Sunday, 30 May 2010

The World Cup of Crisps

Walkers, to coincide with the 2010 World Cup, have released 15 new flavours, asking eaters to buy them, supporting their favourite and potentially winning ‘a packet’ in the process. It’s a mix of national pride for the eater along with the curiosity of trying new flavour and in the Walkers Flavour Cup, the flavours are going ‘bag to bag’ to find the Walkers Flavour Champion. Obviously I wasn’t content with just hearing what the winner was, I wanted to find out for myself, so I bought the packets, opened a beer (Marble Manchester Bitter, of course) and had my own little tournament.

There are 15 flavours but three of them I haven’t seen: Scottish Haggis, Welsh Rarebit and Irish Stew. As those nations/teams aren’t actually in the World Cup, it probably doesn’t matter too much, but it did leave the problem of having 12 flavours to format into a competition. To combat this I started with a group stage (three flavours in each group, one goes out, the other two are placed first and second) then to a usual quarter/semi/final (the winner group 1 plays runner-up group 2, winner group 2 plays runner-up group 1...). I picked the groups blind and randomly.

Group 1
German Bratwurst
Japanese Teriyaki
Italian Spaghetti Bolognese

Group 2
American Cheeseburger
French Garlic Baguette
Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak

Group 3
English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Dutch Edam Cheese
Spanish Chicken Paella

Group 4
Brazilian Salsa
Australian BBQ Kangaroo
South African Sweet Chutney

Group 1: German Bratwurst tastes like sausage and is actually pretty good; Japanese Teriyaki is sweet and peppery and a good flavour; Italian Spaghetti Bolognese was a bit boring and just a little herby. German Bratwurst tops the group, Japanese Teriyaki is second, Italian Spaghetti Bolognese goes in the bin.

Group 2: American Cheeseburger is literally like eating a McDonalds cheeseburger in potato chip form, it’s a little smoky, there’s cheese, mustard and gherkins and it’s actually brilliant; French Garlic Baguette is a little garlicy and a little parsley, but ultimately weak; Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak is steaky and flamey, exactly what it should be. American Cheeseburger is number one, Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak is in second, the French drop out.

Group 3: English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding is a little beefy and a little of something else which is possibly the Yorkshire pudding, sadly a little disappointing, maybe some horseradish was needed in the end; Dutch Edam Cheese tastes a lot like cheese; Spanish Chicken Paella tastes like nutty rice, paprika, pepper and peas and is actually reminiscent of a real paella. England leave the tournament early (through gritted patriotic teeth) then it’s Spain in first and the Dutch in second.

Group 4: Brazilian Salsa is sweet and herby; Australian BBQ Kangaroo tastes like BBQ and unknown meat; South African Sweet Chutney is both sweeter and spicier than the Brazilian salsa and just a bit tastier. Brazilian Salsa goes one, Australian BBQ Kangaroo wins, South African Chutney is second.

Quarter Final 1: German Bratwurst vs Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak
Close game, tough battle but ultimately the bigger power of the Germans beats the slow-build quality of the fiery Argentineans.

Quarter Final 2: Japanese Teriyaki vs American Cheeseburger
Another tough battle and the Japanese were strong but the American just tastes too much like an actual Cheeseburger to drop out; America go through.

Quarter Final 3: Dutch Edam Cheese vs South African Sweet Chutney
The Dutch stand out like their orange shirted equivalents, beating the spicy South Africans.

Quarter Final 4: Spanish Chicken Paella vs Australian BBQ Kangaroo
Actual classy paella flavour versus the burnt meat brashness of the Aussies; Spain go through.

Semi Final 1: German Bratwurst vs American Cheeseburger
Sausage plays burger in one of the ultimate food battles. The presence of mustard and gherkins in the burger sees them comfortably into the final.

Semi Final 2: Dutch Edam Cheese vs Spanish Chicken Paella
Long, hard-fought battle; Spain authentic and excellent from the beginning but the Dutch grow stronger as they progress. We had a penalty shoot-out (meaning Lauren stepped in to try them and choose the winner) and Spain make the final.

Final:  American Cheeseburger vs Spanish Chicken Paella
The big one and the two flavours which tasted the most authentic got to play each other. The fun, enjoyable quality of the burger powers past the paella and they are my Flavour Champion.

So American Cheeseburger wins for me purely because it tastes so much like a burger and I have a lot of respect for anyone who can make something else taste like a cheeseburger. Some of the packets were surprisingly good and some were just a bit rubbish, but the overall competition is good fun and it’s made my crisp eating a little more interesting. Now I guess I just need to find a relevant beer for each pack of crisps... 

If you've had any of these then what do you think of the flavours? What’s your Flavour Champion? 


  1. Damn! That looks like a lot of work. Can't understand how Edam made it so far though! Everything else sounds great. You just can't get decent flavoured crisps in Germany...

  2. Very nice!

    Good ole USA wins because of its McDonald like Cheeseburger. I think that is hilarious.

    Great idea here. Sounds like you had fun doing it. I think its pretty creative and I appreciate what you put into it. I'd love to get my hands on the Japanese crisps. They sound yummy!


    Mike's Brew Review

  3. Mark... Your losing the plot. Walkers crisps are just wank (think about it, half the weight of the bag is just air). If it was kettle chips or at least seabrook then yeah. But like every fan of every metal (or non metal) band, you always have one song you don't like as much. On in this case one blog post you don't like as much. Tell us about the beer I say. But by the way, in the next few months I may be visiting Kent. So if agreed the chance may come for us to meet up for a few beers if possible?

  4. I salute you for dedication to duty :-)

    I've tried a few of these - I agree the American Cheeseburger was good, and quite liked the Dutch Edam too.

    And, by definition, how can half the weight of a bag (as opposed to half the volume) be air?

  5. Well done. You have booked a special place in Hell but very well done.

  6. I can confirm the English entry is crap - very eggy with notes of undercooked silverside. Tastes exactly like the Builders' Breakfast thing they did last year. In fact, tastes like the cans of builders' breakfast you get in Tesco's.

    It's that tosser John Terry's fault...

    I mean to try more of these, though closer to the tournament. Good job, Dredgie. We need Cookie to come up with a generic lout to wash it all down ;-)

  7. Barry, the Edam crisps don't taste much like Edam but they are tasty nonetheless!

    Mike, I think the Cheeseburger ones are great and the Teriyaki flavour were surprisingly good too.

    Rob, it's just a bit of fun, it's not a competition of the best crisps in the world, it's just seeing how all the Walkers World Cup crisps are. To be honest, I don't really like Walkers crisps too much and I felt pretty rough for a few hours after eating them. The best crisps ever are Walkers though: salt and vinegar Squares.

    And just let me know when you are in Kent and I'll be there!

    Curmudgeon, someone had to do it!

    Alan, I tried a few packs of crisps, is that not a little extreme?!

    Sid, I very nearly bought a 4-pack of Carlsberg to go with them but thought better of it!

  8. Haha, so amazing! While congrats on the US, all the best for the Team Japan... in four years :)

  9. You didn't miss much by not having the Irish Stew one.
    To recreate the flavour you can just eat a packet of plain crisps in the same room as an open tin of Bisto granules.

  10. Send some over to Sweden! I love Walkers crisps.

  11. I admire your chutzpah, but this is a fun, very british campaign amongst all the usual 'let's stick a football on it whatever the product' toss that's out there now. and as for the Bratwurst flavour - crisps...flavoured like bratwurst...surely that's one of the greatest beer snacks ever? only pork-scratching flavoured nuts could possibly compete.

  12. @Leigh: Zeitgeist, the German pub in London, was selling 'em behind the bar, so they can't be too offensive to the knowledgeable palate.

    I tried some today, and found a little 'spicy tomato'ish among the sausage, but very munchable.

    And I can see what Dredgie means about the cheeseburger flavour. Quite unsettling.

  13. Im surprised they have attempted this again,The last range of "limited edition" flavours resulted in the winning "Builders Breakfast" crisps.We bought a box to sell in the pub,when the packet was opened they smelled of sulfur.frankly I would rather have eaten the builder instead.Needless to say few packets were sold.Walkers seem to forget that the British are a nation of traditionalists..its hard going getting anyone to deviate from the obligatory Cheese n' onion....

  14. Yes but Smokey Bacon is best and in England is all too rare. Not so in Scotland for some reason.

    PS. Is it "smoky" or "smokey?"

  15. These went down a storm at cricket teas yesterday, the opposition's requisite Aussie player was in raptures about the Kangaroo flavour crisps, sadly that didn't stop her trying to break my fingers when they were in to bat!!!

  16. @Melissa: In your professional opinion, would you say the Kangaroo crisps were hoppy? ;-)


    Salsa is fuck all to do with Brazil. Wrong language, wrong music, wrong fucking continent.

    I have written a strongly-worded letter of complaint.

    I am expecting a large box of crisps in compensation for the trauma I am experiencing on behalf of the 190 million people of Brazil who Walkers have patromised and insulted with their ignorance.

  18. Not tried them, but I'm getting the impression that the Edam failed because of the classic flaw with many cheese flavoured crisps. That is, they don't taste of the cheese they are named after. However, based on PC's comment, I will give them a try out.

    TM: It's "Smoky" and not everyone shares your love of them

  19. Well Golden Wonder doesn't agree. I covered this some time ago: