‘The crisp has pluck, but the Ventrilocrisp can spot a mid-range peanut crisp from 100 paces.’
The Ventrilocrisp is a lifelong scholar of peanut crisps. Mainly found abroad, they are a safe but adventurous alternative to more familiar snacks. Peanut puffs cannot be held to the same assessment criteria as other crisps: they do not, after all, shoot for the consumer’s heart. They are a roll around in the hay, but never a marriage. They are ‘hobby crisps’, briefly snatching the consumer from the grasp of their old favourites, wooing them into a short phase of repeat purchase. And another thing: these crisps are the exception to the rule that cost does not equal quality. There is a gaping discrepancy between budget peanut crisps (chalky, dry, flavourless) and upmarket varieties (creamy and indulgent; drenched in rich, buttery peanut). This is the holy grail. Almost a year has passed since the Ventrilocrisp’s last peanut crisp, but here they were: hiding in plain sight in a local newsagent. How would the Curlys rank for quality?
The unmistakable peanut butter smell of the Curlys is a red herring. The crisps are bone dry and uncommonly brittle for corn-based puffs, betraying their lower-class roots. Nevertheless, they have real, solid peanut flavouring: this much is undeniable. The crisp patently lacks the smooth, buttery texture of upmarket varieties: the fine and unlikely balance between sweet and savoury. But for a ‘peanut classic’, the Curlys have some tricks up their sleeves. For one, their atypical saltiness: bursts of muscular saline flavour saturate the crisp with unexpected force. Think dry roasted peanut here, not peanut butter. The packet too is longer, thinner and more densely packed than a standard bag. The saltiness is a nice touch, but the Ventrilocrisp was not born yesterday. The crisp’s USP is its rich peanut flavour, and it won’t be palmed off by saltiness that any Tom, Dick or Harry can replicate.
The crisp has pluck, but the Ventrilocrisp can spot a mid-range peanut crisp from 100 paces. Regrettably, the Curlys are not up to the hobby crisp mark. They lack the raw quality and charisma to worm their way into the shopping basket. Yet for those avoiding supermarkets, they are a reminder that the unassuming newsagent yields plentiful treasure.
- recommend to a friend? ❎
- eat this crisp in public? ☑️
- consider the price to be right ☑️
- readily accessible? ☑️
- need to wash hands after consumption? ❎