Crisps and Chips and Snacks Galore!

Many years ago when on a ski trip in Andorra, myself and a couple of friends came off the slopes feeling a bit peckish. We went to a local cafe and I asked the waiter for, “a big plate of chips,” using my hands to show how big (very big) I wanted the plate to be (imagine a platter size).

He looked a bit confused but repeated my request back to me, “A beeg plate of  cheeps?” – to be sure he’d a handle on the language, I assumed.

“Yes, please, a big plate of chips.”

We sipped at our drinks, waiting for the chips which took forever to come. Eventually, he arrived with a massive silver platter and six bags of crisps laid out on it. I think he thought us a bit crazy when we burst out laughing…

What I should have ordered was a big plate of fries. “Crisps” are called “chips” as in potato chips in Andorra, the USA and probably everywhere other than Ireland and Britain. And while I love crisps, they didn’t cut the mustard while I was craving “fries!”

For the purposes of today’s blog, I’m going to call the snack food of potato chips, “crisps” and the more substantial meal/side-dish of chips, “fries”. Thus not using the term “chips” at all.

The North of Ireland wins the prize for having the biggest range of flavours of crisps that I’ve seen anywhere in the world. In recent years, the US has improved, but when I first landed in California there was only salted or plain (a waste of a good potato in my opinion!), salt & vinegar, sour cream, and BBQ flavours. Then Lays brought in a few more flavours – my favourite being lime flavoured. In Canada, Lays had a few more varieties and I loved the dill pickle, but still, there was no sign of the delicious range available north of the border in Ireland (or east of that border if you’re situated in Donegal!)

Tayto Castle, nestled in the heart of the Armagh countryside, do a gorgeous cheese and onion flavour, even better, in my opinion, than those created by their forefathers (by 2 years) Tayto Crisps in the Republic.  Click here to read an interesting blog post  on the origins of both companies.

As the post says, flavoured crisps originated in Ireland – But the range of flavours here goes even further…

In addition to the US flavours of plain (or ready salted), salt & vinegar, BBQ, cheese and onion, and spring onion, (similar in taste to America’s cream cheese and chives) we have here in the North of Ireland :- smokey bacon, wuster sauce, prawn cocktail, honey roast ham, beef & onion, roast chicken, sticky bbq ribs, Mexican chilli, Thai sweet chilli and, my all-time mouth-watering, zingy favourite, pickled onion

That’s not even including the kettle chips which I’m not that partial too – the slices of potatoes are too thick and brittle,  hurting my mouth with their extreme crunchiness. But with this range of available flavours – not to mention shapes and varieties of corn and rice snacks (I’ve only tackled potato crips here) – you can be sure that there’s something for everyone. Party time, people!

Visibly loaded with flavour – Tayto Sticky BBQ Beef Flavour

What’s your favourite flavour?

Byddi Lee

Photo’s by Robbie McKee