The Best Artisan Chips

As either a snack by itself, a side dish for lunch, or a vehicle for your favorite dips, potato chips are among the most popular foods in the world. Chips are a must with summer picnics and barbecues, but it's crucial that your potato live up to what's on the grill. And don't forget the dip! Try a healthy pairing for your spuds like Chickpea-Eggplant Dip or a Cayenne Pepper Liptauer Spread. No matter whether you call them chips or crisps, you probably have one or two brands that you really like. But if you don't, or if you're looking to try a few new artisan brands for your summer relaxing, check out these great brands from around the country.

1. Kettle Brand - Started in the late 70s in Oregon, the Kettle Brand produced its first potato chip in 1982 and has seen a great deal of success since, becoming America's largest natural potato chip brand. With interesting flavors like "Backyard Barbeque," "Cheddar Beer," "New York Cheddar and Herbs," and "Spicy Thai," Kettle Chips will be sure to offer your taste buds something new and exciting. On top of that, they're gluten-free, so everyone can try these wild creations.

2. Miss Vickie's - A Canadian based company now under the snack giant Frito-Lay, Miss Vickie's has managed to retain its goal of producing quality chips kettle-cooked "the old fashioned way" with hand-selected potatoes. Since the launch of the "Original Recipe" and "Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar" flavors in 1985, Miss Vickie's has launched a number of home-style flavors like "Lime and Black Pepper," "Vintage Cheddar and Red Onion," and "Creamy Buttermilk Ranch."

3. Old Dutch - Based out of the Midwest, Old Dutch Chips are popular both in the U.S. and with our neighbors to the North, where flavors like "Ketchup" are surprisingly popular. The Old Dutch chips come in a number of styles ranging from "Traditional" to "Dutch Gourmet Thick Cut." And with flavors like "Parmesan and Garlic" and "Grilled Steak," these are anything but boring.

4. Zapp's - Started in 1985 in Louisiana, Zapp's kettled-fried chips are packed with serious Cajun flavor. The very popular "Spicy Cajun Crawtators" are bursting with down-home boiled seafood flavor and are the company's number one seller. With other flavors like "Jalapeno," "Tabasco," and the mysterious "Voodoo," Zapp's chips are sure to offer you something new. Plus, the company ships all around the country, so you don't have to worry about hunting these down in your area.

5. Cape Cod - Some snackers think these chips are so good that in 2009, Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara recorded a song call "Cape Cod Chips" for her solo album! Started in the 1980s with the idea of healthier chips with little processing, Cape Cod chips are cooked in batches in kettles while being continuously stirred in a shallow vat of oil to produce maximum crunchiness. Flavors like "40% Reduced Fat," "Cheddar Jack & Sour Cream," and "Harvest Gold" are among the popular offerings.

What are your favorite potato chips?