Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lay's Passport to Flavor (2016)

Lay's latest gambit is called Passport to Flavor. It seems to be inspired by the Olympics. This time, instead of voting for a winning flavor, consumers collect points for each bag they buy, which they can put towards entries into travel giveaways.

So here we go, off into another set of chip flavors. I'll write about them in the order I tried them.

I started with Brazilian Picanha, a regular-style chip. They smell meaty and herbaceous. The taste: meat/beef, tomato (sweet, acid), light herb notes that turn into a pretty noticeable parsley flavor. These are okay. I could eat a serving with a sandwich, but they are not crave-able. I feel like the past few beefy chip flavors have been underwhelming. They remind me of the burger smell that sticks to a vent hood or the inside of a grill lid.

Next up, Chinese Szechuan Chicken, the other regular-style chip. The bag smells like stale bread? Like a bakery, but not yeasty. A little sweet. Now let's try them. They taste exactly like they smell - stale bread, sweetness, but with a little spicy heat. The flavor develops after a few chips into something a touch more acidic, like the chili sauce in an Asian restaurant. Still underwhelming, reminiscent of a cheap brand of spicy ramen. I didn't get much in the way of chicken flavor.

On to the wavy chip - Greek Tzatziki. First impression is of dill, tang, and cream. Tasting time. "Whoa, this reconstitutes well." I get the dill, a touch of garlic, tangy yogurt. This is tzatziki. There's even just a titch of cucumber flavor, brilliantly subtle (not overwhelming or super fake). These are good.

And finally the kettle cooked chip, Indian Tikka Masala. This bag has a strong, complex aroma. Sweetness, curry, cardamom hit the hardest but they aren't alone. Let it be said that it's not discordant or off-balance. This smells amazing! Taste-wise, I get tomato, curry, warm spices, a little heat. And it's rich, almost buttery. With the potato chip added in, these make me think of a cauli-less aloo gobi. These are legitimately good, not just best-of-the-pack, limited edition good.

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