Gourmet crisps from Spanish company, San NicasioNot even its most enthusiastic fan could argue that there is anything particularly stylish about the potato crisp – or chip, as it is known in various countries including the USA. Early on, manufacturers developed different flavours that could be added to these potato slivers and they have been regularly launching new ones ever since, though most of these have proved not to be nearly as popular as the original holy trinity of ready salted, picante and cheese & onion.

It has been said that much can be ascertained about a country’s personality from the type of crisp they favour. Germany’s snack market is dominated by the formidably popular paprika flavoured crisp (visit a German supermarket and it is difficult to find anything else). Spain’s culinary heritage is reflected in the dominance of serrano ham and ailoli flavours; so far, so entirely predictable.

Its ubiquity is unquestioned yet, lacking the Gallic je ne sais quoi of the vol-au-vent or the gastronomic authenticity of the impeccably sourced goat’s cheese crostini, the crisp has yet to be an accepted part of the sophisticated cocktail party platter. However a new crisp, manufactured in  Priego de Córdoba, Spain, looks set to elevate the humble crisp to hitherto heights of foodie fashion.

San Nicasio Patatas Fritas are being marketed as the Rolls Royce of crisps. The company was set up in 1999 by Rafael del Rosal Lopez and his wife Carmen Osuna, who have chosen to aim their high quality crisps at the luxury end of the market. Plans are afoot to place the product with high-end stores in the UK such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

San Nicasio crisps made with virgin olive oilPrepared with the use of extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan pink salt, the San Nicasio crisps have already been awarded two International Gold Medals by the Brussels World Selection of Quality (Monde Selection Bruxelles). Since this competition attracts more than 2,000 applicants annually, the delight of Rafael and Rosa at winning two gold medals can only be imagined.

Kiti Soinien, Mintel‘s Senior Food and Drink Analyst said: “The recession saw a clear increase in the tendency to treat oneself to less healthy foods, with a shift from the boom mode of self-improvement through healthy eating towards comfort food. In many ways, crisps are seen as the perfect little treat for these times.”

Expect to see a platter of San Nicasio Patatas Fritas at a sophisticated party near you soon.