Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chio Premium Moments Egzotikus Indonez Fuszerezesu

Apparently, you can also have
a 'premium moment' eating
Cheddar in London or Balsamic
vinegar in Venice judging by the
2 other products in the line.
(Exotic Oriental Flavoring)

Not many snack food products go so far as to promise you ‘memorable moments’ within their foil-wrapped package, but Chio is clearly so confident of their baby that they’re unashamed to do so with their ‘Premium’ line of chips.  They helpfully illustrate the moment they are trying to capture with some Asian architecture in the background of the package art and an eerily backlit purple sky, while the interior of the package has shiny gold foil.  Clearly these are meant to remind you of how it felt to be a gothy ninja apprentice outside a pagoda, meditating in the supernatural silence of a gathering storm about to unleash an invasion of tengu.

From "Warriors through the Ages" circa 3100:
starting in the second half of the 20th century
the secret Ninja clans of Nippon widely
adopted school girl uniforms, understanding
that the cuteness and easily injured hearts of
young students were the perfect incubators for
horrific acts of clandestine violence and tearful
philosophical monologues.
Unfortunately, I missed all of these subtle insinuations or the clearly written words in Magyar ‘Egzotikus Indonez Fuszerezesu’, because I was in Hungary, damn it, and I can neither read the language or fail to notice the obvious spicy bowl full of Paprika on the cover.  Only days later did I realize these were not ‘Paprika’ chips but ‘Exotic Oriental’ chips, though they just happen to have Paprika in the ingredients.  Oh well.  To add further insult to injury, there actually are 'Premium Moments' Paprika chips, helpfully illustrated with an image of Budapest on the cover.

But why am I complaining, these are great, and way better than other ‘Paprika chips’ I’ve had, delivering an assortment of seasoning sensations, while keeping it classy (not that I have anything against things which are not!)  Simply smelling them will assail you with a rainbow assortment of herbs- Clover, Ginger, Coriander, Paprika, Chili, All Spice (yes, ‘All Spice’, not “all spices,” but there are many in the list, it is true…) all make their presence known to contribute to a diverse assortment of flavors.   
The chips are also strongly garlicky, and there is enough pepper thrown in to create a modest spicy burn, but not enough to injure any delicate sensibilities.  I should finish by noting that the potatoes themselves definitively contribute, and while I don’t usually place much emphasis on ‘tasting the potato’, I was impressed these crisps managed to so deftly balance the flavor of the potato and the seasoning without neglecting either.
'All spice' is actually made from just
one kind of seed grown originally in the
equatorial Americas and Caribbean.  The
English explorers who encountered it
thought it tasted like 3 others types of
spices, and named it in a matter that
would forever deny its uniqueness.

My earlier experiences with Chio chips, while not unpleasant, left me a little underwhelmed by the quality of the crisps themselves- surely their Premium chips would offer better?  In fact, they did demonstrate genuine quality, proving crunchy and well roasted, and prettily colored red by the seasoning without use of artificial dyes.  However, this was somewhat overshadowed by the extremely small size of the crisps themselves, which generally fell between 1.5” to 2” in diameter.  At that size, you’re practically forced to eat several at once.  Maybe those extra small potatos they are using are intrinsically more flavorful?  (The back of the bag outrageously claims they only use ‘extra-large potatoes’ and ‘large crisp sizes’, which makes me wonder what they consider to be small ones.  Anyone can clearly see these are significantly smaller than their regular line of potato chips- my upcoming review of their Tzazikki sauce chips includes a picture of a real monster.)
I was going to conclude by saying they were the best Paprika flavored chips I’ve ever had, but as they aren’t technically Paprika chips, we have to rate them against other Asian chips, and here I must confess to preferring the stronger flavors (spicier and sweeter, especially) epitomized by Kettle’s Spicy Thai or Wai Lana’s Lime Chili chips.  And yet, these crisps exist beautifully on the other side of the spectrum for those who prefer a more subtle herb-and-spices-oriented experienced, and who really wish to enjoy the taste of the potato as well as the toppings themselves.  Without a doubt, the best not-Paprika chips I’ve ever had.

Stars: 3 Stars
Spiciness: Moderate
- Beautiful mix of varied and piquant spices, including more than a little garlic and a pinch of spice
- The flavor of the potatoes is ably balanced with the seasoning
- Beautiful and crunchy crisps
- Crisps are very small, forcing one to eat several at once
- Impressive, but more subtle than other Asian-spices themed chips

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