Pong-ee! Amol Rajan tries the new Walker's potato crisps

1.00

Our writer, a bi-weekly restaurant critic for the Independent on Sunday (and not a massive crisp fan) tries the new "real food flavours" crisps

The first thing that strikes you about tasting commercially manufactured crisps of any kind is the aroma. And these are no different.

Open either of the packets and it’s like, Pow! Whoosh! and Pong-ee! Foul vapours rise up to the nostrils, like the windy excretions of a cat without a conscience. All crisps stink: as little more than starchy agglomerations of grease and salt, they need to fool us into thinking they’re vehicles for genuine flavour, “real” or otherwise.

Crisp A (new school; “with cheddar from Somerset”): I’m getting transfats, notes of leek, a dominant, musty flavour coming through, more chimney than cheddar; more Somers Town than Somerset.

…A glug of water between courses…

Crisp 2 (old school; think Gary Lineker): much stronger flavour here; more grease, more salt, more whatever the opposite of mouthwash is; full on soot, in fact.

What I’m tasting in both cases is starch, oil, and salt. The old crisp, being artificially stimulated, makes a bigger, badder impact. But neither have serious pretensions to actual flavour. Alas for Walkers, the new crisps, like the old crisps, don’t taste of very much at all, though in fairness I could swear the aftertaste carried a faint whiff of something familiar. Could it be horse meat?*

*No. It's definitely not horse meat.

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