M&S Sour Cream & Jalapeño Combo Mix

‘The square shines blindingly bright like the sun, whilst the wheel, tube and ruffle are planets in its orbit, reflecting —thriving— from its impossible light.’

These crisps take the Ventrilocrisp back to the days when it made an honest buck. At work, the Sour Cream & Chive variety were laid on for colleagues’ birthdays. Most ate modestly, except one rude colleague who would pick up the bowl and hoard it to herself. The marauding Ventrilocrisp at least had discretion: silently pillaging until the spread was gone. Eating these crisps alone was a change, but it allowed it to see the bag in all its glory.

The Achilles Heel of the combo bag is this: the consumer always has a favourite. There’s a lot of hard graft required, stoically ploughing through filler, for little reward. To add insult to injury, mix bags seem to include fewer high-value crisps. A winning combo bag is no dick measuring contest: the crisps will complement, not rival, each other. In this pack, the shapes work together to offset the strongest: the ridged square. The square shines blindingly bright like the sun, whilst the wheel, tube and ruffle are planets in its orbit, reflecting —thriving— from its impossible light.

That said, the Ventrilocrisp would never say no to more squares. They are sublime: wells of flavour; seasoning clinging to their ridges like limpets to a rock. Their delectable crunch is emphasised by the soft, puffy texture of the wheel, which is the outlier of the pack. Lacking the bready yellow colour of its contemporaries, it is pale and translucent like a rice noodle, speckled with seasoning. The ruffle is the weakest link, retaining the least flavour and lacking the functionality of the tube (carrying dips) and its joie de vivre (it can be sucked like a straw). The natural flavours are nuanced. To their credit, M&S have combined strong –even polarising—flavours without ever stinking. Rich tomato flavour penetrates the potato, bolstered by sunny paprika and gentle rosemary.It is the sour cream that steals the show, however. It gives the crisps a smooth, milky base of flavour, whilst its tartness balances the jalapeño’s kick beautifully.The spice, meanwhile, warms but never overwhelms the bite.

This is a gregarious crisp, its myriad shapes paying homage to teamwork. In isolation, it reminds us that we are all part of something bigger.

  • repurchase? ☑️
  • recommend to a friend? ☑️
  • eat this crisp in public? ☑️
  • consider the price to be right? ☑️
  • need to wash hands after consumption? ❎

Thanks to @kittyhawkins123 for the rec and the bag (which the Ventrilocrisp ate and had to buy again).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s