Thursday, March 19, 2020

Specially Selected Lattice Cut Aged Cheddar and Black Pepper Kettle Chips (Aldi)

These are interesting and delicious.

“What are lattice-cut chips?”, you may be wondering, just as I was before scooping them up one day at Aldi. Well, the image on the front of the packaging sums it up well: imagine a waffle fry fucking a potato chip, and you’ll pretty much be in the right ballpark.

But how does that affect the actual texture, in practice? It delivers the extra crunchiness of a kettle chip (because that’s what these technically are), but manages to be slightly unique thanks to the wavy, “grid-style” ridges. The end result is a thin chip with some small, pin-sized holes throughout. 
Honestly, I like that a bit more than most typical kettle chips, simply because there’s less chip here; this means they don’t get overly crunchy like some of the “normal”, thicker kettle chips do.

But no food product can be good if it’s lacking in taste, and I am proud to announce that these pass the flavor test with flying colors. I will say that I think there tends to be a little bit too much black pepper for my liking, which leads to the “sodium burn” typically reserved for excess salt (which there’s a decent amount of, too), but the cheese is appropriately inviting, and counterbalances the “harshness” of the pepper, for the most part. It's rather light, and also kind of veers off into a slightly sweet territory that I wasn't expecting, although that might just be a gustastory illusion courtesy of the interplay between the cheese and pepper. At any rate, I have a hard time stopping once I start eating these—which is typically a good sign of deliciousness.

That being said, as good as the flavor is, it does start to wear thin after a while, which prevents this from being an “everyday” kind of potato chip that I could eat almost all of the time, such as their ranch tortilla chips. That means these are a once-or-twice-a-year kind of a thing, which works out pretty well considering they are only available as a Special Buy a few times throughout the year. It's the perfect example of a product confined to special buy cycles that absolutely should be.

Popping in at $2.19 (per 7 oz. bag), they’re certainly a bit more expensive than their typical chips; presumably, it costs a few extra cents for them to add another angle of cutting to the chip. Still, it’s far cheaper than national brand chips in general, and since this is presented by Specially Selected, Aldi's more “premium” label, that helps to justify and explain the slight cost increase versus their other chips. At the very least, they're worth buying at least once just to give them a shot, especially if you're tired of the typical options.

Overall: 7/10. These lattice cut chips are, basically, a thin waffle fry texture in chip form, with a “grid-like” cross-cut throughout that delivers extra crunch without being so thick that they threaten to shatter teeth. The flavor here is good, with a light cheddar flavor paired up with a bit too much cracked black pepper for my liking, leading to that feeling of “sodium burn” that you get from eating overly salty snacks for too long. Once I hit that threshold, I know it's time to put them down, but they are pretty addicting before reaching that point. I wouldn't get these all the time, even if I could (on account of them being a special buy and all) but they're a great change from the norm, and at $2.19 per 7 oz. package, a reasonable value at the same time.

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