Sea Salt & Chardonnay Wine Vinegar

Some Co-Op 'Irresistable' Sea Salt & Chardonnay Wine Vinegar crisps in a ceramic container and a part-consumed bag of the same.

I am in full agreement with the many enthusiasts who rate the ‘Irresistible’ Sea Salt & Chardonnay Wine Vinegar crisps sold at Co-Op as one of the pinnacles of British snack manufacture. Perhaps I wouldn’t go quite as far as the expert author behind the British Crisps blog, who reckons them “not for the lighthearted, but for the more hedonistic crisp aficionados,” adding that “It’s unlikely you would want these on a daily basis, thanks to their consciousness-altering ferocity, but as an occasional reminder of what life can be like, these are perfect.” Hyperbole, perhaps, but they are genuinely very good.

As the packaging rather redundantly states, they are made “With a sea salt and Chardonnay white wine vinegar seasoning”: a simple and savoury combination, which, crucially, is freely enough applied to threaten tongue damage, lending the crisps a highly satisfying salt-and-sour punch. As is commonplace, similar variations on the same theme are sold by competing supermarkets, quite possibly even originating in the same factory–yet none are quite the same. The next best, to my taste, are the Aldi equivalents, which are good enough to be an acceptable alternative at a pinch.