Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pennsylvania Chip Face-Off

Hot and BBQ chips
(phone photo by Dan. pardon the shadow!)

R., who likes things spicy, brought 4 kinds of potato chips (1 BBQ and 3 Red Hot) back from a recent trip to Pennsylvania (all are made in PA). We found time to taste-test them this week.

Utz Red Hot Potato Chips - I think Utz brand chips almost always have an inferior texture, but the spice builds properly (the more chips you eat, the hotter they taste in your mouth). I believe R. preferred the flavor of this one.

Gibble's Red Hot Potato Chips ("Nibble with Gibble's) - This one was intriguing and a bit complex - my favorite of the three Red Hot chips. R. thought it had the best texture. I felt the heat was duller than in the Utz chips (the only drawback with this brand, in my opinion), but the flavor less sweet than the next two chips (which I appreciated). We identified the flavors of cayenne, onion powder, and paprika.

Munch With Martin's Red Hot Potato Chips - Everyone agreed that these were very sweet. Right away, I could taste cinnamon. C. felt these tasted like pumpkin pie spice. R. identified the flavor as identical to Red Hots candies and felt the company was going for that comparison.

Middleswarth The Weekender Hand-Cooked Bar-B-Q Old Fashioned Ket-L Chips - It's hard to compare these to the others, as they were true BBQ chips, and therefore not spicy in the same way that the "Red Hot" chips were. Most of us liked the flavor. R.F. felt that they were too sweet. He didn't seem to care for them much, comparing the taste to that of "a stale beer." I didn't mind the sweetness, and did think the kettle chip texture ("Made from carefully selected potatoes") was superior to the other varieties. The Weekenders managed to be a little spicy, too, but the Red Hots stole the show.

Everyone likes to Nibble
(phone photo by Dan)

p.s. unopened, smaller-sized bags of chips make a decent baby toy in a pinch.


Bets said...

Utz Kettle Classic have good texture and deliciousness.

I don't like any flavored chips (anymore - we used to eat cubic yards of Crab Chips back in college. Those are Utz, I think, flavored with Old Bay, and I imagine one only gets them in southern PA and Maryland. I've never seen them in PA. You should include them in a taste test sometime. They're not hot, exactly...)

I grew up on Middleswarth. My brother brings a bag back when he goes up home. They are purely nostalgic - clearly inferior yet sentimental.

Jennette said...

Oooh -- I didn't know Utz made Kettle Chips. I think I would like those. I've heard of crab-flavored chips and am keeping my eye out. But I'm a bit of a flavored chip nut.

Bets said...

I am eating some right this second. Look for a white bag with blue letters and metallic gold highlights.

Jennette said...

You have good information. I thank you.

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