite independent, proud-to-be-British crisp companies.
I first tried a bag of Burts Potato Chips at The Tate Modern, and they were by far the highlight of my visit. Each bag of golden crisps is made in Devon by ‘carefully hand cooking in small batches’, which is what gives them their unbeatable crunch.
There’s nothing artificial in a bag of Burts, and it apparently took the team 15 years to discover the recipe for the ‘perfect potato chip’. You can meet the master fryers on the Burts website, where you can also enter crispy competitions.
As for flavours, there’s everything from Sea Salt and Crushed Peppercorns to Vintage Cheddar and Spring Onion, Pesto, Thai Sweet Chilli, and even Firecracker Lobster. They’ve won numerous awards with those bags, including the Taste of The West Gold in 2012 and Winner of the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards, also in 2012.
Tyrrells is taking the nation by storm. You can spot them in almost every shop, and their product range extends to popcorn, nibbles and tortillas. Everything comes from Herefordshire and the potato varieties favoured are Lady Rosetta and Lady Claire. They’re passionate about keeping the skin on their potatoes (‘that’s where the flavour and goodness is!’) and all their crisps are thick-cut and hand-cooked, made in small batches without anything artificial added.
There are dozens of different flavours, but our favourites are Naked (No Salt), English Summer Barbecue, Sea Salt and Vinegar Furrows, and Crinkly Veg, from the Vegetable Crisps range (there’s also a Swanky Veg range, too.) You can even suggest your own flavour to the Tyrrells team.
Tyrrells are known for being a fun gang, and if you’re bored at work give their ‘Veg your Bets’ Facebook game a go, and see if you can beat my score of 141.
The folk at Fairfields grow, wash and cook their crisps on the same farm in Colchester, Essex, making sure that every last process is checked by their beady eyes. Husband and wife team Robert and Laura have been running the farm since 2006, and they pride themselves on ‘…being able to show our valued customers which field the potatoes grow in’.
They’ve won five Great Taste Awards for their crisps, and triumphed in the Essex Food and Drink Awards in 2010. Flavours range from Lightly Sea Salted to Farmhouse Cheese & Chive, Smoky Bacon and Sunday Roast Potato, and Butter & Mint, and they also make Parsnip crisps with Essex honey – a great way to stay true to their roots.
They’ve got a lovely section on their website about farm life – have a read here, to see a crisp’s journey from farm to packet.
Corkers crisps are hand cooked in fresh sunflower oil using a ‘special Corkers recipe to ensure the perfect curl and crunch to our crisps’. They’re thinner than your average crisps (to make them ‘less abrasive on the pallet’) and are made from Naturalo potatoes, which are grown in The Fens.
Best friends Rod Garnham and Ross Taylor who run the show, the latter of whom comes from a long line of Fenland farmers, stretching back to the 1800s. ‘With the knowledge that my family has passed on down,’ he says, ‘ I knew that the Naturalo potato that we grow had the best frying qualities, helping Rod and I create the natural British crunch.’
So far there are just six flavours in the Corkers range – Sea Salt, Pork Sausage and English Mustard, Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion, Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar, Sweet Thai Chilli, and Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
Yorkshire Crisps was established in 2005 by Sheffield farmer Ashley Turner, whose family business has thrived in the local area for 120 years.
Potatoes are delivered to the factory by tractor from farms just a few miles away, and then they are batch fried in pure sunflower oil and flavoured with only 100% natural ingredients – no MSG, preservatives, colourings or artificial flavours are used. Yorkshire Crisps have received a number of awards, the pinnacle being winning the ‘snack category’ of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Awards for Excellence, beating off stiff competition from established national brands.
There are ten flavours in total, each one packed in a smart tub, and our favourites include the salt-free Nowt On, Henderson’s Relish (a sauce still made in Sheffield), and Sour Cream, Dill and Mustard.
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