Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Cheese Doritos

Having just ingested quite a few of these, I figured I'd do the review while the aftertaste was still fresh in my mouth. It's funny, I love salty things, and I can't really put my finger on why these taste too salty even for me - because they're not - but they're overwhelmingly salty without actually being such. It's bizarre.

But that's Winter Cheese Doritos for you, enigmatic. I know that Frito Lay is an American company, and that in Japan, Western/American holidays are becoming more and more widespread in celebration. (Halloween was virtually unheard of whenever I was there and whenever we were learning through that US high school filter & through a teacher who had been in Japan the better part of a decade, but now via ex-pat blogs and other sources like ESL teacher friends, Halloween is actually starting to be celebrated as a regular sort of holiday) Americans like swiss cheese. I've worked in a deli before, I've shopped in the refrigerated section of my local grocer, I know Americans buy swiss cheese. Finally, the chips are in the shape of xmas trees. American manufacturer, a flavor Americans probably wouldn't hate, and a Western holiday. Why are these chips only available in Japan? Yeah, I went off on a whole-paragraph tangent about this. Because it is just so weird. Japan has xmas decorations, they have xmas cakes like in the UK, but the UK also has xmas cakes. No one else has Douglas Fir Doritos that taste like swiss cheese (powder).

As for the taste, texture and all things relevant to the actual physical snack, the bag has a picture of a wedge of swiss cheese and calls itself Winter Cheese. The description on the back of the bag asserts that they are called "Winter Cheese" because they've, "sprinkled snow-colored, rich cheese onto Doritos." It also goes on to say that you should, "get the fun feeling of winter through this exciting tortilla chip," or some approximation of that. So how does the actual taste stack up? As I said above, there's this odd saltiness that is not salt. They do have that typical Doritos "overpowering corn chip" undertaste, too. There is a cheese taste there that is vaguely swiss, but it could just as easily be renamed any other cheese and the placebo effect would probably dictate that it's muenster or cheddar successfully if they're put those cheeses on the package. Which, I realize there's only so much you can do with chemical cheese powder.

The texture, which I've tried to capture, but didn't really do successfully (the auto-focus wouldn't cooperate), it normal corn-y Dorito on one side, and it almost looks glazed and feels borderline waxy on the other side. For as drenched in cheese as the waxy side feels, like I said there isn't that much of a cheese taste there, if anything the taste of the corn chip comes shining through more than anything.

The tree shape gimmick is what initially snared me, and I don't hate swiss cheese. Overall these weren't bad, but would I buy them again? Probably not.

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