Crisps in Quarantine: Kettle Chips Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

‘Take solace in the Kettles: they are a taste of the good times.’

Day 5 of social distancing. The Ventrilocrisp’s kitchen is now its permanent office (its long-term refusal to throw away its stained ergonomic chair has finally paid off). It downloaded the “Houseparty” app, overcoming a lifelong fear of video communication to lawlessly hijack conversations. Most of all, the Ventrilocrisp has observed the stockpiling habits of others with great condescension. Sainsbury’s has been looted, the crisp section bone dry. It has had to look further afield for its favourites, going to town on the Synders (the looters have not discovered the “American” section). Stockpiling has raised the question: what is the nation’s essential crisp?

The answer is clear: Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar Kettle Chips. Usually so ubiquitous that they verge on oversaturated, they are unquestionably a staple. Present at parties, gatherings, picnics (the packet ripped lengthways for sharing) these crisps are one of the gang. They are appropriate for all contexts: dress them up, dress them down. The crisps’ structural integrity makes them an excellent vehicle for dips.Though the Kettles blend in, their standout flavour turns heads. For when the first Kettle touches the expectant tongue, the world stops. The crisp is everything. Crunch: back to reality. Salt is embedded into the crisp’s foundation as well as crumbed on its surface. The vinegar is potent but never aggressive; a perfect blend of sweet balsam and characteristic tartness. And a Salt & Vinegar crisp so mighty in taste and yet so kind to the tongue (no pain, blood or lesion) is a rare thing indeed. From the chip’s thickness to the nuanced balsamic, the crisp has an unmistakably premium feel, in spite of its wide accessibility and fair price. The irregularities in size and shape, adding to its rustic character, are another great pleasure. Specimens translucent with oil, or meatily folded-over, all add to the thrill of the ride.

Crucially, the Kettle brings people together. The Ventrilocrisp is not famed for its benevolence, but even it will concede that this is a crisp best shared. Quarantine has many unusual demands, including eating these alone. Take solace in the Kettles: they are a taste of the good times.

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

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