Thursday 9 March 2023

Pipers Kirkby Malham Chorizo

Cured meats are far from a healthy option, but this is counterbalanced by the fact they're beyond delicious. Yes, it turns out that high levels of salt, fat, nitrates and nitrites make for the perfect combination of gorgeousness in your mouth. One of the very best examples is chorizo, a cured meat which, several centuries ago, emerged from the Iberian Peninsula. Thankfully, like all good meats, chorizo has made the transition into a crisp flavouring. And that's why British Crisps has picked up a packet of Pipers Kirkby Malham Chorizo and bellowed "To hell with our health!"

Pipers are a highly regarded crisp manufacturer, the type which is talked about in hushed, reverent tones, who first started cooking up crisps in 2003. Unfortunately, I haven't dipped into them that often. Their Lye Cross Cheddar & Onion crisps are a thing of beauty, a dazzling and overwhelming beauty which British Crisps shall be eulogizing about in a future article. But, aside from a one-off dalliance with a pack of their Jalapeno & Dill (also delicious) crisps, that's been about it for me.

To make amends for this, and given my penchant for all things chorizo, I leapt at the chance to see what Pipers could do when they crossed this versatile meat with a few potatoes. Starting with the packet, well, it's your standard Pipers design, so you know what to expect: a feast of modernism featuring an elegant piper, bold black fonts and a simple colour scheme (claret and an even lighter claret on this occasion). So fantastic is Pipers reputation, that the packet design itself is a sure-fire indicator of quality. But there was only way to confirm this so, with excitable fingers, I ripped the packet open.

There was a savoury, smokey fragrance emanating from the bag which, although not as intense as a charcuterie board piled high with chorizo slices, instantly conjured up all the fun and excitement of unwrapping a ring of chorizo. And the flavour credentials of Kirkby Malham Chorizo have a lot going for them. After all, the ingredients list does, in fact, confirm that chorizo sausage - specifically one produced by Town End Farm Shop - will be contributing to the taste (so watch out, vegetarians).

But, primarily, this is a potato based snack, right? Kirkby Malham Chorizo crisps surely can't be that meaty, can they? Well, dear reader, they are. Seasoned with the aplomb of a Michelin star chef, Pipers serve up a phenomenal experience. The crunch may be lacking - or simply lost in the hullabaloo of the flavour - but the taste is fantastic.

Not every crisp in the packet is seasoned as generously as I would like, but the majority are. And those gloriously paprika-stained crisps take things to another level. It's genuinely like sinking your teeth into the meaty, chewy and unctuous flesh of a chorizo. And, here's a tip, try chomping down on three at once for a truly carnivourous experience, one which provides a spicy warmth for the full length of your esophagus.

I had high hopes for Pipers Kirkby Malham Chorizo crisps (for which I paid £1.50 for a 40g bag) and these were exceeded with ease. It's a unique experience, and the level of culinary magic required to transform a humble spud into a delicious, meaty experience is remarkable. So, apologies for not reaching them sooner, Pipers, but I'll be tucking into plenty more in the future.

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