Monday, May 30, 2011

Monoprix Chips à L’Ancienne Saveur Moutarde

            So, having complained at length about the shortcomings of Leader Price’s mustard-flavored chips, and I couldn’t resist but make a head-to-head comparison with exact same flavor of chips as sold by Monoprix.  Remember, we are talking about grainy old-fashioned mustard, not the smooth and creamy Dijon variety or the glow-in-the-dark American stuff.
            So, the long and the short of it is that basically they got it right where Leader Price held too much back; the flavor is more strongly stated, though by no means overpowering, with nice notes of mustard grain, a more substantial though still restrained use of vinegar, and salt and onion aromas for a good measure.  (Are there onions in actual mustard?  I don’t think so, but it works here.)
            So all’s well that ends well, right? Well, as any auteur will assure you that the ending can’t to be too happy or it will lose credibility.  Sorry Frodo, you may have destroyed the ring and survived, but you will have be so depressed for the rest of your life that you’ll wish you hadn’t.  For starters, while the texture of the chips is still a little above average, it doesn’t rise quite to the level of thick crunchiness of the Leader Price Mustard chips, which is really too bad.  So score one for regrets and sorrowful second thoughts.  Second, while I acknowledge that the mustard they are emulating isn’t remarkably spicy, I still have to whine: the chips aren’t spicy!
Some Europeans regard a fondness for
intense spices as reflecting some vaguely
masochistic shamanic tradition based on
the principle of drawing power from pain.
If thisis true, than I predict India and
Thailand will be the rival magical
superpowers of the 21st Century.
            To be honest, a big part of the issue is that French cuisine in general is not in favor of spiciness.  Sure, maybe a little poivre on the rumsteak here and there, but the sort of nose-running sweat-on-your-brow ultra-picante seasonings typical of Mexican, Indian, or Thai cuisine are deemed barbarically unsubtle.  Real-life French mustard is genuinely spicy of course, but it doesn’t seem to be an element they really want on their domestically produced chips, and so nearly all the spicy flavored items are foreign in origin (most notably in regards to chips: Pringles.)
            How important are these shortcomings?  Not very, the mustard flavor on these is improved and unambiguous, (mustard should never be ambiguous), and though the texture is ‘adequate’ rather than ‘great’, I can whole heartedly recommend these for regular munching if grainy mustard is your cup of tea.

Stars: 2 ½
Spiciness Rating: Very Mild

- Effectively evokes the flavor of old-fashioned mustard
- Flavoring is well distributed

- Texture is adequate, but not at same level of quality as the LeaderPrice chips
- Not going to satisfy anybody craving the spice.


  1. the truly best mustard flavored chips are from the brand "Vico". The best Jerry, the best!
    But its been a while since we lived in Paris, and now looking on the web it seems they don't exist anymore. maybe taken over by Lays. I have tried the Lays Moutarde chips, but they miss the magic from Vico. damn....

  2. You will be pleased to learn that Vico is still very definitely in business, and selling good qualities chips at (unfortuantely) premium prices. I haven't seen a mustard flavored variety, (I'll keep an eye out), but I already had some reviews for other varieties (ruffled and chicken flavored), which were lost in a computer error and I will need to re-write. Vico's chips definitely are superior in quality (very thick and crunchy), and I would certainly be interested in trying their take on mustard-flavoring.