Chip Review’s Honorable Mentions – 2015

25 Chips to Christmas – 11 Honorable Mentions

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These chips nearly made our Top 25 of the Year, and deserve some recognition too!! (in alphabetical order)

Beanfields - Nacho
“These are really good!  Not – really good for a bean and rice chip – sorta good.  NO!  Really good for any type of nacho cheese flavored chip!”

“The onion presence is sweet and pungent, without being too pronounced.  The cool, sour cream is really enhanced with a good touch of tangy cheese.  All of the flavors work harmoniously, and surprisingly enough, do not overwhelm Cobs delicious popcorn one little bit.”

D'vour - Coconut Sea Salt

D’vour Tortilla Chips made with Real Coconut – Sea Salt

“And some of us at Chip Review were even excited to try the chips with nachos; melting a whole bunch of cheese all over them and seeing how the sweet, salty and cheesy combo works out.”

Herr's - Peppered Bacon

Herr’s – Peppered Bacon Potato Chips

“Seems like no matter how many times we try another poorly executed bacon flavored snack, we still get excited for the next one!!”

International Popcorn - Everything BagelInternational Popcorn - Cheddar Ranch

International Popcorn – Everything Bagel Popcorn

“Has popcorn replaced chips as the international favorite salty snack?!?  Well, we’re not sure if popcorn is as popular around the rest of the world but right now, here in the U.S.A. popcorn is booming!!”
Popsalot - Honolulu Aloha

Popsalot – Honolulu Aloha

“The few moments when we actually landed a mix of both the caramel corn and the macadamia nuts were, lights-out fantastic.  Those precious, porcelain, roasted half nuggets of unctuously rich macadamia nuts were amazing! WOW!”

Pringles - Wasabi & Soy SaucePringles - Salted Caramel

Pringles – Exclusive Flavor Wasabi & Soy Sauce

Pringles Limited Time Only! – Salted Caramel

“Turns out that it has been nearly 3 months since we reviewed any new Pringles!  THREE MONTHS!  While three months may not seem like that long of time to many of you, let us just tell you that in Pringles’ months we’re talking about a very long time between new reviews!!”

Snacks 101 - Less Mess White Cheddar Popcorn

Snacks 101 – The First Baked Popcorn – Less Mess White Cheddar

“Apparently, Snacks 101 has created “The First Baked Popcorn”….  Are they messing with us?  Can this be right?  Well, we can’t find any evidence to dispute them so let’s roll with it.”

Trader Joe's - Partially Popped Popcorn ...with Butter & Sea Salt!

Trader Joe’s – Partially Popped Popcorn …with Butter & Sea Salt!

“Trader Joe’s Triple P embodies a real strong corn essence, and flavor.  They do in fact look like those partially popped kernels you find at the bottom of the popcorn bag or bowl, except that they don’t break your teeth when you chomp down on them.”

Ziggys - Kickin Buffalo Wing

Ziggy’s Kettle Corn – Kickin’ Buffalo Wing with Himalayan Pink Salt

“Great combination of tangy, sweet, salty, zippy, spicy, zingy, sour-y, and did we mention spicy-spicy-spicy?!?  Seriously, lots of heat – WHOA!!”

** And here are 5 additional dishonorable mentions that we hope to never mention again… **

(in alphabetical order)

Old Dutch - Cheddar Bacon Popcorn

Old Dutch – Cheddar Bacon Popcorn

“First, the bacon aspect was not reminiscent of bacon but rather of standing in front of a camp fire.  Smoke, and smoke alone, does not make popcorn taste like bacon.”

Old Dutch Ripples Appetizers - Chicken Artichoke Flatbread

Old Dutch Ripples Appetizers On The Go – Chicken Artichoke Flatbread

“But, as for the taste – uhhhh…. we do not taste any chicken, artichoke or flatbread (not that we were expecting to actually taste the flatbread).”

Pop! - White Truffle Bliss

Pop! Gourmet Popcorn – Extravagant White Truffle Bliss Popcorn

“But, maybe it’s difficult to capture and accurately deliver the deliciously aromatic flavors of truffle onto popcorn?  Nope, we’ve tasted and reviewed a handful of truffle flavored snacks (predominantly popcorn), and most of them have actually been lip-smacking!”

Snyder's of Hanover - Raspberry Creme Sweet Pretzel Sandwiches

Snyder’s of Hanover – Raspberry Creme Sweet Pretzel Sandwiches

“Plain and simple these pretzel sandwiches are a sweet dessert treat that should not be included anywhere among salty snack section for any rhyme or reason.  These belong on the shelf next to cookies!”

Trader Joe's - Popcorn in a Pickle

Trader Joe’s – Popcorn in a Pickle

“Popcorn in a Pickle is not only not better than Trader Joe’s Baconesque, but it makes Joe’s cheddar bacon popcorn seem lip-smacking in comparison.”

**Chip Review’s Top 25 list of the Year consists of chips that we tasted and reviewed during the 2015 calendar year for the first time.  The chips are not necessarily new to the industry, but they were new to Chip Review in 2015!

REVIEW: Popsalot – California Cruisin’

Rating: ©-3/4 chips (return to sender)

Pops-A-Lot - California CruisinAlright, sometimes we feel a little bit bad when we end up giving a chip or puff or popcorn one of our unforgiving ‘return to sender‘ ratings.  But sometimes, we just have to do it!  And although sometimes we may question ourselves, there are other times we just know we’re right!  This is one of those times!  Sorry California Cruisin’ but we need to RETURN YOU TO SENDER!!

For those of you out there who require a bit more supporting evidence than just our opinion and word, may we point you in the direction of Popsalot’s website link below.  Please click on that link, and then search for this popcorn on their website…..What’s that you say?  It doesn’t exist?!  Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn has actually removed the flavor from their popcorn line-up!!  Now, we do not know for certain why it was removed, but if we were to speculate we’d assume that it was because no one liked it!  **Correction – sometimes we jump to our own assumptions without actually having any facts to back it up.  Luckily, we were contacted by Popsalot, and informed that:

California Cruisin’ was newly launched last year in specific regions and immediate demand for it was too high to keep any in stock for potential online sales.  We held off on adding California Cruisin’ to our website until we launched it nationally AND had sufficient production time to ensure that any online demand could be met.

To be completely honest, we were far and away the most excited about this flavor from all of the flavors we were sent by Popsalot.  There was just something very intriguing about the combination of caramel corn, almonds and meyer lemons.  We love tasting new flavor combinations.  And California Cruisin sounded unlike anything that we can ever remember trying – we were giddy!

Unfortunately…the end result of the California Cruisin’ flavor combination is nothing like we had imagined!  And, we do not mean that in a good way!  As far as the actual flavor execution goes, we must assume that it is spot on.  Why? Because the popcorn did taste just like sweet, smoky, vanilla-kissed caramel corn, tossed with some savory almonds (unfortunately once again, much less than we would hope for), and then there is an underlying presence, which slowly shifted to an overwhelming essence, of citrus-y Meyer lemon.  One taster even asked if they were eating orange dreamsicle flavored popcorn?!?!  Ewww is right!  Somehow the sweet, velvety, caramel flavor, mixed with nutty almonds and fruity Meyer lemons, combines to trigger memories of treats better acquired from an ice cream truck, rather than the snack aisle!

In the end, the flavor combination just didn’t work with popcorn, and rubbed every on of our tasters the wrong way!  Of course, that being said, we understand that our aversion to this flavor combination is subjective, and there are of course others out there who may very well love this unique combination!  Despite props for execution, and a unique willingness to push flavor boundaries, we’re sorry Popsalot, we simply did not love the California Cruisin’ combo!!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review from Popsalot for review

Popsalot Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©©notable

©©©©lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Popsalot – Honolulu Aloha

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips (lip-smacking)

Popsalot - Honolulu AlohaWell, ALOHA Popsalot!

This is some lip-smackingly fantastic caramel corn!  Seriously! Elegantly simple, with a rich, nutty, and definitely buttery, vanilla kissed caramel corn.  Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn is straight out of the 90210.  And, we’re pretty sure that even Brenda and Brandon Walsh would recognize the quality that Popsalot is putting forth here!

The Honolulu Aloha flavor is Popsalot’s ode to the Paradise of the Pacific.  A macadamia infused caramel corn that is tossed with slow-roasted macadamia nuts.  The combination is a match made in heavenly Hawaii!  The caramel corn is very large, extra light and fluffy, with the perfect golden crunch of caramel. We could definitely tell that this caramel was enhanced with the nutty essence of macadamias, and definitely infused with a good dosage of vanilla.  We would have really loved a light touch of some sea salt thrown in there to cut through all of the sweet; but that’s just us, and most people would probably be perfectly satisfied with an ultra rich and sweet caramel corn.

The few moments when we actually landed a mix of both the caramel corn and the macadamia nuts were, lights-out fantastic.  Those precious, porcelain, roasted half nuggets of unctuously rich macadamia nuts were amazing! WOW!  The roasted macadamias deliver this lightly roasted bitter flavor that cuts through the sweetness with a brittle crunch that eventually transforms into a creamy and fatty mouth finish. The combination of the caramel corn and the macadamias was a new one for us, and may we just say that macadamia nuts maybe the most perfect nut to mix with caramel corn ever!  So long peanuts!  Hello macadamias!!  The adult version of Cracker Jacks, for the more refined palette!

But wait….what’s that you say?!  Why did you guys preface the paragraph above with “those few moments…”?  Well, because those perfect handfuls that included both popcorn and nut, were really few and far between.  Seriously, it felt as if the entire bag contained a total of a dozen, okay maybe two dozen, macadamia nuts.  Either way, we expected a lot more. We ate far too many handfuls that included the caramel corn only.

So, there you have it, in a nutshell Popsalot’s Honolulu Aloha caramel corn is definitely some of the best caramel corn we have ever tried.  A terrific infused caramel coating the fluffy, air-popped kernels, combined with probably the perfect roasted nut, and simply slipping on its nut to corn ratios in our opinion.  Either way you pop it, or crunch it, we would certainly still suggest that you take advantage of those perfect nut and corn combo bites whenever you do spot this Honolulu Aloha on your store shelves.  You just may have some caramel corn leftover longing for  more of its macadamia buddies!

As always, these are our thoughts, we would love to hear what you think. Agree or disagree, let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review from Popsalot for review

Popsalot Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©©notable

©©©©lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list