Walkers World Cup chips cross the pond
Last month I blogged about the Flavor Cup of Walkers crisp flavors (that's chips to us) which coincides with the World Cup of soccer beginning next week in South Africa. As it happens my only faithful reader is a Scottish guy named Elliott, and he offered to mail me as many of the bizarre flavors as he could find throughout his hometown of Edinburgh.
That's right: American guys have trouble returning a text, but Scottish guys will mail you an entire box filled with chips. Sign me up! The box arrived this week (and I'm tempted to devote a separate post to Elliott's shopping habits, which became apparent when I assembled all the receipts left in the plastic bags he used to cushion the chips -- when I saw "magnum" on almost every receipt I assumed his sex life was prodigious, but apparently it's a brand of ice cream instead) and I enlisted my only soccer-savvy friend, Brian, to help me sample the goods.
With beer to cleanse our pallets and a 1-10 scale to judge each packet of chips, we also tried to decipher whether a country's odds of winning the World Cup were in any way related to how delicious their chip flavor was.
Dutch Edam Cheese
Unlike the folks at Walkers, when I think of Dutch cheese I think Gouda. This bag, which smelled "a little bit like feet" according to Brian, was underwhelming in every way. While the chips didn't have the trademark orange hue that American cheese-flavored chips do, they also had very little flavor.
Odds of the Netherlands winning the World Cup: 11/1
It's been said that most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare. Which makes sense, since I practically had to dare Brian to sample these chips after he sniffed the bag. Haggis is essentially sheep organs that have been simmered inside the stomach; putting that essence into a chip translates into a surprisingly sloppy Joe-ish flavor, with the most offensive aftertaste of the entire experiment.
Odds of Scotland winning the World Cup: didn't qualify (sorry Elliott)
French Garlic Baguette
On the surface this flavor seemed like one of the most promising: the French are known for their cuisine, and who doesn't love garlic? But we were both disappointed with the bland flavor -- if we hadn't looked at the bag first, neither of us would have known there was any garlic involved.
Odds of France winning the World Cup: 16/1
Japanese Teriyaki Chicken
"Now this actually tastes like chicken," declared Brian. And yes, that was meant to be a compliment. While the color and odor of the chips was questionable, their poultry-laden delectability was not.
Odds of Japan winning the World Cup: 125/1
Spanish Chicken Paella
"These taste the way tomato plants smell!" announced Brian in disgust. The paella chips were the hands-down most revolting.
Odds of Spain winning the World Cup: 4/1
Argentinean Flame Grilled Steak
This vaguely meaty chip got good marks simply by virtue of following the complete shit that was the paella chip. I'm not sure the Argentine team will be as lucky.
Odds of Argentina winning the World Cup: 9/1
German Bratwurst Sausage
Cracking open this bag, Brian and I were slapped with a strong sausage odor; obviously a good sign. We were both pleasantly surprised that the chip captured the German brat essence as well as it did -- a definite contender.
Odds of Germany winning the World Cup: 9/1
Unlike the Brazilian team in the past, the salsa chip had "a terrible finish," according to Brian. The salsa made the chip taste like a strangely-sweet tomato.
Odds of Brazil winning the World Cup: 11/2
Elliott's favorite of the bunch left Brian and I questioning his sanity. The bag had a distinctly ketchupy flavor, while the chip itself tasted like a McDonald's cheeseburger that quickly dissolved into a pickley aftertaste. If this is what they think of us in Europe then we are clearly not well liked.
Odds of the U.S. winning the World Cup: 66/1
English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Second only to the Haggis in potential offensiveness, the English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding (and even after reading the Wikipedia entry, I still don't *totally* get what Yorkshire Pudding is) was a runaway success. It took the meaty flavor of the German chip and kicked it up 10 notches.
Odds of England winning the World Cup: 5/1
Italian Spaghetti Bolognese
When I think of Italy and the World Cup, I think of this terrible mullet (and the fact that Italy lost the World Cup in a penalty shoot-out). Walkers does a fair job of trying to erase that memory with an inoffensive faux-oregano flavor on these chips.
Odds of Italy winning the World Cup: 10/1
Australian BBQ Kangaroo
This flavor was the most highly anticipated -- until we read the ingredients and realized no actual kangaroo essence was used in the manufacture of the chip. Still, the chip offered a tasty smokey barbecue flavor despite the letdown.
Odds of Australia winning the World Cup: 100/1
South African Sweet Chutney
While the sweetness of the Brazilian chip was a turnoff, this mix of sweet and spicy proved to be a winner in the host country chip. "Spice and sass," said Brian.
Odds of South Africa winning the World Cup: 80/1
The surprising winner: English Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Meat and potatoes. It just makes sense. Which is why I'm choosing England to win my World Cup bracket. Now what should I send Elliott in return for all these chips?