The Daily Spud

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Tag: O’Donnells Crisps

Spud Sunday: A Potato By Any Other Name

I would hazard a guess – for those in Ireland and the UK at any rate – that there’s hardly a man, woman or child who has not, at some time, been touched by the life’s work of one John Clarke. Certainly, if you’ve ever savoured a bag of fat, golden, creamy-on-the-inside, vinegared-on-the-outside chip-shop chips, what you’ve eaten owes a certain debt to this unassuming man of Antrim.

To say that Mr. Clarke (1889-1980) was a potato breeder of note is somewhat of a understatement. Though he left school at the age of 12 and had no formal scientific or horticultural training, he was responsible for the development of 33 certified varieties of potato, most of which bear the prefix Ulster, and some of which were subsequently cross-bred to produce varieties very familiar to us: Maris Piper, long the potato of choice for the chipper, is a second generation (or F2) descendant of a John Clarke variety, Ulster Knight, and most of you will have eaten Maris Pipers, even if, at the time, their name was a mite less important than their role as a welcome source of soakage.

John Clarke, Potato Wizard

John Clarke, Potato Wizard by Maurice McHenry

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Spud Sunday: Young O’Donnell Had A Farm…

…and on that farm he grew some spuds, e-i-e-i-o.

More to the point, though, is what young Ed O’Donnell did with those potatoes. With a crunch, crunch here and a crunch, crunch there, he made crisps – and some really rather fine kettle-cooked crisps at that – a fact which I have verified by means of some, eh, selfless personal testing.

Fuelled by no small amount of determination – and featuring crisps flavoured using locally sourced ingredients, like Mt. Callan cheddar from Co. Clare and cider vinegar from Con Traas’ nearby apple farm in Co. Tipperary – O’Donnells Crisps have, since their launch in 2010, achieved an impressive level of distribution here in Ireland. You’ll find them, among other places, in SuperValu, Centra, Londis, Dunnes Stores, Superquinn and Tesco and also in Selfridges in the UK – so it’s here a crunch, there a crunch, and, really, everywhere a crunch, crunch for O’Donnells these days.

O'Donnells crisps and santa hat

And now for the best part...

The other place where you might find the crunch of an O’Donnells crisp this Christmas is in a box, delivered to your door. I have 5 such boxes to give away, and I will be resisting the temptation to eat them myself, so that I can, instead, bestow them, Santa-like, upon 5 lucky Daily Spud readers. Each will contain 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in the readers’ flavour of choice – either mature Irish cheese and red onion, Irish cider vinegar and sea salt, or their more recently added sweet chilli flavour. Full details below.

Getting straight to the crunch:

If you fancy getting your Christmas mitts on a box of O’Donnells crunchiness, leave a comment below and let me know, flavourwise, whether you’re a cheese ‘n’ onion, salt ‘n’ vinegar or sweet chilli type of eater (or simply whether you’re salty, sweet or cheesy). Feel free, also, to speculate about the two new flavours that O’Donnells are bringing out in the new year – so secret that even I don’t know what they are yet.

I’ll pick 5 winners, and each will receive their Christmas crisp fix in the form of a box containing 20 packets of O’Donnells crisps in their chosen flavour. In a bit of good news for those living across the water, O’Donnells will deliver the prizes, not just to addresses in Ireland (either North or South), but to addresses in the U.K. as well.

I’ll leave this open until midnight GMT next Sunday, December 9th, and notify the winners of their incoming bounty of crisps thereafter.

Update 15/12/12: and so the winners have been chosen and O’Donnells crisps are winging their way to Keith Bohanna, Sara Wilson, Gareth Saunders, Imelda Kinsella and Lauren Bicocchi. Congratulations all and happy Christmas munching!

Spud Sunday: Cut And Dried

Oven dried potato crisps

My new favourite potato thing: oven-dried crisps

Fond though I am of a proper bag of crisps, I don’t mind telling you that I am more than a little excited by these.

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