Somewhere early in our trip to Europe I got this idea in my head that I wanted to know what sort of snacks I’d be munching on if I were an American ex-pat during football season.

Note that I said “American ex-pat” and not a “European NFL fan” because from what I saw during two game days in London and one in Prague, the only people who care about the NFL in Europe are ex-pats, despite what Roger Goodell tries to tell us in his push for a second game a season in London, even though this season’s game still isn’t sold out. Of course my experience is only anecdotal at best, but when we went to what was supposedly one of the biggest NFL bars London, it was only the Americans watching the NFL. Everyone else was busy with the Premier League, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer and yes, German Bundesliga. (Which is just a fun word to say. BUNDESLIGA! Those kids were really upset over Brennen losing.)

Anyway, back to the chips. I had thought that we’d eat them along the way, but somehow I ended up dragging them from country to country and eventually back home, worried the whole time they’d get smooshed before the testing.

Germany – Pringles Paprika
Italy – Bruschetta with rosemary
England – Tyrell’s Stilton & Grape and Salt Marsh Lamb & Mint; Walkers Worcestershire Sauce and Roast Chicken
France – Lay’s Bolognaise
Switzerland – Snacketti Bacon Strips
Czech Republic -Bohemia’s Moravská Slanina (Moravian Bacon) and Chalupářský Špíz (Cottage Skewer)

Not represented from trip; Belgium, Netherlands, Liechtenstein and Monaco, mostly because I didn’t see distinct chips while passing through them. Italy’s entry is a a bruschetta toast, only because when I was in a store looking at their chips, they mostly had cheese puffs and not chips. Cheese puffs being my favorite of the pre-packaged snacks — don’t judge! — I couldn’t bring myself to buy a bag, just in case they were the best cheese puffs ever and I wouldn’t be able to get them back in the States and thus leaving me without cheese puffs for the rest of my life or moving to Italy.

The reviews as tasted by myself, Bryan and our friend Jeremy — aka, Mr. Beaks – during Sunday’s games.

Salt Marsh Lamb & Mint

Bry – Well, it does taste like lamb and mint.
Jeremy – Tastes like British food.
Sarah – … *silence*

Stilton & Grape

Sarah – I like them, but I don’t taste the grape. The Stilton isn’t overpowering, which is nice. But I’m a huge blue cheese fan.
Bry – I taste the grape. Also tastes very British. I would not eat any more of them. They’re not a chip you sit down and have with a beer.
Jeremy – They’re okay. I could eat them if that’s what I had, but if I had the Salt Marsh Lamb and Mint they’d be in the trash.

Snacketti Bacon Strips

Sarah – You can smell the bacon a mile away, and it’s amazing.
Jeremy and Bry – *Fight over the bag*
Sarah – Give them back to me! I need to take a picture.

Lay’s Bolognaise 

Sarah – I love these. It’s strangely one of the few times you can taste parsley.
Bry – Not bad. Like a milder barbecue chip. I don’t hate this one. It’s not the bacon chip, but they’re pretty good.
Jeremy – Like the bolognaise. I’d eat these again.

Bruschetta 

Sarah – Strong rosemary. They need a dip.
Bry – Too buttery.
Jeremy – Agreed.

Bry – When do we get back to the bacon chips?

Chalupářský Špíz (Cottage Skewer)

Sarah – Well, it is just like a kabob. A good kabob at that!
Bryan – These do taste like a kabob! I like the bolognaise better, though.
Jeremy – Tasty! They’re so perfectly the taste of a kabob I never need a kabob again, I can just eat the chips.

Moravská Slanina (Moravian Bacon)

Sarah – Hammy!
Bryan – Awful.  (2 reaction – Not as bad as I thought they were. The Roast Chicken chips reset bad for me.)
Jeremy – No, those aren’t very good.  (2 reaction – They’re alright. They just don’t do much for me.)
Sarah – You’re both crazy. It’s like a cold cut in a chip.

Roast Chicken

Sarah – No. Tastes like canned chicken, which is never a good thing.
Bryan – Don’t smell it, just eat them.
Jeremy – OOF! *Throws chips across room.*
Bryan – I feel like I should lick the dog to get the taste out of my mouth.  *Sneaks some of the bacon chips.*

Worcestershire Sauce

Sarah – They taste like Worcestershire. Kind of sweet, though.
Jeremy – Hope it doesn’t taste like a Manhattan. (Editor’s note: Years ago we were at some new hip downtown LA bar where Jeremy ordered his usual, a Manhattan. He took a sip and it tasted off, but he just thought it was him. After another few sips he handed it to me and said, “What does this taste like to you?” “It’s Worcestershire sauce. There is Worcestershire sauce in your Manhattan.” When we asked the bartender about it, she admitted she didn’t know what went into a Manhattan and was just guessing. It should be noted the bartender was very cute and nice, and Jeremy didn’t want to make her feel bad about the drink, so he switched to beer.)
Bryan – Spicy! That chip isn’t fucking around. It’s Worsestershire and it cleared my sinus.
Jeremy – Wooo hoo!

Paprika Pringles

Sarah – Good. They kind of taste kind of the bolognaise chips.
Bry – It’s hard to fuck up a Pringle.
Jeremy – Good!

The verdict? The overwhelming favorite was the Snacketti Bacon Strips from Switzerland, which strangely enough, didn’t have any bacon in them, just smoke flavoring. They’re a puffed potato starch, so you get the feeling of a pork rind, but without all the heavy greasiness. If they had these here, I’d bet they’d sell like gangbusters.

The runners-up were the kabob chips from the Czech Republic and the French bolognaise chips, with the paprika Pringles and the Czech bacon chips coming rounding out the testers favorites.

Immediately after testing, the Roast Chicken chips went into the trash, followed shortly after by the Salt Marsh Lamb & Mint. I saw roast chicken and thyme chips in England, so I’d be curious to see how they would taste next to Walker’s brand.

Any takers on the leftovers?

EDIT – I just realized what the Snacketti Baco Strips reminded me off other than pork rinds. Munchos. Thicker, less greasy, bacon-flavored Munchos.

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One Response to The Odd Chips of Europe: Football Foodie Abroad

  1. IJustMadeThatUp says:

    I can’t stress enough how truly hideous and tremendously nasty the Roast Chicken chips were. I don’t get it, either; you should just take a potato chip and flavor it with poultry seasoning. Instead, they took a CRISP and flavored it with sludge from the bottom of the Thames.

    Also, I’m very upset that the Swiss won out here. The Swiss deserve to win nothing, except my undying dislike for them. But darn it if they didn’t manufacture the Rolex of potato chips. Well played you holey-cheese-eating bunch of Neutralists.

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