My sister just got back from a trip to Europe,and she brought me back some crisps (U.S. translation=potato chips) from the UK. They have the most delicious flavors over there, unique combinations that make the dill pickle variety now finally available in the U.S. seem tame. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had uniquely flavoured British crisps, and I’m thrilled to have four kinds to sample: from Walker’s, we have Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme, Vintage Cheddar with Red Onion Chutney, and Steak & Onion; from McCoy’s, Flame Grilled Steak. Today, I sampled the two steak-flavoured options and found a big difference between the two brands.
“The Real McCoy’s” proclaims on the bag of Flame Grilled Steak chips, “Accept No Imitations.” Personally, I’d take an imitation of these chips any day. They didn’t really taste like anything. They were cut overly thick and underly seasoned. They had ridges, which ordinarily is a welcome addition to any chip, but when the chip is cut so thickly, it adds excess mass and makes the chip seem really heavy. As my wife said, “You could shovel dirt with these things.”
The Walker’s crisps, on the other hand, tasted exactly like they said they would: steak and onions. Artificially flavoured, of course: “steak & onion flavour [flavourings, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutumate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate)”, but really, you expect that in a potato chip; it’s no different with the BBQ flavoring available in the States.
It’s just too bad that manufacturers don’t think the American public would buy these tastes. Personally, I think Steak and Onion or Curried Lamb would fly off the shelves if we were given the choice.