Aug 28 2023

Crunchy Innovation: Potato Chips with Unique Flavors

Creativity in a bag: among the main producers, there are groundbreaking tapas flavors and premium products as fried egg or pimentón de la Vera

Potato chips are, without a doubt, the most popular snack in the world. In Spain, there is a long tradition associated with two points of sale. On the one hand, the shops with deep fryers where churros are made also handmade make potato chips, which can be bought in bulk. There is also a wide variety of brands, some of which are local or regional, while others are sold nationally and even internationally.

The quality of potato chips made in Spain is indisputable and it's attributable to the high-quality raw materials. Potatoes from the province of Soria (Castile-León) are very prestigious and there are two Protected Geographical Indications: Patatas de Galicia and Patatas de Prades (in the province of Tarragona, Catalonia).

In recent times, in addition to traditional salted potato chips, new flavors have appeared that go beyond the classics (cheese and onion, ham), but which connect the origin of the brand much more clearly to a series of flavors seen in Spanish gastronomy.

Tapas in one bite

One of the brands leading the change is Patatas Torres. The family-run company, which was founded in 1969 and has a factory in Montmeló (Barcelona), has launched a line of flavors based on some of Spanish gastronomy's most representative small dishes: Torres Tapas. Among the company's creations are fried egg flavors, a classic in Spanish tapas, present in dishes such as huevos estrellados (fried eggs with ham), for example. The recipe contains no eggs, just natural flavors that perfectly capture the authentic flavor and aroma of fried eggs. It received the Superior Taste Award (Brussels) and the Great Taste Award (United Kingdom). According to the latter award, "The fried egg flavor is authentic, and adds another dimension to the potato chips." Torres Tapas Vinegar Flavoured Potato Chips also received the Superior Taste Award. Other Spanish chips awarded with the Superior Taste Award include Bonilla a la Vista (Galicia) and Papas Argente (Valencia). Both are salt-flavored handmade quality chips.

Another reference from Torres Tapas is their vinegar flavored potato chips that received the Superior Taste Award maximum score for its flavor, appearance, texture, and smell. According to Torres, the objective is to "convey those nuances and vinegar flavors present in many classic Spanish tapas. The quality of the potato, the intensity of flavor in the mouth, and the smell make Torres Tapas Vinagre one of the brands that best reproduces this characteristic and well-known flavor in the sector."

But before entering the world of tapas, Patatas Torres had already included other attention-grabbing flavors in its product line. In addition to Ibérico ham potato chips, there are other flavored like sparkling wine, spicy pimentón de la Vera, black truffle, and Mediterranean herbs.

Chef José Andrés’ favourites

But it's not only Patatas Torres that's pushing the limits of what we know as flavored potato chips. San Nicasio, a brand from Córdoba (Andalusia) that makes potato chips for chef José Andrés' own brand, also likes to innovate when it comes to flavors. Their initial formula only includes potato chips, extra virgin olive oil, and pink Himalayan salt. They also make chips with pimentón de la Vera and truffle flavors. They always maintain their crunchy texture and intense flavor.

But there's more: Rubio, a company located in Murcia, is another of those leading brands that never ceases to experiment in its search for new sensations for fans of this ever-changing snack. Its varieties include black truffle, jamón ibérico, caviar, and wasabi. These are all exported to different countries outside Spain and demonstrate the sector's commitment to ongoing innovation. Another example is Totas, from Tosfrit group, which has launched potato chip flavors such as fuet, boquerones en vinagre (pickled anchovies), and roast chicken. Perhaps the greatest example of the boom in local potato chip flavors is Valencian company Gurma. In this case, they surprise consumers with paella-flavored chips. There is no limit to the creation of new flavors. Could the next ones pay homage to fabada (Asturian bean stew) or Madrid-style cocido (chickpea and meat stew)? Anything is possible!