Rating: ©©©©-1/2 chips (lip-smacking)
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper – as classic a combination as there ever was. Sort of like Saratoga, N.Y. and horse racing, or Chip Review and…..well, chips of course!! Similar to the last bag of Saratoga Chips we reviewed, we have been meaning to get to these for quite some time now! Well, that time has come, and let’s get this race started!
We’ve reviewed a handful of Saratoga Chips in the past year or two, and we’ve really liked them all. If you’ve read any of those other reviews then you may want to skip over the the re-cap directly below; but for those of you who aren’t caught up on your Saratoga Chips history, you should appreciate the following. And so the story goes:
A patron at Moon’s Lake House ordered fried potatoes with his meal. The diner complained that the potatoes were too thick and sent them back to the cook.
The cook at the restaurant was George Crum, who is described as Native American in some accounts and an African American in others. There is agreement, however, on Crum’s disposition—he was generally ornery. Upset that someone would criticize his cooking, Crum sliced a new batch of potatoes paper-thin, fried them in boiling oil to a crisp, and then salted them.
But what was intended as a stunt turned into an instant hit – the fussy patron and his friends loved the “crunch potato slices.” Soon the chips became known as Saratoga Chips. At first they were served in restaurants throughout the region. When George Crum left Moon’s Lake Inn to start his own restaurant called “Crumbs House,” he placed large baskets of the chips on every table. It was not long before Saratoga Chips could be found in restaurants up and down the East Coast. Soon they became known as potato chips. (www.originalsaratogachips.com)
While it seems like some chip companies are perfectly content with simply sitting back and providing the masses with their edible salty snacks, other chip companies continually strive to deliver their fans with even better versions of their amazing products. Not only did Saratoga Chips invent America’s First Kettle Chip in 1853, but in the summer of 2014 (some 150 years later!!) the company has decided to only use Himalayan Pink Salt on all six of their chip flavors. As far as we know this is an industry first!
When it comes to salt & pepper flavored chips on the market today, there are really two different styles, or recipes. First, there are your purists, or minimalists. They like to keep it straight, and to the point – typically only four simple ingredients: potatoes, oil, salt and pepper. The recipe is a classic, but requires flawless execution and the highest quality of ingredients for them to actually taste very good. But, for one reason or another, this is not the style we find more often than not. Instead, the majority of salt and pepper flavored chips are much more complex. You can call it cheating, or you can call it brilliant, but brands such as Saratoga Chips prefer to up the flavor ante, by adding plenty of complimentary background flavors like onion and garlic to enrich the classic salt and pepper combo. Should we penalize these brands for veering off the classic S&P recipe path? We say, bring on the additional flavor depth, because we feel like the extra ingredients add dimension and character, and definitely flavor!
We have tried and reviewed a lot of salt and pepper flavored chips over the years, and we must say that this version from Saratoga Chips is a very fine addition to the flavor family. While they may not necessarily make our all-time Top 5 salt and pepper chips, we are pretty sure that if we extended this list to 10, they would definitely be in the running!
This salt and pepper recipe starts off with potent flavor notes of onion, and the finely cracked peppercorns. Throw in a dash of garlic, and a good level of salt, and you have a delicious seasoning blend that perfectly compliments Saratoga’s potato chips. Visually, the chips exhibit a very even distribution of finely cracked pepper, with a few larger peppercorn shell pieces scattered throughout. We really appreciated how each chip delivered a subtle yet spicy black pepper warmth in the back of our throats.
As great as this salt and pepper seasoning is, the real star is Saratoga’s kettle cooked potato chips. We really like how the chips appear as though they are going to be very crunchy, as the majority of kettle cooked chips are, but instead they are much more crispy than crunchy. A light and crispy crunch that is full flavored without hurting our teeth! And despite all of the seasoning covering these chips we could still taste the real potato flavor. Plain and simple, these are fantastic chips that we could devour every day.
As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.
Chips provided to Chip Review by Saratoga Specialties Company for review
The Original Saratoga Chips Official Website
Chip Ratings Scale:
© - return to sender
©© - tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
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