Rating: ©©©© chips (lip-smacking)
Lay’s all new ‘Do Us A Flavor’ contest is back! Can we just put it out there that we really appreciate and love that Lay’s has made this an annual tradition! As humungous chip fanatics and consumers (just like you!), we cannot begin to tell you how giddy we get each time this contest comes around. Who would have thought that just two short years ago (when Lay’s brought us the likes of Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha, and of course our personal favorite, CHICKEN & WAFFLE!!), that this contest would become a THING? And in 2015, that THING, would be giving us the likes of Greektown Gyro, West Coast Truffle Fries, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and New York Reuben?!?
In case there are any of you out there who are still unfamiliar with this contest. Lay’s is once again offering up the chance for one lucky individual to win a million smackers (ONE MILLION DOLLAR$$) for creating an all new potato chip flavor. We’re assuming that there were thousands of flavors submitted, and Lay’s has narrowed it down to four finalists. Now it is time for us to vote on the best of those four! This year Lay’s has once again allowed the flavor creators to pair each of their unique flavors with a specific style of chip, ensuring the best delivery medium for the flavor. Let’s get down to business.
So far, we have reviewed Lay’s Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro chips, and Lay’s New York Reuben chips, and we must say that Lay’s has far, far exceeded our expectations thus far! Let’s see how Lay’s does with replicating the somewhat classic fried potato, truffle and cheese combo!
Next up: West Coast Truffle Fries
Submitted by: Angie Fu of Irvine, California
Chip Review’s flavor creativity rating (scale: 1 – 10): 5
Chip Review’s excitement for this flavor level (scale: 1 – 10): 3
While maybe only 10 – 15 years ago truffle fries were a delicious delicacy found only every once in a while on some great gastropub’s menu, today they are just about as common, or mandatory, of a menu item as burgers and beer!! Seriously, we feel confident that we could walk into any new gastropub that we have never tried before, take a seat at the bar, ask for a Two Hearted Ale, and some truffle fries, and both would be set down in front of us shortly thereafter. They are the safe potato chip choice. We think Celebuzz summed them up best when they said that they are the “Chip equivalent of: Taylor Swift…created for mass appeal.” In other words, Lay’s West Coast Truffle Fries are what we would call, the least original flavor from this year’s line-up. Does that necessarily make them bad in any way? No, it just means that they are missing that exotic chip flavor wow factor, and must rely more on execution and flavor accuracy. So, how did Lay’s do?
First of all, just like with the New York Reuben flavor, we feel as though Lay’s, or Angie, or whoever’s decision it was, have once again chosen the wrong chip for the flavor. Lay’s Wavy potato chips are probably our most favorite of their styles! They are fun, and crunchy, and rugged and WAVY! Truffles on the other hand, are classical, high end, delicate, and sophisticated ingredients that deserve a classic chip – aka Lay’s traditional potato chips. We just feel like the two would have been a more natural pairing.
As for the seasoning, well, like many people on the interwebs have already been indicating, the chips’ truffle-ness is on the subtle side. They do not encompass a very powerful truffle aroma, and you really have to crunch a handful of chips to actually distinguish that undeniably unique, funky-earthy flavor… BUT!! Let it be known that we actually appreciate their subtlety, as it is likely the result of Lay’s decision to use real black truffles (albeit, a very miniscule amount), as opposed to the easy out – otherwise known as truffle oil (For some reason, back in the ’90s, truffle oil became an acceptable—even desirable—ingredient for chefs to use. Coming in at a fraction of the cost of real truffles (which vary year to year, but generally run in the thousands-of-dollars-per-ounce range), it seemed like an easy way to add some truffle aroma to an otherwise boring dish. Problem is, truffle oil isn’t even made from truffles. It’s made from an organic compound called 2,4-Dithiapentane—derived either naturally or from a petroleum base—mixed together with olive oil.”) Serious Eats
Getting back on track, we’ve tasted, and reviewed, a handful of truffle flavored snacks (predominantly popcorn) over the years, and we are happy to say that these Lay’s are among some of the best! Not the most truffle-y, but just overall a tasty chip. The chips succeed on hitting all of the necessary flavor notes: a little garlicky, a dash of salty cheese – parmesan or romano, parsley for color, and a touch of the earthy truffle. The combination of course works, and delivers a very savory chip. Probably our most favorite aspect of these chips were the inclusion of DUCK FAT!!! That’s right, fat rendered from that annoyingly voiced Donald character! In fact, believe it or not, but our most favorite variation of truffle fries are fried in duck fat, and actually come from a place called Duck Fat Tavern!!
Overall, Lay’s Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries are a lip-smacking addition to the ‘Do Us A Flavor’ Alumni team. If they would have been released with last years group we would have declared them our favorites, but it just so happens that they are competing against some really stellar flavors this year! That’s just how the chip crunches. There you have it, another ‘Do Us A Flavor’ flavor down, only one to go. So, unless Lay’s Southern Biscuits and Gravy are an abomination (and from what we’ve heard, they are not), it is official 2015 is ‘Do Us A Flavor’s’ best line-up ever!
Chip Review’s All-time Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ rankings:
10. Mango Salsa
Still to taste: Southern Biscuits and Gravy!! Stay tuned for our review very soon.
As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.
Chips ordered online from Walmart
Voting starts on July 27th, so make sure you go to the link below, and let Lay’s know which flavor should stick around for longer than a minute!!
Chip Ratings Scale:
© – return to sender
©© – tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
©©©©© – “A” list