Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cape Cod Sweet Mesquite Barbeque

           I’ve written about good teases which tantalize with subtle flavors at the tip of the tongue, before finally delivering a glorious flavor load- but sadly, Cape Cod’s Mesquite Barbeque falls in the category of bad teases, which fail to follow up on what seemed to be a promising package.  They also fall in a well-populated genre of high-quality kettle cooked chips which are lacking adequate flavoring.
I must confess to a certain degree of fear in starting out my review relationship with Cape Cod Potato chips on a low note, not only because their mafia extends nation-wide, but because it happens that my significant other is a native of that perfectly charming coastal community.  Given what I know of the salty mooncussers of eastern Massachusetts, I can assure you that were I to offend them, they are not at all likely to curse me out in the wicked colorful local dialect, hoist me up with their massively muscled limbs, and feed me to the fishes.  No, not at all likely.  
Were you to spend a week in the
Chatham Squire, you would probably
have the chance to meet every resident
of Chatham, Cape Cod.
So…I have two theories as to why so many high-quality chips are shipped with weak flavoring: the first is that by using only natural ingredients, they may have limitations to how strong a flavoring they can manufacture compared to mass-market flavorings that are basically alchemical Frankenstein concoctions of great tastiness.  The second reason is that they may be cooked according to an aesthetic emphasizing the taste of the potato over that of the flavoring.  My (highly subjective) feeling on this is that tasting the potato is great, but when I buy barbecue potato chips, I expect them deliver a strong sweet and salty barbecue-taste, not a potato-flavored potato chip with a faint whiff of the grill.
Based on the improbable flavor fusions on mass market
potato chips we can only  presume their flavor R&D
department looks pretty much like this.
            And there is the problem with Cape Cod’s Mesquite barbecue chips- the flavoring is weak and doesn’t build up to a strong statement- like a crappy job, you go to work every day and dig in, only to wish you actually felt rewarded for all the effort.  It’s really too bad, because these are good quality kettle-cooked potato chips, thick and with a nice rough texture, though tending to be on the small side at around 1½ inches in diameter. 
Every wonder why they never show
images of actual mesquite on the bag?
I'll never have it said I don't make
all of your wishes come true...
One unique feature is that there is an authentic smoky tang of burnt mesquite lurking amidst the other flavors, which is awesome, but the fact that it’s not coming together with a worthwhile barbecue flavoring prevents it from fulfilling its potential.   The seasoning, or the little you can taste, is standard stuff- tomato, onion, and garlic, apparently all natural, though insufficiently strong and sweet.
            Purists that prefer a strong earthy potato flavor in their chips with only lightly applied additional flavors may enjoy these chips, especially with their mesquite-smoke tang, but anybody looking for a strong sweet barbecue flavor will do much better looking elsewhere, despite the other qualities of these chips.

Stars:  1½/4
Spiciness Rating: Very Mild

- Nice, quality kettle cooked potato crisps
- Pleasing mesquite tang

- Flavoring is too weak and ineffectual
- Crisps are fairly small

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, Cape Cod chips are so delicious! What a great treat from such a beautiful place.