Missing our Purple & Gold Potatoes? Never fear! This one's here to stay, and is always in season. Topped off with a Proper touch of Marlborough Sea Salt harvested from Lake Grassmere, and a colourful blend of freshly cracked Peppercorns.
Once the last morsel has been devoured, simply pop the packet in your garden compost and it will naturally decompose - how eco is that!
I much prefer a thicker crisp, because I love to eat dip, and I also find that the thinner crisps turn to mush and get stuck in my teeth a lot (something that I hate the feeling of). It's one of the things that I love about Proper Crisps. The Kumara varieties have always been much thicker than their potato varieties, but their potato varieties have generally always been thicker than the usual Bluebird etc. brands (excluding the thick-cut varieties). This specific variety of Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt comes with a thickness that feels slightly thinner than usual and definitely leaves you with potato mush stuck in your teeth if you eat enough of them.
The product comes in the compostable bags that Proper Crisps have championed; bags that are rigid enough to provide some protection to the crisps inside without the need for 80% of the bag to be air (so you get more crisps per bag), and make for a bag that is very easy to open. It comes in a 150g bag, which is a good size for sharing, but to be totally honest, it's very easy to eat the entire bag yourself (which admittedly, I did).
The flavour profile is quite bare. With a strong black pepper kick, and a salty tang, the flavour profile has some strong edges to it, but it feels surprisingly empty, lacking that full body to the flavour. Unlike the kumara varieties that have a natural sweetness to them that the salt and pepper would accentuate, the potatoes here have a little natural flavour for the salt and pepper to lift. Not a bad flavour by any means, this works quite well as a palate cleanser, or in conjunction with other flavours (like a nice light dip), but on its own, it is lacking somewhat.
Proper Crisps are a popular brand of chips in my office space. Most of the ladies I work with always have a bag opened on their desk. They are really big snackers at my work as need the brain food to keep them going. I took this cracked pepper and sea salt flavour to work to let them try it. They really enjoyed the flavour and said it was good. They enjoyed the pepper hit from the chips.
The feedback was they have a good hint of pepper but not to overpowering. They thought the pepper taste stood out more then the sea salt which I agree with them. The pepper taste is more powerful but it is good and works well. The chips have the fantastic crunch that I love and you want more of. I find they are good quantity amount in the bag and I was able to share them among my work mates who all got a few handfuls each.
I love the packaging and I love the picture on the front of the bag with the overflowing bowl or salt and pepper. Its a great eye catching photo and I love the bag is compost friendly. Being more eco friendly this is a plus. Overall I will be buying these again and other flavours as I love this brand and I love the flavours and crunch of the chips.
I don't eat plain, salted chips because I find they taste more oily than anything else, and I stay away from pepper as I don't like the heat that comes with it, but I'm trying to branch out a bit and so put out my hand out for this to try. I snipped this open and encouraged the kids to give it a try, two out of three didn't like it at all, promptly turning down anymore. One though, enjoyed it so much that she sat down with the bag and before I had realised, had eaten half the bag, suffice to say she wasn't bothere by the pepper and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I had some, with trepidation, and found that it wasn't too bad. Salt wise, I found it had the right amount, pepper wise I did find it a tad too much and sadly I did find that I could taste too much of the oil and it ended up making me feel slightly nauseous (which is a common effect that salted chips have on me). This ended up only being a hit with one member of the family, that being said, this is still a brand that I would recommend, especially with their new compost able bags, which is a great thing to try and reduce long term rubbish in the environment.
A new offering from Proper Crisps is always welcome in our family. I don't think I have ever managed to eat a packet without assistance from plenty of willing helpers - eating some crisps in exchange for giving me feedback (whether positive or negative!) has never been a problem. I guess we are just a bunch of foodies. Anyway, this bag was destined for a school picnic. The younger of the two teenagers, Mr 17, was performing with his school band and families were invited to bring along some food and enjoy the show from the playing fields. There were four of us - his parents, his older sister Miss 18, and me - and we had strict instructions to save a bit of everything for him!
Crisps are the perfect food for a picnic. We took a handful apiece, and sat back to enjoy the music. The texture was perfect: thick and crunchy, with no annoying crumbs to fall off; the crisps held their shape even when bitten in half, useful when you are sitting on grass and don't want to eat any food if it happens to get accidentally dropped! There was no chance of that, however; each handful was speedily finished and we all went back for seconds. Miss 18 had brought her panda mascot along as befits the school tradition - she went to school there too up until a year ago - and he too was offered a few crisps; she assured us that he was enjoying them as much as the humans were, and that he said they were much nicer than bamboo!
Their parents were keen on the flavour and the quality of the crisps. Her mother said they reminded her of lemon pepper fish, and thought they would go nicely together. She thought she might buy some to serve with the fish next time she cooks it this way. Both parents were impressed that, although salt was one of the flavours, it was understated - the pepper was far more prominent. Even Miss 18, who is not normally a fan of pepper, found that she liked it as a flavouring when it was prepared this way. All three of them commented that it was a healthy option for when they buy crisps.
We carefully put aside the last few for Mr 17 as instructed; he was very pleased to get his share, and declared that pepper was one of his favourite flavours so he would have bought them on principle anyway. Being a teenager who is still growing (and therefore always hungry) he said he could eat an entire packet on his own. At first, he thought there was a slightly greasy aftertaste to his portion, but then decided it was his imagination - and possibly, because he had the last part of the packet, it might have also been due to a bigger concentration of flavours. His overall impression was positive, and he commented particularly on the crispness. This is good because the packet had been opened several hours previously and had been sitting in full sun; some brands might have lost quality over this period of time, but his were as fresh as the rest had been.
My first impression of the Proper Crisps new bag is great. It looks classy with a bit of fun and I love the picture of the crisps and the small jar of sea salt with cracked pepper on top of a cutting board. The picture very much shows the flavor and displays that they are hand cooked with natural ingredients. The best part of the packaging though is of course that it is compostable!
Unfortunately, the bag is only home compostable and not commercially compostable, but the company is going in the right direction. After looking at the rest of the bag, the brand really stands out and makes me like the local company and product even more so than I already did. The crisps are gluten free, vegan, msg free, and made from New Zealand potatoes. Further, they are free of any artificial ingredients! There is only NZ potatoes, high oleic sunflower oil (I assume this is a healthier version of sunflower oil), ground mixed peppercorns and Marlborough sea salt. The bag even tells me someone named Philly made it. How cool is that!
Onto the tasting of the crisps. They are harder, crunchy crisps and taste deep-fried but are not too greasy. To me they have a cracked pepper taste with just the right amount of salt. The cracked pepper taste is the prominent flavour in my mouth. It is good they taste like the flavour advertised. They are a thicker crisp and most of the pieces are just the right size to eat. There are visible pepper flakes and there are hardly any super broken pieces in my bag. Each piece tastes super fresh and are far from soggy. They really do taste like they are hand cooked with only natural ingredients and not in a bad way. No, they do not taste like the dollar potato crisps laden with a ton of salt and pure unhealthy addiction. They taste like a more elevated food.
As for this particular flavour, it is not my cup of tea. I usually enjoy more uniquely flavoured crisps than just salt and pepper and crisps that are a bit less thick and thus crunchy. They are good, just not for me. I have tried some of the brand's other flavours and though I will buy Proper Crisps in the future, I will personally not buy this particular type. After learning more about the company and how the crisps are made, I will be buying more of this brand than I would have previously. I enjoy my crisps and even though they are not very healthy, Proper Crisps are a better crisp to satisfy my cravings. I recommend you try Proper Crisps just choose the flavour that best fits your taste buds.
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Joan Didion (1934 - ), 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'