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Taste test: Baked pita chips

Pita bread without stuffings or toppings is pretty bland. Same goes for pita chips. Taster's Choice judges put six brands of pita chips to the test, and the result was a lot of crunch and not much flavor. But that was a plus for our judges, who decided bland is better when it comes to chips for dip.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
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Product/Score (out of 100) Stacy's/ 64 Archer Farms/ 63 Athenos/ 56
How'd it look? Square. Friendly. Like odd-sized puzzle pieces. Like the edges of the pita pockets. Like oversized corn chips.
Judges' comments Judges liked the plain crunch of these crackers. One described a warm sesame seed taste. "These are blond with a bashful, salty pita flavor," said one judge who called the chips "classic." "These are like fresh-baked chunks of heaven," said one judge who tasted garlic and zesty flavors. A couple of panelists said they detected corn flavors. Panelists figured these pita chips were made with really fresh ingredients because of their airy texture. One judge said he especially liked the "splendid combination of butter and salt."
Would they buy? Three of the four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information Widely available. $3.29 for a 6-ounce bag from Publix. Exclusively at Target stores. $1.69 for a 6-ounce bag. Widely available. $2.92 for a 6-ounce bag from Wal-Mart.
Also sampled: New York Style ($2.99 for a 6-ounce bag from Sweetbay, 43 points); Sami's Bakery ($3.49 for a 6-ounce bag from Nature's Finest Foods in St. Petersburg, 30 points); and Garden of Eatin' ($3.99 for a 6-ounce bag from Publix, 39 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and consumer/foodie John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: Baked pita chips 03/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 4:30am]
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