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Welsh rarebit joins kangaroo and haggis in a crisp packet
by Sally Williams - 30/03/2010
"A DISH that has been synonymous with Wales for the past 200 years is about to reach a wider audience – as a new flavour of crisps."
Welsh rarebit will become the latest exotic flavour of the popular potato-based snack when it hits the shops today.
The dish, traditionally made from melted cheese, eggs, brown ale and a dash of hot sauce over toasted bread, follows in the gourmet footsteps of cajun squirrel flavour and the Welsh-made Hedgehog brand, by being reproduced as a bag of crisps.
Made by Walkers, Welsh rarebit flavour is one of 15 new “international” tastes – along with the likes of English roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, French garlic baguette and Japanese teriyaki chicken – being introduced ahead of this year’s football World Cup.
As part of a marketing ploy, the flavours will then battle it out to find the most popular new flavour, which will be crowned Walkers flavour champion.
Ian Ellington, general manager of the snack giant, said: “Each tasty new variety is inspired by a delicious national dish of a different country around the world and we want to see crisp-fans united in their love of their favourite of the 15 flavours, whether its Dutch edam cheese flavour, Brazilian salsa, or Argentinean, flame-grilled steak.”
Food critic Colin Pressdee thinks Welsh rarebit will be a fine contender and a welcome alternative to the plain old cheese and onion flavour.
“There is far more to Welsh rarebit than grilled cheese on toast,” he said.
“The key to the flavour’s success as a crisp, will be getting a farmyard cheese, that will mix with the sweetness of the beer and the sharpness of the hot mustard sauce.
“And they will need to capture the tangy flavour of the grilled cheese too.
“I like the sound of the flavour. Another Welsh-themed crisp of course is Anglesey sea salt’s sunset crisp, also by Walkers.”
North Wales cook Natalie Nield-Siddall, recently gave the national dish, Welsh rarebit a 21st century twist by bringing a blend of her family’s and in-laws’ time-honoured recipes to a wider audience.
Calling it Natty’s Welsh Rarebit, she popped the topping into a pot and the tubs are on sale at the flagship Harvey Nichols store in Knightsbridge, London.
The crisps industry in Britain alone is now worth at least £900m a year, with Britons chomping their way through an estimated 40 million bags of crisps and snacks every day.
Face of Walkers Gary Lineker said: “At the end of the day it’s all down to the fans, so there’s everything to play for when the crisps go on sale today.”
The move marks the latest introduction of a diverse range of crisp flavours into a market where a bag of salt seasoning was once seen as a major innovation.
Invented by American chef George Crum in Saratoga Springs in 1853, crisps in recent decades were associated with just a handful of top flavours such as salt and vinegar, prawn cocktail, cheese and onion and ready salted.
But in 1984 Phil Lewis from Welshpool in Mid Wales sent waves through the fried potato industry when he concocted “hedgehog” crisps, much to the interest of animal lovers, trading standards officers and those who all thought it was a late April Fools’ Day joke.
Mr Lewis set up Bensons Crisps of Newport, which made the product carrying the affectionate slogan: “Please don’t squash me.”
A special promotion also promised to make a donation to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on the receipt of 20 pack tokens.
Bizarrely, the flavouring attracted opposition from animal lovers who believed real hedgehogs were being used, instead of hedgerow herbs and hog fat.
But it paved the way for a new generation of crisp that has emerged in recent years, including Cajun squirrel, chilli and chocolate, fish and chips, onion bhaji and builder’s breakfast.
More Details: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/03/29/welsh-rarebit-joins-kangaroo-and-haggis-in-a-crisp-packet-91466-26127957/