In the U.S., there has been a bit of hoopla in the snack aisle recently as Lay’s has introduced three new flavours for its consumers to vote on to determine which one becomes a regular addition to their lineup: Chicken & Waffles, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Sriracha. At least, that’s how it was supposed to work, but despite Cheesy Garlic Bread winning, all three were brought back. Go figure.

But that’s neither here nor there. Well, it’s there, but not here in Canada. Instead, we have four flavours of our own to choose from, and I’m checking them out right here. As for the voting, maybe it’s all a sham, given the above, but we’ll see.

The first one I tried was the one I was looking least forward to, but my wife made the call when I asked “which should we open first?” And so I have to live with Grilled Cheese & Ketchup:

podium-orangeThe cheese we need. The ketchup we deserve.

Has Grilled Cheese & Ketchup ever let you down? After a successful career in sandwiches, it’s taking the flavour of melted cheddar cheese and tangy ketchup to chips. From the kitchen to the aisle, Grilled Cheese & Ketchup has a track record like no other. And it doesn’t plan on letting you down any time soon.

Campaign Manager: Angela Batley from Ottawa, ON

Inspired by… The wonderful memory of running home from school at lunchtime to be greeted by a delicious grilled cheese sandwich made by my mom, with ketchup on the side for dipping.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup, catsup, or whatever variation you want to use with it. It just seems bizarre to me, but maybe I’ll try it sometime. Worst case scenario, I figure it will taste like a cheeseburger, minus the burger.

Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of ketchup potato chips, regardless of brand. A bit too strong and vinegary for me– I can manage a few, but that’s it. They’re otherwise wasted on me.

But these? I like these more than regular ketchup chips. The cheese flavoring helps mute it a bit, and I find the taste a bit more tolerable, bringing out the best of the ketchup flavor without being too overpowering. The cheese taste kind of sits in the background, though, with the ketchup taking center stage… perhaps in the same way one might expect it to in its inspiration.

Even so, I can’t say I care for these too much. Half a bag is left, and it’s a struggle to even imagine getting through the rest, so we went ahead and moved on to our next contender, Creamy Garlic Caesar:

podium-greenA Seasoned Conqueror.

Friends, countrymen, chip eaters – lend us your mouths. Finally, with the flavour of parmesan cheese, garlic and onion, Creamy Garlic Caesar chips have arrived for all to savour. It’s conquered taste buds before and can’t wait to be the next great Lay’s® flavour. May your palates be indulged and your votes be certain.

Campaign Manager: Jill Munro from Vancouver, BC

Inspired by… Caesar is the king of salads and parmesan is the king of cheese. Who wouldn’t want the flavours of a Caesar salad and the crunch of a crouton combined into one potato chip?

Now these are a little more like it. While there isn’t much “creamy” about the taste that I can tell, I can definitely pick up on the garlic and Parmesan (spell check says it’s supposed to be capitalized… but it also says the “u” in “flavour” is wrong) spoken of in the description. And there’s apparently onion in there, too? I didn’t even notice. I can sort of see it– er, taste it– but the garlic and Parmesan are what steal the show for me. That said, I can see fans of Sour Cream & Onion appreciating this one.

Strangely enough, these remind me of something else. I think I had a flavor like this from another brand, though I can’t quite place which.

That leaves us with two left, starting with the most notorious one on either side of the Canada/U.S. border and the one I’ve most been looking forward to, Maple Moose:

podium-redGo North and Prosper.

It doesn’t get more Canadian than Maple Moose. And it’s no surprise this unique combination of sweet maple and smoky grilled meat flavours is in the running for the next great Lay’s® flavour. Keep your stick on the ice and don’t be sorry about voting for the most patriotic flavour on the ballot.

Campaign Manager: Tyler LeFrense from Isle Aux Morts, NL

Inspired by… During the fall season in Newfoundland, the taste of Moose cooked in Maple syrup is a big local dish! MMMMM!

Most people expect something sweet out of this one, and I’m here to tell you that just isn’t the case. Just as the descriptor above says, while there is a hint of maple syrup flavouring involved, it’s not sweet like the Chicken & Waffles flavour down south. No, this one boldly runs in the other direction.

I couldn’t tell you what a moose tastes like, but the smoky part seems accurate enough to the taste. In fact, I’m not a bean-lover, either, but my wife swears by the flavour resembling that of maple barbeque baked beans. I’ll take her word for it.

Despite her being more into that dish than I am, it turns out I enjoyed this flavour more than she did. And while it’s good, it’s not one I can imagine eating all that often. As a limited-time novelty, this flavour certainly succeeds, but will it have staying power? That remains to be seen.

And finally…

podium-blueFrom Grandma to You!

Back in the old country, when sweet Grandma served it, Perogy Platter never dreamed of being a chip flavour. But when you’re made of all the right stuff, like sweet sautéed onion, sour cream and the flavours of cheddar cheese and smoky bacon, becoming the next great Lay’s® flavour seems more like destiny than just a dream.

Campaign Manager: Lucas Crawford from Edmonton, AB

Inspired by… The experience of flying home to Edmonton, driving straight to a local diner at the edge of town, and tucking into their delicious perogy dumplings gives me the comfort that I’m home.

I figured something was up with this flavour for a while before trying them. After this whole endeavor was announced, I tried finding these four new Canadian flavours locally, but to no avail. It was only when picking up some supplies for the beach at Walmart that I first laid eyes on the quartet, and my wife told me to just get two– Grilled Cheese & Ketchup and Maple Moose– and we would come back for the other two later.

Later came, and I was in for a shock: The two flavours we’d picked up, along with Creamy Garlic Caesar, were all that was left anywhere in the store. The Perogy Platter had been cleaned out, and I knew there had to be a reason.

Just yesterday, I finally came upon the chips near my home and grabbed a bag of the Perogy Platter so I could finish this article. And folks, I think we have a winner.

In my humble opinion, the best were saved for last. The flavour isn’t unfamiliar, truth be told– Ruffles has something reminiscent of it in their Loaded Potato Skins variety. These seem rather similar, as both are mixing the flavours of bacon, cheese, onion, sour cream, and potatoes, but these aren’t quite as strong as their ridged counterparts, either.

After trying all four types, Perogy Platter is definitely the favourite in this household, though I’d say the Creamy Garlic Caesar is a close runner-up. Both are familiar, yet slightly different, but going with what works seems to play into their favour here, while the more unique varieties might be a little too daring for their own good.

With all of that said, I know which one has my vote.