Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lay's ‘Saveur Bolognaise’

So I'd been bumbling around Paris the first fews weeks of last January- or at least, ducking in doors while it snows, hails, and rains- and had a number of opportunities to acquaint myself with the grocery stores in the quartier.  As one might expect, for all their extensive culinary gifts, the French are still lacking in that most elite of the savory arts, potato chips.  At first, all I could find were small packages of the most generic American chips sold at inflated prices and I had forsaken the thought of eating any chips in Europe at all.  That’s probably an average of 150 calories less a day, and between that and being unemployed I may soon be employable as model for Marie Claire.  However, the discovery of a much larger grocery store may have torpedoed my plans to shake my hips before the eyes of the world.  On those hallowed shelves I did in fact discover some unique flavors which I have yet to see in the States, and so bound by my duty to entertain an American audience, I purchased a bag of ‘Bologna-Flavored’ chips.  (The other notable option, ‘Roasted-Chicken Flavor’ is a product I have no desire to try, but may be forced to out of the sheer circus-freak novelty of the idea.)

Now you may be thinking that when they say these are Bologna-flavored chips, you will be crunching on something whose taste resembles a round Oscar-Weiner slice of meat you slip into your sandwiches.  (Hopefully that didn’t sound sexual to you.)  But no, they are actually referring to some vague concept of cuisine from Bologna, which is to say ‘a place in Italy’.  To be fair, this is pretty clear from the package which depicts some sliced tomatoes and basil, rather than a slice of bologna.  So of course, we are actually talking about Tomato-basil flavored chips, though perhaps if people from Bologna eat a lot of tomato and basil, they may also begin to taste like the chips?

You may have already had tomato-and-basil flavoring on certain crackers and salty snacks on the market (‘Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Wheat Thins’ being the most stand out product, but various pizza-flavored snacks are also essentially the same), but this was the first time I’ve had it on potato chips.  I must report that I found it perfectly satisfactory- I do like tomato-flavoring and the hint of basil, and if you eat them for a bit you will notice some mild spiciness, although nothing strong enough to wilt even the wimpiest pallet.  The chips are standard Lays, which means that texture-wise they were entirely adequate though in no way exceptional.  The flavoring is evenly distributed, and although I might have enjoyed a thicker coating of flavoring, I suspect this would have probably turned off more folks than it turned on, like adding an S&M scene in the director’s cut of It’s A Wonderful Life- in any case, the current level is also quite adequate.

So, while you may be disappointed that they still haven’t given you sandwich-meat flavored chips yet (in fact I can promise that in an upcoming review!), you can rejoice that your pizza/tomato/region-of-Bologna flavored chips are finally available (in France).  They are an interesting novelty, and though the underlying chip is of average quality, they are an amusing way to shake up taste buds used to more standard American chip flavors.

Stars: 2 ½ out of 4
Spiciness Level: Very Mild
-Interesting combination of flavor on chips
-Texture of the chips and density of the flavoring is pitched just about right

-Flavoring aside, the quality of the product is basically average.


  1. - sebastian first of all, i love this blog (though it makes me want to go down the street & buy chips...)
    - la sauce bolognaise in france is the sauce you put on your pasta, a mix of tomato,beef, onions & herbs, it does not refer to meat sandwich you were talking about (wich i don't know btw) in france. that may be the reason of your confusion ;)
    actually i was planning to do some tonight, so you'll see :)
    - quartier is spelled with "qu" ;)
    - i can't wait for some further review (like did you try the one "moutarde à l'ancienne"?)

    your frenchie rommate, morgane

  2. Thanks for the spelling correction! I'm familiar with la sauce bolognaise, my mom used to cook large batches of it and freeze it in jars to go with pasta, and I love it still. However, I believe the chips name is still actually referring to the region in Italy, because the chips taste nothing like meat, onions, and wine.

    I do hope to the review the 'Moutarde a l'ancienne' down the line, I tried some out at the Beer pong party last month and they were amusing. That's 'Old-fashioned Mustard' chips for the American readers.

  3. chicken crisps are delicious and smoky bacon.

  4. Is the saveur bolognese flavor the same as tomato basil?