Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Clancy's Tomato Basil Garden Veggie Crisps (Aldi)

Decent to start, but the tomato flavor grows tiresome rather quickly.
Here’s a rather unique offering (at least as far as Aldi is concerned):  Garden veggie crisps, which substitute corn as a main ingredient for potatoes, beans, and carrots.  But maybe best of all are the health benefits:  A full serving of vegetables per 1 oz. serving, along with 50% Vitamin A, both pretty solid numbers for a snack.  Sodium and sugar levels are also pretty decent (160 mg and 2g, respectively), though the fat content (7 g) is still surprisingly a little bit high.

These chips are also available in a jalapeno ranch, but since these sounded a little more “healthy”, we opted to grab the tomato basil.  The first thing you’ll notice as you open the bag is a very strong tomato-ey smell that kind of reminded me of ketchup chips.  Not surprisingly, there’s also the scent of basil somewhere in there, though it’s not nearly as strong.  All-in-all, it’s a rather pleasant smell, assuming you don’t get a full nose full of it.

Since these are “crisps”, appearance-wise they have more in common with “tater skins” than they do normal potato chips, though they are much smaller.  They still deliver a nice, big crunch when bitten into, and feel a bit lighter than “tater skins” do, so even texture-wise they feel a little “healthier”.  Though it doesn’t say it anywhere on the bag, they seem to be baked, rather than fried, as I did not get any of the usual potato chip grease on my fingers after digging in, so that’s another plus.

On the taste-front, they are decent, but nothing spectacular.  As hinted from the aroma, the “crisp” delivers a strong initial offering of tomato-ey goodness, which is then paired up with a hint of basil.  While I do like the flavor, I do find the tomato to be a little too strong for my tastes.  So while they are clearly edible, they get rather tiring after a relatively short amount of time, which I guess is a good thing, because it prevents me from eating too many.  I would say it’s a decent little snack to have on hand for the occasional snack attack, but expect to get sick of them rather quick.  Unless you’re like my wife, who doesn’t like them at all.  Oh well, to each their own.

Overall: 6/10.  While better-than-average and offering some decent health benefits for a snack (50% Vitamin A and a full serving of vegetables per 1 oz. serving to name a couple), Clancy’s Tomato Basil Garden Veggie Crisps are too strong on tomato flavor, meaning they get really tiring, real quick.  There’s also some rather high fat content in there, as well, which cancels out at least some of the good.  At $1.49 for a 4.5 oz. bag, the value is pretty decent, as the crisps are small, meaning there are a lot within a bag.  I'd say these are worth a try, but nothing to write home about.

Deutsche Kuche Paprika Chips (Aldi)

What a bag of German potato chips looks like.
I like trying some new things from Aldi, and there’s really no better time than when they have their German offerings.  Just in case you are not aware, Aldi is based in Germany, so it’s neat to get a little taste of their culture, though I wonder if any of it is “Americanized” any to better fit our palettes.

On my latest trip to the discount grocer, I stumbled on paprika chips, which I picked up with no hesitation.  I’m not really too familiar with the spice, but I was just anxious to try a different flavor of potato chip beyond the ‘typical offerings’ (barbeque, sour cream and onion, etc.), and even beyond the ‘atypical but still readily available offerings’ (ketchup, hot dog, loaded baked potato, etc.)  My advice?  If you want to try something new, pick up a bag, because these things are pretty addicting.

By appearance, they look like a typical “regular” potato chip (as in, not rippled), and have a very satisfying crunch when bit into.  There’s also a generous serving of paprika in each bag, with many of the chips offering up a very reddish-hue thanks to its coating of the titular spice.  Also like most potato chips, it’s pretty heavy on fat and sodium contents, so those watching those would do best to find an alternative.

The smell is a little hard to pinpoint…I would state the obvious and say it smells like paprika, but I can’t even say that for sure, because I’m not sure what paprika smells like.  And unfortunately my wife, who is the family cook and has a much stronger sense of smell than I do, is currently sick and unable to smell anything.  So all I’ll say is it has a very spicy smell, but without being too overpowering, and I’ll leave it at that.  Besides, who buys these bags just to smell them?

Taste, however, is something I’m slightly more adept to describe, and I will say that the first thing that grabbed me is the uniqueness of the flavor.  It’s almost like a barbecue, but without the added tangy sweetness.  The paprika on display here is nowhere near overpowering, but is clearly evident in the taste, making it almost depressingly easy to down way too much in one sitting.  The aftertaste is mild, also akin to a typical barbecue chip.

Overall: 7/10.  There’s no way I could eat these all the time, but for an occasional treat, Deutsche Kuche Paprika Chips really satisfy.  They have the same appearance and crunch of most “original” potato chips, making them instantly familiar, yet differ enough in taste to offer up a little originality from the main chips on the market today.  But by no means is the “different” flavor a knock--once I get started, I eat way more than I should.  Their $1.49 price point is also pretty good, and even though the 7.05 oz. bag is somewhat smaller than average chip bags, there are still plenty of deliciousness to go around.  Recommended for those looking for something new.