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Taste test: white corn tortilla chips

Tortilla chips are a staple at any party and close to a major food group in many college dorms and apartments. So, we asked a panel of future food writers to sample 10 brands of white corn tortilla chips. This week's guest panelists are all University of South Florida St. Petersburg students enrolled in a course called Writing About Food. The scores for these chips were close, and so was the examination they got from these meticulous tasters.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Hannaford 58Santitas 55Snyder's of Hanover 54
Judges'

comments
Our cost-conscious judges learned they don't need to pay for big-name brands to get big taste in tortilla chips. Sweetbay's store brand met all the requirements for a great tortilla chip: They were sturdy, easy to dip and tasty. "They have a nutty flavor, like a walnut," said one judge. One panelist, who ate the entire sample bag, said she liked the chips because they had a decent amount of salt, but not too much. "They are delicious," she said, followed by "Where's the salsa?" Found in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store, these chips tasted homemade and authentic. "They are crunchy with pretty coloring, almost like brown polka dots," said one judge. "They have the right amount of salt and seem to be strong enough to hold my salsa desires." Another ranked these chips high for their flexibility. "You could eat them with your favorite dip or alone and they would still be great."These chips looked the most like the white corn from which they were made. "They look pale and a bit flimsy, but they will surprise you," said one panelist. "They are pretty, pleasing, very crunchy and have medium salt levels." Another judge liked the bold flavor. "Finally, a restaurant-style chip I can actually imagine in a restaurant," she said. "At first glance they look dainty and bland, but they will surprise you. These chips will hold up against the chunkiest salsas."
Would

they buy?
Two of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.19 for a 12-ounce bag from Sweetbay.$2 for an 11-ounce bag from Publix.$3.34 for a 16-ounce bag from Publix.


Also Sampled: The Fresh Market ($3.39 for a 16-ounce bag, 44 points); Mission ($2.98 for an 18-ounce bag from Walmart, 40 points); Publix ($2.39 for a 9-ounce bag, 38 points); Garden of Eatin' ($6.29 for a 22-ounce bag from Sweetbay, 29 points); Xochitl ($4.09 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix, 24 points); Tostitos ($2.98 for a 13-ounce bag from Walmart, 23 points); and Great Value ($1.98 for a 13-ounce bag from Walmart, 4 points).

Panelists: Krystal Blais, Angela Blockburger, Jamie Kennedy and Hannah Shults. All foods were tasted blind.

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

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeOne ounceOne ounceOne ounce
Calories150140130
Fat/Fiber8g / 1g6g / 2g5g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 80mg0g / 115mg0g / 110mg
Carbs/Protein18g / 2g19g / 2g21g / 2g

Taste test: white corn tortilla chips 11/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 4, 2013 5:41pm]
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