Eastern PA chips & pretzels
I'm just musing a little bit. Man, we get some awesome chips over here. I picked up a couple bags the other day, on sale; Gibble's. I got a bag of curly chips and a bag of BBQ.
The ingredients of the curly chips: Potatoes, lard, salt. Man, are these good; even though they are fried in lard, they are infinitely lighter than Lay's or other national brands; it's like less oil stays with the chip. They are thin sliced and ultra crisp, "kettle" style but without the thickness. There is a purity to the taste that you just don't find in Lay's... that purity is called "potato".
The BBQ were also very good. I got them for my dad, who is a BBQ chip freak. They are also fried in lard. The BBQ flavoring isn't as sweet or as strong as other chips. They're ruffle cut and thicker than the curly chips. This is a decent chip to use with a ranch dip.
Gibble's excels at pretzels. Their thin pretzel is marvelous; it is crisp and bready with a little soda flavor, and well salted.
My favorite chips are made by Utz. I simply can't decide which I like the best, so I usually get a bag of Grandma Utz old fashioned thick cut, and a bag of russet chips. Both are cooked in lard, and both are kettle style. The russets are cooked very dark, and have a seriously deep potato flavor; they have a good crunch when you bite, and they flake when you crunch them. The old fashioneds are thick and salty and potatoey, with a serious crunch when you bite into one; man, what a good chip. I think that's what I like best about Utz chips; they have a superior mouth feel. Even though the Gibble's are a great tasting chip, they don't give that satisfying crunch like the Utz chips do.
Middleswarth has a big following, but I have to say, I don't get it. Maybe it's that you can get them in those big cans, I don't know. IMO they are boring, thin, tasteless and oversalted with little crunch.
Herr's has a big following, too, but I can't justify Herr's when Utz are sitting on the shelf right next to them.
For pretzels, you have to make the distinction between Snyder's Of Berlin and Snyder's Of Hanover. For me the hot ticket are the Snyder's Of Hanover, and the best Snyder's Of Hanover are the big sourdoughs. I think you can get these nationwide, no? Snyder's Of Berlin are buttery, with less salt and less crunch. I haven't gotten used to them, and because of that I probably never will, since I always buy either the Gibble's or the Snyder's Of Hanover.
Thanks for reading,