Saturday 4 March 2023

Darling Spuds Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

Some crisps like to batter every square inch on your tongue into submission with their potent, taste receptor shredding might. And I'm a sucker for having my taste buds dialled up to 11. But sometimes, just sometimes, I need a little more elegance, a brief respite from all this unhinged, gustatory hedonism. And, in Darling Spuds Sea Salt & Black Pepper, British Crisps has found a worthy candidate.

From the off, you can tell Darling Spuds love and cherish their potatoes. The brand name and the singular, beautifully golden potato at the centre of the packet tell you all you need to know. And, talking of the packet, it's a charming and simple affair, with a potato playfully positioned as the body of a salt grinder. The colour scheme, a simple affair consisting of - potato aside - just two coloured fonts against a grey background, is equally minimalist but retains an appealing allure. They say the first taste is with the eye and Darling Spuds have snared my attention early on.

But, wait a minute, who are Darling Spuds? Well, they're a Buckinghamshire-based company who have been hand cooking their crisps since 2010. And, as the packet attests, their crisps are not only "made with love" but the company are "passionate about potatoes" - two promises which bring a tear to my eye and remind me why I started British Crisps. So, Darling Spuds are clearly some very good eggs, but can their crisps live up to their romantic promises?

Opening the packet, the aromas of fresh, creamy potato washed over my olfactory receptors like romantic overtures being exchanged between two new lovers. The contents told me all I would need to know: this was going to be all about the potatoes.

Eagerly plunging in and retrieving a single crisp, I held it up to the light before rapidly advancing it towards my mouth. And, yes, upon the first crunch, my mouth was filled with a generous potato flavour. Slightly unctious, yet perfectly cooked, this was an earthy, creamy experience and one which delivered on Darling Spuds mission statement.

They were, however, lightly seasoned, so the sea salt and black pepper flavours were very much in the background. The salt was more apparent - an obvious move by the producers as it's higher up in the ingredients list - but the spicy warmth of pepper occasionally fluttered into view.

With a less quality spud, this could prove problematic in the gustatory stakes, but this isn't a problem Darling Spuds are faced with. As a result, the 40g bag - which cost me £1.50 in a garden centre cafe - was far too moreish to put down.

You may be thinking that the lack of explosive flavour here presents an issue, but it's quite the opposite. Darling Spuds' Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper crisps are a very simple snack done exceptionally well. Although I haven't tested them with a pint of beer, I get the impression they would go together like two old drinking buddies on a night out.

So, as long as you appreciate a potato as much as Darling Spuds do, British Crisps can't recommend these more highly.

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