Tayto crisps are a staple of the Irish diet, for better or worse. A savoury snack synonymous with white bread crisp sambos, a treat in the school lunch box or a classic pairing with a bottle of fizzy cola on a Sunday afternoon in the pub with your parents as a child.
The latter coupling is something the crisp producer has taken literally and created their latest limited edition flavour: Tayto Fizzy Cola. The company are no strangers to unusual flavours in recent years. Doubtless readers will remember their milk chocolate bar with cheese and onion crisp chunks embedded in it or even the spice bag flavour. Or perhaps the worst offender to date — bacon and cabbage.
Now, the flavour of a Sunday afternoon pub visit are together at last in one packet. Some of our journalists put their taste buds on the line in the name of journalism.
Cliff: I’m a traditionalist with my cheese and onion. As soon as I opened the pack I could smell cola. Then the taste added a weird slightly lemony fizz. Yeuch. If it ain’t broke, Tayto, don’t try to fix it.
Glen: The initial bite is pleasant enough — sharp but sweet. It’s downhill from there however, as a strong sour taste kicks in. It kicks in with a harsh sting and a rough aftertaste. The combo works perfectly when administered separately but not one that sits well together on a baked slice of potato. Why introduce overpowering tangy, sour and sweet in to what’s usually savoury territory? Decent idea, not very well executed.
Alanna: Fair play to Tayto for giving this consumer-led suggestion a go. On paper Tayto Fizzy Cola crisps seem like a great idea, a riff on the crisp bag customisation that fans have been playing with for years. Most of a certain generation have broken up squares of Cadbury milk chocolate into a bag of Tayto cheese and onion at least once, and fizzy cola sweets were another to-try option. When done at factory level the unami mash-up falls short. While the chip company has nailed the fragrance of fizzy cola the taste is all cola with little of the crisp’s signature super strong taste. It’s unlikely to replace the classic, an Irish picnic staple, when sandwiched between the thickly buttered slices of white bread.
Conor: I open the packet, draw a single small potato snack from the bag, and place it in my mouth. A strange sensation creeps across the tongue, which dials in to the brain, which wastes no time in activating the gag reflex. As I force myself to eat a few more in the interests of science and journalism, I find myself imagining the company meeting that led to the creation of this new Tayto flavour … crafting a message, designing new packaging, fretting over when to release … without anyone properly tasting the product. If they had they might have concluded that, while fizzy cola jellies are nice, and Tayto crisps are nice, they do not belong together. Our national vegetable has been defiled.