Sunday, 5 October 2014

Veronica’s Gluten Free Baked Crisps: A Review

I was recently sent some gluten free baked crisps by an entirely gluten free brand called Veronica’s. All their crisps are gluten free, and come in a range of interesting flavours. No plain or salt & vinegar standard flavours here. I was really pleased about this as it’s always nice to discover brands offering more exciting flavour combos that are suitable for those of us on a gluten free diet. ‘Normal’ crisps often have the flavours combined with wheat flour, so I’m often left with a limited range I can choose from. Not that ‘normal’ people wouldn’t happily devour bags of these crisps too. They are also 60% lower in fat than regular crisps, mostly because they are baked rather than fried and they also claim to be lower in salt. Bonus. I was sent three big sharing bags and one smaller bag aimed at children.

Baked Potato Sour Cream, Herb & Onion Crisps
I was initially surprised when opening the bag to find perfectly uniform shaped crinkle crisps. I was expected slices of actual potato but they turned out to be reformed potato flakes with corn rather than potato slices. After the initial surprise I suppose this makes sense as this is how they are able to make them lighter and ‘healthier’ than normal crisps. They crisps were very light in both weight and texture. Crisp and almost airy in texture, and when bitten into you could see all the tiny air bubbles inside. I liked how you could see the specks of herbs. Thicker than a normal crisp but much lighter. A cross between a crisp and those corn crispbreads you see in the cracker aisle. They had a very clean aroma, nothing artificial smelling. You could really taste the sour cream flavour with just a subtle hint of onion giving a garlicky flavour. I liked the ridged shape and this also added texture.

Baked Potato Barbeque Crisps
These had a lovely smoky BBQ aroma on opening the bag. They were quite a bright orange-red colour which turned out to be from paprika. This gave them a subtle sweetness and great smoky earthy flavour. Again they were nicely light and crisp with the characteristic ridges. The aroma was stronger than the actual taste of paprika. It was quite subtle at first although did build up as you ate. The flavour lingered nicely after eating them too, giving a wonderful smoky woodsy paprika flavour. There was also a hint of onion. I’m not sure it was quite BBQ, I think smoked paprika might have been a better name, but very tasty all the same. Of the two baked potato crisps, this was the flavour I kept going back to.

Baked Veggie Crisps – Roast Tomato & Spanish Paprika
These were a mix of potato flakes combined with carrot, beetroot, broccoli and spinach in a tomato, garlic and paprika seasoning. Another paprika offering, this time with veggies. I was expecting either slices of the actual vegetable or shaped crisps combining all of the veggie ingredients in one, but I was again surprised, in a good way, on opening the bag to find there were 3 different shades of crinkle crisps within the bag. I think there was a carrot one, a beetroot one and broccoli & spinach all on a potato base. I liked how you got a range of veggie flavours within the same bag, rather than them all being mingled into one crisp. It made them much more fun to eat, as well as looking quite attractive. It was a sort of crisp lucky dip.
The plainer looking one I suspect was carrot; it had a subtle sweetness and a slight smokiness form the paprika seasoning. The darker orange one I think was beetroot. This too was faintly sweet with a lingering flavour that reminded me of something I couldn’t quite remember. The mild green hued one was my favourite. It had a definite broccoli ‘green’ flavour to it. I was surprised, and loved, how strongly the flavour came through. It was subtle, but you could definitely detect a hint of green about it. I suspect this one had the spinach mixed in too, which probably helped the green element.
I loved the mix of flavours but did find the crisps to be a little too salty for me. I know they are crisps but I only ate a few and did go hunting for water afterwards.

Crunchy Creatures – Cheese
Unlike the other bags this one was a single serve bag and definitely aimed at children with its bright yellow packet and fun bubble writing. The pack had a cartoon dinosaur on the front and I was delighted to open the bag and find the corn puffs were all dinosaur shaped too. Not just cut outs either, but whole puffed almost 3D dinosaurs and all of them where whole – no broken limbs or crumbled away tails to be seen. I was impressed.
The bag had a pleasant cheese aroma and a mix of light and well coated cheesy powdered dino’s. I found the flavour to be almost that of a toned down wotsit (those cheesy brightly orange coloured puffed corn snacks). Not too strongly flavoured with a lovely crisp initial bite and texture that somehow seemed to dissolved, soften and disappeared within seconds of biting, almost like magic. Bite, huge crunch and then poof…gone. I can imagine little children loving these, and what a fun shape! My only gripe with these was that again I found them overly salty. I was also surprised to find they had the same salt level as all the other crisps. I would have expected crisps directly aimed at children to have a much lower salt level compared to the adult orientated ones.

Overall I enjoyed all the crisps. It was nice to see some different, interesting flavours being offered to the gluten free market. I found them all to be a little too salty for my tastes, despite the packs saying they are lower in salt than regular crisps. I feel the children’s ones in particular could do with being less salty. I don’t think it would affect the quality. Despite the saltiness, I enjoyed the smoky BBQ flavour and loved the veggie ones. So unique both in flavour and texture, I’d buy the veggie ones again. I was also impressed that practically all of the crisps were intact, despite being sent through the post. They have got the balance of lightness, crispness and texture just right. It’s great to see some more tasty and original gluten free choices enter the gluten free market.

After tasting them myself I then took the bags into work to see what my colleagues thought. All the crisps disappeared very quickly, but the veggie ones, were the ones that disappeared first.

Note: I was sent the samples for free, but all the opinions expressed here are my own.


The Caked Crusader said...

I am 40 years old and I need those dinosaur crisps. At what age do you think adulthood might hit me?

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I think the veggie ones would be my favourite too. They are a very 'synthetic ' shape...... I'm sure they taste good though.

Katie said...

Hi Caked Crusader,
I think the dino crisps are suitable for young at heart adults too :)