M&S Paprika Hand Cooked Crisps

‘But this is also a crisp that wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom, that has a fantastic credit rating, that diligently collects its Nectar points.’

For the Ventrilocrisp, paprika crisps signify one thing and one thing only: vacation. This is a snack accompanied not by life’s banal trials, but by a cold one on a balcony, savouring the warm evening sun. Happy-go-lucky paprika epitomises the holiday spirit. So the Ventrilocrisp’s immediate question is: how can this fun-loving crisp contain its carefree, playful character —its joie de vivre— within the suffocating confines of the everyday?

M&S stare straight into the jaws of the beast and confront this critical dilemma head on. This is a smarted up, suave, cosmopolitan older cousin to the bright orange, tangy paprika crisp we all know and love. Its Hawaiian shirt and battered Haviaianas have been replaced with a chic linen shirt and brogues. The summer vibe is still there, sure, but it wears a more modest, more refined guise. This crisp is not too garish in colour, not too pungent in smell. The flavour itself is subtle. The salty base is artfully endowed with a delicate paprika taste: slightly sweet, slightly smoky, a little peppery, a touch of tang. Everything in moderation. The crisps are never excessively oily. The thick, generous hand cut of the crisp is indulgent; the hallmark of good quality. Yet despite its nuance the crisp is never plain. That elusive summer spark permeates deep into the very foundations of the crisp, calling you greedily back for more. But this is also a crisp that wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom, that has a fantastic credit rating, that diligently collects its Nectar points. In short: a sophisticated take on a classic.

The Ventrilocrisp must ask itself: would it choose this crisp over a hand-cooked Salt N’ Vinegar, its old favourite? To be candid: often, no. But sometimes, yes. This crisp has something special, and on a dark Winter’s day when the Ventrilocrisp longs for the caress of the sun on its withered skin, that is this crisp’s moment. For with its eyes closed, the Ventrilocrisp is almost fooled into thinking itself in a deckchair, waves lapping at the shoreline. Only this holiday is less sweating in the midday sun, hands greasy with suncream, and more champagne glasses clinking on a yacht in Montecarlo.

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