I’m not going to lie. Nope. Not me. So I need to confess something to you all my lovely dear readers: I love crisps. Those crispy fried (or even oven baked) thin slices of golden potato covered in manufactured fake tasting flavourings. Yes, there you go, I said it. I love crisps. And whether you call them crisps or chips (as my American pals do), those morsels of calories, carbs and fat are, to me, joyous. But what if you want something a little different? A little healthier? Or maybe just a new taste sensation? Then read on my lovelies…
I met The Real Coconut team at NOPE this year for the first time and absolutely fell in love with their coconut tortilla chips. They are a grain free, gluten free, dairy free and vegan alternative to standard tortilla chips but they are also a very different texture. They are thicker and more substantial than a regular tortilla and trust me if you have ever had a lot of guacamole and salsa on a tortilla chip and your chip has broken under the weight, then you need these coconut tortilla chips! Get a chip and load on those toppings. Go on, keep piling them on, it’s a sturdy little chip, it’s got your back!
The beach barbecue has a delicious sweet smokey flavour that keeps you going back for more. I say this as this may have happened to me 😉
The pink Himalayan salt is seasoned to perfection with a good balance of salt to chip. There is nothing worse than a bland or overly salty tortilla chip, but you need not worry, these will curb your salty cravings without leaving you thinking you have licked the walls of a salt cave.
Eat Real are a fantastic company that make some of the best crisp alternatives out there, in fact they made quite a few in my top ten. But as they are all different snacks, rather than just different flavours, I have separated them out so you can see them in all their glory.
These, I have to say though, just stole the show 😉 The Eat Real quinoa chips flavoured with sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic… Now, this is a taste you need to try. There are so many crisps and snacks out there that ‘claim’ to be flavoured or taste like sun-dried tomato, but let’s be honest, what you really get is a cheap ‘ketchup’ kind of a flavour. Not with these Eat Real quinoa chips. The taste took me back to late summer in Spain and the decadent, luxurious taste you get from a freshly dried tomato. The garlic enhanced the flavour and didn’t overpower; perfect, just perfect.
Clearspring organic brown rice chips with buckwheat and chia are next. These light, crispy, fluffy discs are softly seasoned and offer a good base for dipping into your favourite dips and sauces. They are gluten free, vegan and reasonably good fibre content at 2.4g per 30g serving. They are also a non-fried snack which is always good!
Now, these little puffs of gorgeousness are from Shore. Shore specialise in products made using Scottish seaweed. We met the lovely team from Shore at NOPE and, as I already love seaweed and a very well known orangey, cheesy crisp of the same shape, let me tell you, these are no Wotsits 😉 Oh my goodness, what a flavour combination these beauties are! And, unlike the puff crisps of the same shape, they are not all full of air either; they are denser and firmer and actually fill you up. Lovely little morsels of snacky, gluten free and vegan wholesomeness.
I tried 2 flavours: lime, chilli and coconut and also Thai chilli. Both outstanding although if I had to pick, the lime, chilli and coconut would just, and only just, have pipped the Thai chilli to the post. I honestly would have both in a heartbeat.
The lime, chilli and coconut was exactly that. You could taste every element of each of the flavours and, combined, they certainly dazzled the taste buds. The Thai chilli had every flavour you would expect from a Thai chill seasoning. The aromatics, the spice and the heat. Well done Shore, these are now a firm favourite in our household!
Eat Real are back again with their kale, tomato and spinach Veggie Straws. Light airy tubes with a subtle seasoning of salt to allow the veggie taste to come through. I particularly liked the kale straws! No added sugar, gluten free and vegan. Fantastic!
Oh hello… what do we have here? Duck crackling? With flavours? And it’s low carb? Wilding’s, I think I love you….
Vegans, look away now… because I have a confession. I love pork scratchings. I do, there is no getting away from it but, as a diabetic, I need to eat as low carb as possible (trust me, this is hard sometimes when you are a food writer!) So, pork scratchings have always been a really handy little snack for me and were even recommended by my doctor. But the one thing that happens when you eat them is you become incredibly thirsty just because, no matter what brand you eat, they are very salty. So when I had the chance to try these fab little niblets of savoury yumminess, I knew this could be a game changer. Each has a very different flavour profile, I taste tested peking duck, smoked sea salt and Kampot pepper, and also habanero chilli and lemongrass flavours.
The peking duck is the most complex as when you first pop that chunk of duck crackling in your mouth, the first flavour you get is not peking duck, it just tastes like roasted duck and then all of a sudden BOOM, peking seasoning kicks in. Try making a chicken salad wrap, with hoi sin sauce dressing and the peking duck crackling crunched up over the top. A quick lunch that is full of flavour and texture!
The smoked sea salt and Kampot pepper flavour is amazing and probably my favourite. The seasoning balance is outstanding and it doesn’t leave you gasping for a drink due to salt overload. I have to admit, I could eat these every day 😉
The habanero chilli and lemongrass flavour reminds me of a Thai red curry. Beautifully spiced with a little kick. Great with a cold beer!
Clearspring organic brown rice and red lentil chips are slightly thinner and crunchier than the previous brown rice chips with buckwheat and chia and do have a little more flavour. Gluten free for all my fellow coeliac’s out there too! They made perfect scoops for dipping into tomato soup, I found 😉
Lentil chips are the theme it would seem but this time we have Eat Real lentil chips. Now, if like me you were a child in the 1980’s you may remember a crisp brand called ‘Snaps’ – these reminded me of those. The shape, the colour and the texture. They are lightly salted, sugar free, gluten free and vegan, perfect for dipping into hummus and olive oil!
We have already established that I adore seaweed, and I really feel it is an under rated ingredient and food source, so just had to add these in right?
Clearspring Seaveg Crispies are thin, almost stain glass window like, green dried seaweed snacks. I have tried all the flavours but for this article I choose my two favourite, the original and black pepper. The original brings out the very best in the natural seaweed taste and the black pepper adds a little heat. High in fibre, gluten free, vegan and even better… net carb free. Yes you read that right….. NET CARB FREE!
And our last, but certainly not least, offering in our crisp alternative journey are sour cream and chive flavoured hummus chips from Eat Real.
These chips have a gorgeous little cavity and shaped almost like large orecchiette pasta. The flavour is sublime as is the texture but what I also found is that this cavity is perfect for chunky dips and dunks such as chunky salsa, homemade slaw or even BBQ pulled pork (sorry vegans!).
Just like the rest of the Eat Real range they are gluten free and vegan, so perfect for snacking on the go or as a heartier snack with various toppings.
So there you go… next time you get that crisp hankering, why not try something new? Get your tongue tingling and your taste buds tantalised, because crisps don’t have to be boring! Enjoy!