Rating: ©©©©-3/4 chips (lip-smacking)
Truth be told, here at Chip Review headquarters we keep a small glass jar of dehydrated, and pulverized, habanero chile peppers. In other words, pure habanero powder, or dust. Just a little dash can spice up the tamest of dishes, and a spoonful could make the most experienced chile head begin to sweat bullets, and reach for the milk jug. So, in other words, here at Chip Review, we like the heat, and we certainly love (and respect) the habanero!! So, let’s just say that when we saw these Grilled Habanero chips included among the four flavors from the wonderful people at Paqui Tortilla Chips, we were very pleased!
First and foremost, let’s talk about the tortilla chips themselves. WOW – truly top notch execution! Extremely light, crispy, and flaky corn tortilla chips, with a very strong corn masa flavor presence. These are tortilla chips of the highest caliber! Some chip reviewers actually prefer tortilla chips with a bit more hearty texture, and toothsome crunch, but the majority were definitely proclaiming Paqui tortilla chips just the way they are! They really taste like fresh “restaurant” chips that have emerged warm and crispy (minus the warm of course) from the fryer. You can take this as you wish, but we’d even call Paqui’s tortilla chips, very much akin to Doritos’ air pocket filled, light and flaky chip recipe. And in our books, that’s quite the feat because we all know that Doritos has been making some great tortilla chips for a very long time!
The grilled habanero flavor, initially, did not seem as if it was going to bring the spicy heat, nor the flavor, levels that we were hoping, or expecting, it would. However, as is so often with sneaky, delicious, complex chips, the flavor was actually there, and the heat was most definitely there, we just had to give our taste buds a second to adjust to Paqui’s staggering flavor compound!! We actually should have used that second to prepare ourselves for what came next.
This seasoning combination is flavorful, in an understated, aromatic, sort of way. The chips encompass tangy, citrus notes in the background, and almost a creamy “cheese” powder essence in the forefront, (despite there being absolutely no inclusion of any such dairy product among the ingredients list). The addition of cayenne is apparent, but it does not over power the habanero one bit. Present, of course, were the seemingly always inclusive flavors of garlic and onion, there to help compliment and tame the powerful habanero chile heat. To top it off, the chips were perfectly salted.
Speaking of the heat – HOLY COW! We could use some milk right about now! Paqui’s Grilled Habanero Tortilla Chips are some spicy chips. The longer we sat there, after only a couple of chips (OK, you’re right, you caught us, a few handfuls), the hotter and hotter our mouths became! Then our hairs began to tingle, our hearts began to race, and our brows began to sweat, and all we could think was “hold on, the milk is coming…” Plain and simple, these are spicy chips, no doubt about it.
Apparently, Paqui [pah-kee] is the Aztec word meaning “happy”. Well, lets just say that we are certainly happy to give Paqui’s Grilled Habanero tortilla chips a rating of four and three-quarter chips, both for being lip-smacking, but also for being lip-burning!! Paqui’s Tortilla Chips are certainly among the elite that we have tasted this year, and have easily placed themselves in contention for Chip Review’s Top 25 Chips List at the end of the year!!
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 Paqui Tortilla Chips for review
Chip Ratings Scale:
© – return to sender
©© – tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
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