Snack Review: NEW! Herr’s 1853 Kettle Chips
Ah, the 4th of July. Without a doubt the quintessential American holiday, with backyard cookouts springing up across households all over the country. Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Watermelon. And, of course, plenty of chips for your guests!
We here at GrubGrade know a little something about chips. While we’re partial to anything of the potato origin that gets a hot bath in the good stuff (ie. fat, preferably of the canola/peanut/sunflower variety), we particularly like Kettle Cooked chips, including those from brands like Cape Cod and Route 11. But did it ever occur to you that the humble potato chip has only been around for some 150 years?
Well it never occurred to me. That is at least not until I got a veritable history lesson on the origins of my favorite snack from a bag of Herr’s new 1853 Kettle Cooked chips. Aside from coming in four all-natural flavors (Original, Buttermilk and Herb, Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar, and Barbecue) each bag of Herr’s latest line of Kettle Chips also contains the wikipedia-verified story of George Crum’s invention of the chip in 1853. In the words of Jim Belushi in “Jingle all the Way”: They’re fun, AND education!
Make that darn tasty, as well.
I recently had the chance to sample all four of the chip flavors, and can tell you that they are exceptional both in texture and taste. Each flavor does a good job of capturing the natural flavor of the potato, while still adding enough seasoning to not get boring. The Buttermilk and Herb flavor has a tangy, rich taste, while the Barbecue chips have a smokey flavor that isn’t overly salty or loaded in dextrose.
Of all the flavors, I found the Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar flavor to be the best. Most Salt and Vinegar chips are a dime a dozen, so much so that I’ve never really found one particular brand superior or distinctive in taste to another. Not so in this case: when they say “Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar,” they mean it. The vinegar flavor is pronounced and clean. Not overbearing or mouth-puckering like many malted vinegar chips, it is instead slightly tart and sweet. There is a lightness about it, and it’s in only enhanced by the earthy back-notes of the sea salt. I didn’t feel as though the sea salt brought a different mouth-feel to the chips, but I did think it was distinguishable (and superior) from the salt used in most gourmet kettle chips. Above all, the flavors only accent the natural autumn and earthy flavor that one associates with potatoes. Neither too oily nor too thick, I liked how the chips were uniform in appearance, and how they maintained the structural integrity of the potato while still having some “puffiness” from the absorption of oil. I wasn’t the only one in my family who thought so highly of these chips: within a day, the 8 oz. bag was empty. Once again, the hermana was on a post-tennis camp prowl.
It seems like a new brand or style of chips is released every month. I’m fully aware that there are few brands of kettle chips out there that I’ve yet to like, but I honestly think that Herr’s is onto something with the 1853 line. The quality of ingredients is really top notch, and the flavors aren’t overpowering to the point where they mask the potato flavor. In fact, it’s this philosophy and attention to basic flavor profiles that accentuates the potato, and
Nutrition: Herr’s 1853 Kettle Chips (Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Flavor)
Pros: Unique variations on popular flavor profiles. A little heavier in texture than regular Herr's kettle chips. Fresh and memorable flavor. Not too salty. Good amount of surface oil. Uniform cut.
Cons: Not the strongest crunch in the world, while some air bubbles come across as hollow. Not as well caramelized as some kettle chips. Comes in only 4 flavors. Hard to find in stores (currently sold in KMART). Higher in saturated fat than other Kettle chips.
Price: 3.49 (Retail)
Overall GrubGrade: 8.75 (Very Good)
More Info: Check them Out (and get that history lesson): 1853Kettle.com