Friday, January 11, 2013

Kettle Chips

I've had a thing for salty, crispy snacks lately, so I've been trying out all sorts of chips.  It is pretty random, as I honestly think I hadn't had a bag of chips for about 10 years, and suddenly I crave them all the time.

Kettle brand chips show up as the "premium" chips at most delis and casual places around town, so I've tried a bunch of their flavors.  I don't really care for their standard chips, but the Krinkle Cuts and the Baked ones are pretty decent.  As always, subsequent tastings are denoted inside brackets.

Krinkle Cut™

"We slice our Krinkle Cut™ chips nice and thick, so you get a satisfying crunch in every bite. It’s the perfect chip for dipping, but you don’t need to with all the bold, all-natural flavor nestled into those rich, golden ridges."
I really like the krinkle cut chips.  They are so crunchy and satisfying, my favorite of Kettle brand products.
Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper, Krinkle Cut.
  • Buffalo Bleu:  "From the first, bold crunch, you’re hit with a tangy assault of chili spice. But…wait for it…a hint of bleu cheese comes around the corner and pulls it all together in a supremely craveable, insanely crunchable mouthful of goodness."  Tasting notes: These didn’t really seem like buffalo flavor (not spicy), nor did they seem blue cheese flavored.  But, I did like them.  They had a sweetness to them, and reminded me of bbq chips.  The crickle cut allowed for maximum coating in the chips!
  • Cheddar and Sour Cream (Retired Flavor): Decent cheddar and sour cream flavor.  Much better than Ruffles.  Very crispy, I really like the form factor.  [ Super crispy, delicious cheesy flavor, I really like these ]  [ Nice and crunchy ]
  • Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper: "There is a reason they make salt and pepper shakers in matching sets—they go together like no two other spices in the world. We’ve taken that collaboration of flavor goodness to new heights (and depths) by lightly sprinkling them on the rolling ridges of our Krinkle Cut chips." Tasting notes:  I thought that I'd dislike this flavor, since I've had pepper chips before and really disliked them, but these were not bad.  Not my favorite flavor, but, decent.  The pepper flavor was there for sure, but somehow it wasn't strange.  Salt level was also good.

Baked

"Kettle Brand Baked potato chips are made from REAL sliced potatoes, unlike many other baked chips you've tried. We take real potatoes. Slice them. Cook them to a crunchy perfection. Then season them with fresh, natural ingredients."
The baked chips also aren't bad.  They clearly don't go too far in the "healthy" direction, still keeping them satisfying.
  • Sea Salt: "Only three ingredients in this classic chip: potatoes, oil, and sea salt. Why mess with simplicity? The pureness of a whole potato, thinly sliced, cooked to golden perfection and seasoned with fresh sea salt delivers undeniable flavor and crunch." Tasting notes: Salty, nice, but got bored.  Full slices of potato, skin on. [ Pretty tasty, particularly given that they are so much healthier! ] [ Very good dipped in yogurt, reminds me of a baked potato with sour cream. ] [ Good when craving salty. ] [ I really love these, particularly when dipped in mac and cheese! ] [ So much potato flavor, crispy, good!  My favorite baked style, bar far. ]
  • Salt & Vinegar: "We've paired a splash of bold and tangy vinegar with a sprinkle of fresh sea salt to give these chips boatloads of flavor. Whole natural slices of our select spuds are cooked into crunchy, golden curves of pure potato, and then brought to life with a spectacular tart, salty finish. ". Tasting notes: Nice and crispy, good potato flavor, tangy from vinegar, gladly would eat these. [ Really crispy, nice tang from vinegar ]

Regular Kettle Chips

This is their original, and namesake kettle style line of products.  My least favorite of their offerings, generally, just thin, standard kettle chips.  They do have some creative flavors though, I'll give them that.
Sweet Chilli and Sour Cream.
"There's nothing like Thai Cuisine for its wonderfully complex balance of flavours. We've added our own twist to the authentic spicy sweetness by combining with the coolness of sour cream."

These are available in Europe only.

When I saw these, I had to try them.  When I lived in Sydney, I became a bit obsessed with potato wedges served with sour cream and sweet chili sauce.  To this day, I still do not understand why we do not have them in the US.  I was interested to see them made into chips.

The chips were basic crunchy kettle chips, nothing remarkable.  The sweet chili flavor was a bit lost though, they tasted more like bbq to me, except bbq crossed with sour cream and cheddar.  Interesting, but, nothing like what I wanted them to be.
Sriracha.
"Our flavor experts have done it again. This bold flavor is everything you love about the hot sauce on a chip. The combination of chili, garlic, and vinegar creates the authentic taste of the real deal".

These were actually really quite good.  Did they taste like sriracha?  Well, no actually.

Like the sweet chili chips, they reminded me of a bbq chip.  The initial flavor was actually sweet.  They did have a kick to them that came in on the finish.  Really a fun chip to eat, since it evolved from sweet to spicy.  But sriracha?  Nah.  Particularly tasty with some dip.

Update: I had these again months later, completely forgetting that I had tried them before, and without re-reading this review.  I again liked the flavor, but found that it didn't taste like sriracha at all.  And, again, I enjoyed dipping them in a dip (this time, chive creme fraiche), but I thought they were fine plain too.
Maple Bacon.
"This natural flavor match combines the deep smokiness of bacon, the rich sweetness of real maple syrup and the subtle spice of chili pepper for a nostalgic, comfort food combination. "

These obviously sounded like winners.  Who doesn't love maple and bacon?

Alas, like many other flavors, they really just tasted bbq-esq to me.  BBQ isn't a bad thing, but I really didn't taste anything maple nor bacon about these.  Really, just standard bbq-like kettle chips.

[ No Photos ]
  • Backyard BBQ: "Everyone loves the flavor of Backyard Barbeque® – smoky, spicy, tangy and sweet. ".  Tasting notes:  They were just a standard kettle style bbq chip.  Ok bbq flavor, good crunch, but nothing standout.  Good dipped in greek yogurt! [ Standard crispy bbq chip. Good crispness, but nothing remarkable here ] [ Standard, crispy, kettle chip.  Not special, but not bad. ] [ Not great bbq flavor, crispy, but I don't like them ]
  • Jalapeño: "Jalapeño Kettle Brand® Potato Chips have a zesty, south of the border flavor. Striking a perfect balance between fresh, well-rounded flavor and the clean, spicy bite of jalapeño peppers, these all natural chips are easy to eat with a satisfying burn that sneaks up on you. " Tasting notes: Again, standard kettle style chip with a decent kick from jalapeño.  Crispy, decent. [ Nice kick, good flavor. ]
  • New York Cheddar: "When cheese grows up where does it go? The big city, of course. Sophisticated, bold, confident, and brazen". Tasting notes: I really did not care for these.  They weren't cheesy at all.  I honestly did not taste any cheddar at all.  They were very oily.
  • Salt & Vinegar: "The perfect balance of zesty sea salt, a hint of tongue-puckering vinegar and satisfying crunch". Tasting notes: These were quite flavorful chips.  I really appreciated both the saltiness and the strong vinegar.  But ... again, the thin style, oily kettle chips just weren't for me. [ Yup, great vinegar flavor, but thin and crispy, and meh ]
  • Sea Salt (Europe Only):  "Sometimes less is more. Thick, full-flavoured slices of carefully selected potato are brought to life with just a sprinkling of sea salt - simple. ". Tasting notes: Just greasy standard kettle chips.  Meh.
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