food & drink

Crispiness is king

Of all food textures crispiness is king. Whether pork crackling or fried chicken, the first bite must resound in the mouth before reaching the taste buds.

Potato crisps, pork scratchings, tortillitas de camarones (fried shrimp pancakes), spring rolls, fritto misto, churros or crispy croquettes, all appeal to young and old alike, starting very early in life with crunchy breakfast cereals.

Extensive investigation and research is aimed at making food crispy, and entire laboratories are dedicated to getting the maximum zing.

Every countries' cuisine, whether Chinese, Indian, British, North American, Spanish, German or Polish has its version. (English fish and chips should be a model of crunchiness, but soggy chips often spoil the dish.)

As a source material potatoes come out on top, and although this week saw the introduction in Spain of a Japanese favourite, crispy fish skin; and healthy options like carrot and beetroot crisps are available, they never come anywhere near potato crisps on the sales charts.

We have all noticed food is getting crispier. Restaurant menus use the word 'kristal', associating a brittle sound and taste with walking on broken glass, and we can buy kristal picos (extra crunchy breadsticks).

The best overall example is the 'kettle chip'. Unlike flash-fried regular crisps, these are fried for a longer periods (in huge 'kettles') to guarantee added crunch, and their premium price is the result of more sophisticated factory frying machines.

Developed in Norfolk (USA) in 1978, production started in the UK in 1987, and they are now exported everywhere. Conclusion: make a crunchy tidbit and the world will make a beaten path to your door.