Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Bryan F. Irrera on Lay's Passport to Flavor

Here's a guest blog on Lay's Passport to Flavor potato chips from occasional FFD contributor Bryan F. Irrera, take it away, Bryan, and thank you!

I finally got a chance to try all four Passport to Flavor chips (I hadn't seen all of them at once until now).

I think the least exciting one was the Brazilian Picanha. There's a little beefy flavor, but very light. Not much spice or seasonings. Not much of anything, really.

(Sidebar: of the "do me a flavors" in past years, I liked NONE of the 2013s, (the Garlic Bread ones were lackluster, Sriracha WAY too spicy and I didn't even want to try the Chicken/Waffles 'cause that's just wrong as an actual food, never mind simulated on a chip). In 2014, I LOVED the Mango Salsa ones, liked the Wasabi ones (that won), was mildly indifferent to the Bacon/Mac and Cheese and found the Cappuccino ones interesting but not worth buying again (I didn't see myself buying "dessert" potato chips, necessarily). Last year, I LOVED the Southern Biscuit ones, tolerated the Truffle ones (they were just weird sour cream and onion to me) and HATED the other two (the feta on the Gyro one turned me off and I hate Reubens in their true form... the chips made me nearly vomit.).

I thought that the Tzatziki ones were a VAST improvement on the Gyro ones from last year. No more lamb/feta flavoring (or lettuce/tomato). Just pure cucumber and yogurt (which gives us a milder dill pickle chip. There is light dill in this in addition to the plain (non-pickle) cucumber flavor. Nice and gentle without being bland like the Brazilian ones.

The Szechuan Chicken ones are definitely spicy, but not overpoweringly so. These aren't like Sriracha chips or most "SPICY" chips that sacrifice flavor just to burn your mouth. While I did have a tingling sensation, I didn't feel I had to run to get a glass of water immediately. These weren't "fire" chips. There's a nice sweetness from the peppers in addition to the heat.

My favorite of this batch is the Tikka Masala ones. A nice (mild) masala. Not overly spicy, but seasoned nicely. Again, a nice sweetness was present here. Full-bodied. Really captured the dish it was emulating and could be a great permanent (even if semi-rotating) addition to the line-up, since it has a different Ethnic flavor profile than most snacks.

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