Snack Review: NEW! Cape Cod Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Chips
I love me some kettle chips and have had nothing but good experiences with Cape Cod chips in the past. Their Sweet Mesquite Barbeque chips are some of the most flavorful chips I’ve ever had, while I’ve always found the chip texture — not too oily, folded over, and always displaying a solid crunch — to be top notch. With this in mind, you can imagine how pumped I was when I found out Cape Cod had launched several new flavors in their line of chips, prompting me to quickly head to the store to pick up a bag of the Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno chips to try.
We’ve blended the bold heat of the southwestern jalapeno with a touch of sweetness to create our new Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno. The result is a spicy, yet sweet flavor that is sure to please even the most discriminating jalapeño fans!
In the interest of full disclosure, I am usually not a “spicy” chip guy. No, it’s not that I’m a wimp (OK, maybe a little), it’s just that I really enjoy chips that retain an element of their natural potato flavor. With excessive spiciness this often seems to go away, and although I’ve enjoyed spicy chips in the past, I prefer variations in flavor that play off of more meaty or sweet flavor components. That being said, spice fans will love these, and even wimps like myself will enjoy them as well. Like every Cape Cod chip I’ve had in the past, these little guys have the familiar “folded over” texture that leaves the chips with a good crunch and great mouth-feel. They have just enough oil to make licking the flavoring agent enjoyable, but aren’t overly saturated or off putting. The oil itself doesn’t come across as old, and the neutral canola flavor is clean and doesn’t stand in the way of the potato. The batch reveals only a few burnt chips and it really shows they are crafted with care.
The first flavor I get is the salty-sweet flavor of dextrose and paprika, the kind of sweetness you’ll often get with a BBQ flavor chip. The sweetness is short lived and pleasant, giving way to a strong jalapeno flavor. The chip is spicy, but it has flavor to it, and the heat is in the moderate zone. I’m not getting some painful and mind-numbing heat, but rather a peppery flavor that reminds me of Tabasco sauce. As I crunch into the chips and begin to chew I pick up elements of the sweetness again, and am oddly recalled to several other chip flavors. There is an almost BBQ like flavor, along with something reminiscent in the seasoning of Utz’s famous Sour Cream and Onion chips. Finally, there’s a unity of spicy and sweet, and somewhere in my flavor archives I know I’ve tasted this chip before. Unable to identify the flavor exactly, I quickly dug my fist into the bag, and began crunching at will.
It is at this point that I began to notice that a glass of water might be in order. Like I said, I am something of a wimp.
Nevertheless I trudged onward, spurred by this unique blend of flavors and searched for an ample comparison to give you, my faithful readers, something better than the proverbial “OMG these were really spicy and sweet” description that a lesser food critic might resort to. After 15 or so chips it finally hit me, and although I’m not sure if it’s the most precise comparison, I swear that these carry a flavor oddly reminiscent of buffalo sauce. Not the “atomic” kind, but a more sophisticated, garlic-infused Buffalo sauce that for some reason is finished with brown sugar and smoked sea salt. My goodness, does such a sauce actually exist? I’m not sure, but if it doesn’t I called the trademark.
Pros: Real' jalapeno flavor that doesn't kill your taste buds, but doesn't leave you disappointed either. Nice 'southwestern' sweetness that contains hints of onion and garlic. Only 1 gram of saturated fat per serving. Great crunchy texture and artisan quality.
Cons: Not suggested for pre-date snacking. Admitting to GrubGraders that I'm kinda a spice wimp when it comes to chips. Having to go through the trademarking process.
Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Overall GrubGrade: 9.25/10
More Info: www.capecodchips.com
Cape Code Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Chips
Serving Size: 1 oz (Abouts 18 chips)
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Total Carbs: 16g