Piper’s Arreton Tomato Crisps

Eight weeks ago, the Ventrilocrisp was playing football. It took a step to the left —nothing unusual—but suddenly, something was grievously wrong with its left knee. In that fateful moment, the lights turned out, leaving only darkness behind.

The injury, the doctor suspects, is a muscle tear. As knee injuries go, it is a trivial one (something its father, who tore his meniscus in 1982, reminds the Ventrilocrisp daily). And yet, in the dark catacombs of its misery, the Ventrilocrisp’s senses dulled to the world’s beauty, like a chalk cliff crumbling slowly into the icy sea. Its heart, unfortunately, grew blacker than ever.

Only one thing was able to rouse the Ventrilocrisp from its malaise (which, like a heavy cloak, it struggled to shake off): crisps in their plenty. As if by magic, box after box of Piper’s crisps appeared – hundreds of packets, piled high to the ceiling. The Ventrilocrisp’s brother, a barkeep at a local pub, had plundered its expiring stock. O, sweet booty!

There was not a moment to waste. The Ventrilocrisp quickly set to work sampling the colourful loot, diligently comparing Piper’s full range. It was, in short, impressed. The zesty young brand (founded in 2004) have entered the competitive field of luxury crisps and given the big names (Kettle; Tyrell’s) a run for their money. Pipers have a novel take on classic flavours (the Salt & Vinegar is full and oaky; the Anglesey Sea Salt deliciously salty) plus some spunky offerings of their own (welcome, Jalapeño and Dill). But one crisp stole the show: Arreton Tomato.

The Arreton Valley, the Ventrilocrisp learned, is in the Isle of Wight. Far away, still languishing in shadow, something of those rolling southerly vistas touched the Ventrilocrisp. The tomato is a roasted, throaty taste – a rich flavour with a vinegary sharpness, chased by a hint of spice. Paprika, cayenne, salt and cumin warm the mouthful. As with all good crisps, these disparate flavours are woven seamlessly into one sophisticated bite. Not a crisp in the bag is without flavour: the hand-cooked chips are visibly coated with deep red seasoning. The Ventrilocrisp lapped greedily at the oily residue left in the bag: delicious.

The flavour is bold – but not too bold to alienate. The real trick of the Piper’s is that, unlike so many other crisps, they are a real alternative to classic flavours. It will say it: this is a world-class crisp. Finally, the Ventrilocrisp’s deadened heart began to beat again.

  • Repurchase? ☑️
  • Recommend to a friend? ☑️
  • Eat this crisp in public? ☑️
  • Consider the price to be right? these were looted
  • Need to wash hands after consumption? ☑️

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