Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lay’s Sensations Saveur Crème et Epices

I’m usually very principled about only purchasing chips that fall within a certain price to quantity ratio.  Fancy Kettle chips that cost $4 for 6oz?  So long, and thanks for all the fish!  However, I recently gave into temptation to buy something fancier, out of sheer curiosity and a need to have more material for the blog.
It had sat there on the aisle for the last 4 months in a fancy package of shining glossy foil, showcasing carefully mood-lit potato crisps in the foreground, with a trifecta of yellow pepper, paprika, and sour cream hovering in the background like the supporting cast in an 70’s style action movie poster.  Slowly my reservations were chiseled away, and rationalizing with the need to write more reviews, these chips ended up in the shopping cart.

Starring Genghis Khan as the space pirate,
Madonna as the star queen, and
Mister Rogers as the astro avenger.
Now part of the temptation was that I wasn’t quite sure what flavor the chips were meant to represent.  Everyone knows the universally recognized colors for Sour Cream and Onion flavoring is green and white, and the packaging sported both green, white, and a picture of sour cream.  Dead giveaway, right?  Not so fast, in place of an onion, there’s a bell pepper and a bowl of paprika.

It took me a while to figure out after biting into them, but basically these chips were seeking to evoke the flavor of sour cream dip with a sprinkling of paprika on top.  Pretty specific, but you'll find more than a few recipes which features this combination.  As flavorings go, it’s on the subtle side: a mildly sweet sour cream flavor, some garlic, and a pleasing but faint spicy aroma that builds up a little over time, but never so much as to be really threatening.  Very nice and all like a stiff but classy date, and they do capture the whole sour cream and paprika thing, if in an altogether too subtle manner.  Personally, if I had a choice between something that flirts frustratingly beyond my satisfaction and something that hits my tongue like a sledgehammer, I will happily lean towards the latter extreme.
Thought bubble:  I can only hope he's
just as stiff in bed.
Texture wise, the crisps are clearly designed with an eye towards superior quality.  In most respects this goal was achieved, as the crisps are thick, less crumbly, and very evenly sized.  However, they do suffer from lacking the kind of uneven and interestingly textured surfaces we expect from most chips, instead displaying smooth and regular surfaces that are efficient but that do not fire the imagination- thereby completing the portrait of the polished but unexciting aristocratic suitor who tries to make up for his lack of sparks and intensity with money and refinement.
Fair lady, I practically invented being
languid.  Yes, even before the British.
So all in all, while I appreciate the enhanced texture and subtle flavor of these chips, I feel that they fail to deliver a truly stunning experience to justify the (high) price. These chips will appeal to those with delicate, cultured palettes, who eschew the gross crudity of strong flavorings, and appreciate suavely blemlishless potato crisps of high quality and utter regularity.  Those barbaric individuals of cruder, more primitive tastes should probably look elsewhere.  Why settle for Humperdinck when you can have Westley?

Stars: 2/4
Spiciness Rating: Mild

- If you wanted Sour Cream and Onion chips without the onion, than these are the chips for you…
- if you don’t mind the Paprika element as well that gives an interesting but unthreatening spicy dimension
- Above-average quality thick and crunchy crisps

- Flavoring is too subtle
- Though the crisps are thick, they are also perfectly smooth and lack the kind of bubbles and crumples that make, say, kettle chips so interesting
-Flavoring is too sub- I guess I should learn to know when to let something go?

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