Flavour the Market Deli Way

If you're a writer you're gonna love a man who secretly shows you his notebook. If that notebook is brimming with information about flavour arcs, the provenance of fresh ingredients and food's emotional journey then a 'hungry writer' starts to sigh in a manner that causes the people around her to step a little further away! Here's the notebook in question:


And here's the man responsible: the one on the left, Ben of Walkers, the British snack food manufacturers. Although the man on the right, celebrated British chef Tom Aikens, did a pretty good food seduction job too with his exquisite, cook-off dishes of a re-visioned mac 'n' cheese and a zingy gazpacho.

This was the launch of Walkers' new upmarket premium snack range, Market Deli, at Natural Kitchen in Fetter Lane, London a few days ago where taste buds sang and the perfectly partnered wines shimmied along quite willingly too.

I don't think I've ever bought Walkers crisps: they make me think of kids (I don't have them) and football (I'm only a fan around World Cup time... and then, inevitably, not for long!) But their new Market Deli range is 'canap├ęs' rather than 'kids', sophisticated 'fun' rather than 'football' and, after nibbling my way through eight different flavours and varieties I can categorically say, an innovatively exciting competitor for Mr and Mrs Kettle and Tyrell. 

My biggest surprise was the Wiltshire Cured Ham, Mature Cheddar and Farmhouse Chutney potato chip: all my disturbing taste memories of 1960s' Smokey Bacon Crisps disappeared in a single crunch! 

Potato chip, tortilla chips and pitta chips made with Cornish cheddar, Modena balsamic vinegar, English tomato, Spanish chorizo, Mediterranean herbs: Market Deli's ingredient list is a geographical taste extravaganza. If you don't find something you love among this lot then you're the foodie equivalent of the wife who said, after her husband had booked them on a world cruise, 'I want to go somewhere else!'

I grazed through the evening with a damn good glass (that never seemed to empty) of Sancerre in my hand. And when I finally had to leave the glass was replaced with a goodie bag which included my Wiltshire Ham favourite. 

'I could eat some more of them,' my husband said, slipping the last delicious hammy crisp into his mouth just 5 minutes after I walked through the door. I hid the Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onions bag at the back of the kitchen cupboard.