Top Pick Of The Week

February 12, 2008

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Barbecue Potato Chips

Sweet and spicy Hickory Barbecue Potato Chips have superb, complex flavors, as do the enticing Parmesan & Garlic chips at the rear. Photography by Dhanraj Emanuel.

WHAT IT IS: Artisan potato chips.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Very crunchy and thick kettle chips in eight flavors. The Natural/Original is fine, but go for the flavors.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Super-crunchy potato chips worth throwing caution to the wind for. Complex, all natural flavors, developed with the gourmet palate in mind, put the majority of the flavors on the all-star team.

Boulder Canyon Potato Chips:

CAPSULE REPORT: The second potato chip to be named a Top Pick Of The Week is the polar opposite of our first. North Fork Naturals, the first top chip, offers classic potato and sweet potato chips. Boulder Canyon pulls out all the stops to present seven flavors plus “original” all natural potato chips.* These thickly-sliced, small-batch kettle chips are flavor-forward in a delightful way: You know what you’re tasting, and it tastes good. Whether as a casual snack with a beer, a more tony encounter with a martini, a side with a sandwich or a more creative pairing (garlic chips are killer with cucumber-yogurt dip), you’ll understand the difference between a chip off the same old block and a chip that belongs at the Ritz.
*There are also three crinkle-cut flavors.

The kettle chips are made in Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary, Hickory Barbecue, Jalapeño Cheddar, Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt, Parmesan & Garlic, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Spinach & Artichoke and Totally Natural/Original. We do have some favorites. Read the full review below to find out what they are.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Bowls For Champion Chips

Mikasa Bowl Portmeirion Garden Botanic Bowl Cabbage Bowl
Mikasa Neo Classic Footed Bowl. Anything would look good in this elegant bowl. It’s 12.4 x 6.6 inches of lead crystal. Representing Greek and Roman concepts of beauty, it arrives in a blue gift box. Click here for more information or to purchase. Portmeirion Garden Botanic Bowl. The classic pattern in a generous 10.75" square x 4-1/8" deep for holding chips, vegetables and other foods. Click here for more information or to purchase. Cabbage Serving Bowls. A set of 3 bowls from Pinzon in high-quality, fine grain earthenware are hand-painted, dishwasher and microwave safe. in 7", 9-1/4" and 11-1/4" diameters. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Boulder Canyon Potato Chips: Scrunchious




Since 1994, Boulder Canyon has been making thick, super-crunchy potato chips in the great outdoors of Boulder, Colorado. They attribute the freshest potatoes, cooked in small batched using a “top-secret kettle-cooking recipe.”

What makes the line taste so special is the thickness of the chip and the crunch, plus the good potato flavor and excellent seasonings. Wherever possible, fresh ingredients ares used—fresh herbs like chives and rosemary, real vegetables in the Spinach & Artichoke chip instead of “natural spinach and artichoke flavor.” The Totally Natural/Original potato chips even earn the label “Low Sodium,” with 135mg (5% daily value) per one-ounce serving, compared to 210 or more mg/ounce for other flavors.

For some reason, contrary to intuitive logic, the crunchiness isn’t as pronounced in the Canyon Cut (crinkle cut) versions (Salt & Pepper, Sour Cream & Chives and Totally Natural). They’re good potato chips, but the natural line are truly outstanding.

Chipping Away At Perfection: Great Chip Flavors

One couldn’t ask for more crunchiness—we’re willing to believe the company claims of a secret recipe. And we found almost all of the kettle chip flavors to be perfect. The two that we found slightly less so had their fans among our tasters—and both bags were emptied to the last chip.

  • Balsamic & Rosemary Potato Chips. A complex chip, flavored not just with aged balsamic vinegar, but with a heavy dose of mustard seed. The fresh rosemary gets lost in the shuffle of these two big seasonings, but who cares: the two power flavors rock in combination.

  • Hickory Barbecue Potato Chips. Flavored with tomato paste, slightly sweet from brown sugar accented with a good dose of garlic, these are an an excellent barbecue potato chip.

  • Jalapeño Cheddar Potato Chips. This chip provides a mild jalapeño buzz with a lingering Cheddar flavor. In such a competitive field, it didn’t turn our heads as much as the other flavors; but it’s an excellent choice for those who want jalapeño in their chips.

  • Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Potato Chip. The Brits call potato chips crisps, and dip their chips—a.k.a. French Fries—into malt vinegar instead of ketchup. The malt vinegar added to a potato chip is seductive. This flavor also offers a pure vinegar-flavored chip, as opposed to the mustard-vinegar Balsamic & Rosemary.

Balsamic Rosemary Potato Chips
A taste is worth a thousand words...or even one picture of these delicious Balsamic & Rosemary potato chips.

  • Parmesan & Garlic Potato Chips. The winner in our book, although other tasters had other preferences. As to why there aren’t more great garlic potato chips on the market, we won’t ask—as long as we have a steady supply of these.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper Potato Chips. A nicely peppery chip with a long, peppery finish. Pepper lovers: This is your chip.
  • Spinach & Artichoke Kettle Chips. While some tasters enjoyed this flavor, each time we tried it, the saltiness got in the way of any other taste (and in fact, it has the highest level of sodium/ounce of all the flavors). Maybe the salt shaker got out of hand in this batch; we’ll try it again another time.
  • Totally Natural Potato Chips. A light sprinkling of salt produces a quality, classic chip. But please, don’t let your “let’s start with the basics” get in the way of trying Parmesan, Malt, etc.

These are not “party potato chips” or “special occasion potato chips” or "impress your friends” potato chips—although they ably serve all of these functions. If you eat chips, you deserve these excellent chips every time you open a bag.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to potato chip lovers, people who throw cocktail parties, snackers extraordinaire and people who generally don’t eat potato chips because they’re “not worth the calories.” These are.

REGULAR: Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary, Hickory Barbecue, Jalapeño Cheddar, Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt, Parmesan & Garlic, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Spinach & Artichoke and Totally Natural/Original
CANYON CUT: Salt & Pepper, Sour Cream & Chive, Totally Natural

Certified kosher (dairy)

Available at fine retailers nationwide.

For more information visit

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. THE NIBBLE does not sell products; these items are offered by a third party with whom we have no financial or other relationship. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

Boulder Canyon Potato Chips
Grab a bag—or six. All of the flavors demand to be tried.


Check Out These Other Top Pick Of The Week” Snacks:


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