This time last year, I was basking in one of the most solidly enjoyable times of my life. As senior in college, I had the perfect schedule. I had busted my butt for three and a half years to get a cakewalk final semester, and I’d spend the majority of my days hanging out at Utah State sporting events, the local coffee shop, or the dining hall.
Ah yes, the dining hall. Where a fresh-faced, post mission Mormon studying education could order “The Adam” (Whole Wheat, Roast Beef, Spinach, Craisins, Red Onion, Tomato, Provolone) and where a bag of whatever kind of Frito Lay chip you wanted awaited you. As many as you wanted. All you can eat. All prepaid before the semester thanks to a academic scholarship. And, while I’d be flirting with the Armenian student serving me my Adam, all mine (the chips that is, not Ani or Ania or whatever her name was.)
Damn I miss those days. While you technically weren’t suppose to take food outside the dining hall, lets just say more than a few bags of chips would accidentally fall into my backpack. Favorites included Funyons and Baked Cheetos, but the 2 oz. bags of Sun Chips soon stacked up in my dorm room “stash” in no time. I’m not proud of what I’ve done, but to be fair, I kept the starving freshmen supplied.
Such began my love of Sun Chips. A love, I should add, which has taken a permanent hiatus since I graduated in May. There are just too many other snack options available these days, and given that my access to Sun Chips is no longer “free” nor offered in snack size bags, I haven’t had reason to return to even time-tested flavors like Harvest Cheddar and Garden Salsa (my favorite, Peppercorn Ranch, is apparently no longer sold). That was until the other day, when a coupon and grocery sale led me to grab the two “new” flavors of 6-Grain Medley chips. You’ve no doubt read Marvo’s account of the medicore Creamy Garlic flavor, and like my fellow snack food aficionado, I can’t find much redeeming to the less-than garlicy seasoning blend. But given that no one else has chimed in on the Parmesan and Herb flavor, I figure it was my fourth generation Italian duty to fill the world in.
The grain taste is certainly prominent when you take your first bite. Six grains might be new to Sun Chips, but I’ve always found the initial multigrain corn and wheat taste to be kind of dull, and this tastes a lot like it. That said, there’s a pleasant and altogether earthy sweetness with nutty and even meaty notes that comes on the backend, a seemingly real step in convincing me that the $2.50 spent on the bag wasn’t a lost cause.
I take a pause for that cause, but find it waning as I lick a chip and hardly notice the seasoning. At first I detect only a weak taste of parmesan and an even lesser taste of not-quite-defined ’herb’, and despite getting some seasoning on my fingers, I’m getting absolutely nothing when I lick the chip. What gives?
The structure, that’s what gives, and the lack of surface oil to facilitate the transfer of the seasoning. The ridge lines seem to deflect a lot of the seasoning impact, and obscure what otherwise is a decently sweet and umami flavor of the parmesan. When I lick it from my fingers it tastes like something I’d expect to get on a bag of chips with Mario Batali’s red clogs on the label, but when I bite through the chip it’s amazingly absent. All this begs the question, of course, for why we even need chips like this to get our Parmesan kick on. My suggestion? If you’re really a fan of good Parmesan and Herb flavor, just go buy yourself some good parmesan and fresh herbs and have yourself a nice toasted baguette party while watching The Chew. It might be more pretentious than that shirt Clinton Kelly has on, but hey, sometimes there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned snack food snobbery. Decent, but hardly authentic, and probably not the best way to try to rekindle my old flame for Sun Chips.
- Price: $2.50 (Weis)
- Ranking: 5/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 8%