Fiesta fondue! That's what Taster's Choice judges called the nine brands of chili cheese dips sampled for the sake of Cinco de Mayo. The ready-to-serve dips make it easy to party: no need to heat cheese, slice peppers or blend spices. The favorites were familiar brands that come to mind when the tortilla chips are opened.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||Tostitos Salsa Con Queso/66||Fritos Chili Cheese Dip/46||EatSmart Flame Roasted Salsa Con Queso/45|
|How'd it look?||Medium yellow, orange with tiny dots of pimiento.||Beige with green chunks.||Deep, thick and orange.|
|Judges' comments||This had a nice bite with a bit of a kick. Gooey and good, said one panelist, who liked the spicy flavor. Another detected a lot of pepper in the blend.||Yellow and mellow, said one judge who thought the flavor would be good for children because it was a bit flat. Another pointed to cumin and vinegar in the mix.||"This has a great, firm texture like thick pudding," said a judge who loved the mild taste. Another judge said the dip was probably a bit too thick for fragile chips. It stuck to the spoons.|
|Would they buy?||Three of the four judges said yes.||One of the four judges said yes.||One of the four judges said yes.|
|Shopping information||Widely available. $3 for a 15-ounce jar at Wal-Mart.||Widely available. $3 for a 15-ounce jar at Wal-Mart.||Widely available. $4.29 for a 15-ounce jar at Publix.|
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 Times food critic Laura Reiley. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.