What do the holidays taste like to you? Is it the dark and playful taste of chocolate and peppermint? The warm, inviting sweetness of cinnamon and sugar? Or maybe it's pumpkin spice, a traditional baked favorite that's made a big splash in the snack game lately?
Whatever your answer might be, it's sure as hell not Pringles potato crisps.
The Kellogg Company is looking to change that. They've taken the potato-based snack most likely to be mistaken for a can of tennis balls to a festive new level with three limited edition holiday flavors—Cinnamon & Sugar, Pumpkin Pie Spice and White Chocolate Peppermint.
I have eaten all three. Should you?
I can understand your trepidation. Pringles processed potato hyperbolic paraboloids are a traditionally savory and salty snack. The closest I've come to a sweet Pringle in the past has been a particularly enthusiastic Honey Mustard, and despite my abiding love for that combination, they still seemed a bit off in comparison to the Original variety.
So when I first heard about these holiday flavors, my initial reaction was revulsion. It was only constant badgering of this one guy on Twitter that finally convinced me to give them a try.
The verdict? They are odd.
I'll elaborate more momentarily. First, note how none of the three varieties look much different than your average Pringle. I can imagine nothing more shocking than reaching into a can of plain Pringles and getting a mouthful of chocolate mint flavor. I don't normally condone snack trickery, but in this case you have my blessing. Record the reaction and upload it to YouTube. You'll be a meme-starter.
Now let me take these babies in my mouth, one-by-one.
The greatest feature of the Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringle is the scent. Pop open a can and inhale deeply; it doesn't get any better than that.
It really doesn't. The sweet flavor, vaguely reminiscent of pumpkin pie, teases the tongue with the promise of and holiday-themed favor journey, but falls to the salty crisp flavor as soon as your teeth break the surface. After eating a stack the taste in my mouth is exactly the same had I eaten a stack of normal Pringles.
For the best effect, lick the chips and then set them aside. Or just eat some pumpkin pie.
There are many food items that can be positively augmented via the controlled application of cinnamon and sugar. Baked beans. Cookies. Waffles. Hell, even ham tastes better with a dusting of brown and white. Potatoes do not.
That's not exactly true. Potatoes do taste more cinnamon and sugary with the mix, but the starchy meat of the root vegetable does not compliment the sweetness. Had the Pringles done this with sweet potatoes it would have been perfect. Instead we have a mildly off-putting crisp with that same brief splash of flavor as the Pumpkin Pie Spice.
They should have called this Cinnamon & Sugar & Salt.
The most flavorful of the three varieties, the chocolate and peppermint flavor lingers long after you finish munching. This is because every bite covers your lips and mouth in a thin layer of oil.
Despite looking like Baked Lays, Pringles are a fried potato crisp, dunked in oil with the best of them. Add a little peppermint oil, which is what I have to assume is one of the natural flavors listed in the ingredients, and you've got a noticeably oily snack. I can still feel them on my lips, and not a nostalgic, long-lost lover sort of way.
On the up side, we finally have a holiday flavor that manages to overpower Pringles' signature taste. It's not a very white chocolaty taste—it tastes like cocoa with a little peppermint in it, being sipped out of a mug made from a raw potato.
I'd like to think the Kellogg Company, like so many of us have, got so wrapped up in the holiday spirit that they did something stupid. Some people get drunk and sleep with a co-worker at the office party. Others spend more than they can afford in search on the "perfect gift". New Jersey decorates its entire southern half with hideous inflatable decorations. And Kellogg? Kellogg did this in my mouth.
I forgive you, Kellogg. Merry Christmas.
Snacktaku is Kotaku's take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands. Past critiques can be found at the Snacktaku review archive.