The world is full of interesting and bold potato chip flavours that are hard to come by outside their home country. Here are some of France’s most popular potato chips, unique to France’s fine dining palette. Many of which are reminiscent of French cuisine.
Ever since the French snack company Vico introduced potato chips to France in the mid-’80s, they’ve become extremely popular.
According to Market research, France purchased about 522 Million Euros (600 Million USD) worth of chips in 2018, which has increased by about 6 percent each year.
I’m not a big fan of potato chips; however, I’m always intrigued by the variety of potato chip flavours available in local grocery stores when I travel to other countries.
Some have instant appeal and beg to be tried like Russian caviar flavoured chips.
While other flavours sound exotic compared to sour cream and onion-like Miang Kum chips from Thailand which were created to taste like the popular sour and spicy Thai dish they were named after (toasted coconut, peanuts, shallots, ginger, lime and ginger).
I know I’m not alone in this bizarre fascination. I think it’s partly due to the fact that chip companies attempt to make flavours that mimick local cuisine and give them names that remind us of those dishes or a particular food item popular in that country.
It makes you wonder, can chips really taste like caviar, lobster,
Unusual And Popular French Chips Found In France
Even in France, where l’apéro is such a big part of life and a ritual to be savoured, chips somehow make it to the party. No wonder chips have only grown in popularity in France. These salty and savoury treats are a convenient snack to serve guests alongside cheese and olives.
L’apèro:A French cultural ritual: Typically a non-formal gathering before dinner to have drinks (usually alcoholic beverages) and various finger foods such as chips, olives, and tapenade.
Printable: popular potato chip poster/wall art
Before we dive into the popular chips in France, be sure to download my printable popular potato chip poster below. Print it out at home, or blow it up to poster size if you like. Just click on the image below.
Brets: Popular Chips
SLOGAN: Le Chipsier Français (The french chip maker)
Bret’s, a French chip company founded in 1991 in Brittany, accounts for one-third of France’s chip market produces over 20 tonnes of chips annually with innovative flavourings specifically tailored to the French market.
Camembert potato chips
Out of all the French chips found in France,
Marine flavoured chips (oyster and the sea)
If you don’t like tasting the sea or hate
“C’est pas la mer à boire… MANGEZ-lA!”. Literally, It’s not the sea to drink…EAT IT, but idiomatically this French expression means: It’s not that big a deal, eat them.
I love this expression because when someone complains about an impossible task, telling them “c’est pas la mer à boire” is a cocky way to let someone know that whatever the difficult task is, it’s not as difficult as drinking all of the sea.
Onion confit chips
I love confit d’oignons, especially with blue cheese but on chips?
These chips taste like sweet and savoury caramelized onions, just like Onion confit, similar to chutney or jam. Confit d’oignon is often served as a condiment at parties and end-of-year celebrations as part of l’apèro alongside
Caramelized Onion confit (Chutney). Sweet and savory condiment to serve with cheese, bread or your cheese board.
Before mayonnaise, there was Aïoli, a sauce made with salt, olive oil and generous amounts of garlic. Aioli is extremely popular in France, thanks to its proximity to the Mediterranean. They’re also a very popular chips
Andalouse sauce potato chips
Despite the name, Andalouse sauce is actually a specialty of Belgian, NOT from Andalusia. It’s typically made with mayonnaise, tomatoes or tomato paste, and peppers (capsicums). Belgians and French typically serve it with fries, but you can put it on anything. If you’re ever in France, ask for Andalouse sauce on your Kebab.
Porcini potato chips
I’ll admit, these aren’t the most popular chips. I only say that because I rarely see these at the grocery store but If you love porcini mushrooms, you’re going to love these cèpes (porcini) chips. They definitely have that umami quality.
Tapenade potato chips
Tapenade is one of my favourite hors d’œuvre. If you’re not familiar with tapenade, it’s a condiment made of finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil and sometimes a dash of lemon juice. It’s extremely popular in France, but especially in the south of France, where most people will offer it as an apèro to guests.
This is completely off-topic, but I always keep the ingredients to make tapenade in my pantry to make it on the fly. It’s straightforward to make. Check out the video below.
French fry sauce chips (or crisp sauce if you’re British)
In addition to just plain mayonnaise, sauce Pommes Frites is another condiment often served alongside french fries in France. You can find bottles of it at the supermarket, and McDonald’s in France offers it as a choice when you order fries. Recipes vary, but it usually consists of mayonnaise, mustard and
Braise chicken chips
Chicken flavoured chips have got to be some of the most popular chips in France because it seems that every chip maker has their own version.
These are supposed to taste like braised chicken. I think it may have something to do with the herbs they add to the
Grilled pepper chorizo chips
Whenever I see chorizo, I have to remind myself that chorizo in France is Spanish chorizo and not Mexican. While they’re both delicious, they’re actually quite different. Either way, these chips definitely have that smokey chorizo sausage appeal.
Gouda and cumin
Grilled rib roast or prime rib chips
It’s a mystery. How do they get chips to taste like beef. The package only lists “extrait de bœuf en poudre” beef powder extract.
Organic Thyme Rosemary chips
All I can say is these are very herby tasting. You can definitely taste notes of rosemary and thyme.
Vico: Popular Chip
ORIGINAL SLOGAN: Le roi de la pomme de terre (The potato king)
NEW SLOGAN: Le roi de l’apèro (The king of apèro)
Vico is the King of potatoes, or at least that’s what their company slogan used to be until they changed it to “King of apèro.”
Vico was founded in 1955 in Picardie, one of the largest potato producing areas of Franc. They originally sold potatoes and potato-based products, including dehydrated potatoes, in other words (instant potatoes). In 1982, they entered the potato chip market and make a variety of “apero” snacks.
Curly peanut butter
These curly things are similar to Cheetos without the cheese. They’re made of puffed corn then dusted with peanuts and
Mustard and vinegar chips
You’ve probably tried honey mustard chips or salt and vinegar chips. Well, these mustard and vinegar chips taste nothing like those.
Grilled chicken chips
Didn’t I tell you that every chip maker has some version of chicken chips? I can’t tell the difference between most of them.
Lentil chips with mozzarella, basil and tomato
These crunchy lentil chips kind of remind me of a pizza. I’m surprised they didn’t call them pizza chips. It might be due to marketing reasons.
Bacon bits and onion chips
This bag of chips is called “petits lardons et oignons,” literally little bacon and onions.” Lardon is a common staple in French supermarkets. It’s very similar to bacon bits but slightly fattier and thicker than traditional bacon bits.
It’s also a popular flavour to add to chips.
Grilled Merguez chips
Merguez is spicy mutton or beef sausage in Maghrebi cuisine; however, it’s become quite popular in France since the late twentieth century.
goat cheese and herb flavoured chips
I laughed when I saw the name of these chips. “Chèvre chaud & herbes” literally means “hot
goat cheese chips
Sarrasin or buckwheat is the same flour used to make savoury
French Lay’s: 2 Unique chips.
Although Lay’s isn’t technically a French brand, their chips have been a hit in France ever since 2003.
40 percent of all potato chips sold in France are Lay’s chips.
In addition to the ever-popular sour cream and onion potato chips, Lay’s has created some interesting chips specifically for the French palette and marketplace. Here are just two.
Parisian Sandwich chips (Sandwich Parisien).
Sandwich Parisien was a limited-edition flavour that came out around 2015 and tasted just like the butter and ham sandwich it was named after.
Basque pepper (Piment Basque)
French Lay’s came out with another special edition flavour called piment basque (basque pepper), essentially Espellette pepper.
Espelette is a mildly spicy pepper with a sweet and smoky flavour, named after the Basque region located in the western Pyrenees that straddles the border between France and Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.
Pringles needs no introduction here. Like Lay’s chips, Pringles is everywhere in France and come in a variety of flavours you’re familiar with like sour cream and onion and pizza flavour.
Roast Beef and mustard chips
Like chicken flavoured chips, beef flavour is a popular chip flavour in France. Pringles also has its own version of chicken chips.
Mushroom & cream chips
I think these are supposed to taste like cream of mushroom soup. I’ve never tried either of these but I can imagine what they might taste like.
La Belle Truffe
La Belle Truffe, located in France’s Provence region, specializes in all sorts of
truffle potato chips
Chips à la truffe d’éte
La Belle truffe recently came out with a black
Belsia: Upscale Chips
Belsia is a relatively new potato chip maker from France, which started up around 2016. Chips from Belsia are what you would call artisanal chips.
They’re made from Létourville farm potatoes in the heart of Beauce. They’re hand-sorted, sliced, and cooked in small quantities in a cauldron, then lightly salted with Ile de Ré salt and seasoned. They’re gluten-free, preservative-free, artificial flavour-free, and palm oil-free.
Champagne vinegar Chips from Ardenne (with salt from Ile de Ré)
Vinaigre de champagne-Ardenne & sel de lîle de Ré.
Belsi really elevates the everyday chips with their upscale champagne vinegar and salt from the Île de Ré island, which is off the west coast of France and known for its salt marshes and beaches. Unfortunately, these chips are a little hard to come by and usually show up at the outdoor market.
Chips aren’t glamourous, but…
The next time you take a trip to France, take a stroll down the chip Aisle and feast your eyes on all the unique and popular chip flavours available to locals. You don’t have to try them all, but try one just for the fun of it.
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