It’s wiffle ball season!
That’s right, world, it’s that glorious time of year when the few, the proud, the scrappy bust out their perforated plastic golf balls and toss up curves for this 1953 riff on baseball, but before you grab your yellow plastic stick and funky white ball, you’ll need to make sure you have a snack to keep you sharp. Something crunchy. Something easy to transport. Something made with smiles and whole grains.
Well, alongside the 15 billion other curious ingredients, Pepperidge Farm seems to have hit the nail on the head, and, knowing that there’s nothing like and a little fake cheese dust to perfect your wiffle curve, they have brought forth their new Goldfish Puffs, here represented in cheddar bacon form.
These little fishies are a specimen of the cheesy poof in a shape reminiscent of Pac-Man if he had a fin, a quality that, had it been on the real Pac-Man, probably would have helped him get away from those ghosts a little easier. The fin also serves as a great handle to carry each poof as you pop it into your mouth.
And are these ever easy to chomp. They don’t quite hold the Styrofoam-peanut texture of classic cheese puffs, nor do they sustain the crunchy-nibby sensation of Crunchy Cheetos, but settle somewhere in between: puffy, but still slightly dense with a crunch that it makes me wonder if these were a cracker sent through Mr. Poofinator [the name of the robotic Cheezy Poof maker].
As with all cheesy poof varietals, it is the cheese dust that ultimately makes or breaks the game, and, boy howdy, is there plenty of that dust here. Opening the bag sends a gust smoky, cheddar-filled powder into the air. You may fear this will eliminate said dust from your eating experience, but fear not! There is plenty of this fine grain to go around, spreading kindly to your fingers during the eating experience so that you may consume it after your poofs have been devoured.
Speaking of devouring, the flavor of these poofs starts out with a sharp cheddar tang, highlighting the nutty/beefy aspects of cheddar. Unlike the original Goldfish cheddar crackers, this cheddar bites back. What’s curious is that, unlike Cheetos, which leaves its poofs in an unflavored cornmeal state, the interior cornmeal of the Goldfish poof is enhanced with cheddar, giving each fish extra cheddar oomph. I dare say it hinges on too much cheddar, but, if I had a craving for a sharp cheddar blast, I might dive for these. What follows after this cheddar barrage is the “bacon” flavor.
I often subscribe to the School of Everything’s Better with Bacon, but, let’s face it: bacon can be an assertive flavor and, if not treated with care, will stomp all over your sandwich, maple-glazed doughnut, or, in this case, cheese puff. Here, the bacon flavor translates to smoke, char, and that jar of artificial bacon bits you’ve been ignoring in your refrigerator for the past seven years.
According to the puff’s rather extraordinary list of ingredients, I’m guessing the culprit to be the “bacon flavored lard,” although it may also be the ferrous sulfate. Now, I could support bacon-flavored lard if it supported the cheddar flavor, but, when it overpowers with a flavor reminiscent of Oscar-Mayer-gone-awry, it’s doing a disservice to an otherwise pretty tasty snack.
Despite the taste flaws, there’s something to be said for a product that’s ambitious: a product that gives a new shape/flavor on an otherwise old timey favorite. These cheddar bacon puffs? Definitely ambitious. They’re made with whole grains, they come in the shape of smiling fishies, and the cheddar flavor is muy fuerte.
Sure, the bacon flavor may not be doing them a service, but I could foresee liking the regular cheddar puff variety if I had a hankerin’ for sharp cheddar. They could use tweaking on the flavor edge, but they’re a bold product. Props for that, Pepperidge Farm.
(Nutrition Facts – 41 pieces – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Other Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Puffs reviews:
Junk Food Guy (Buffalo Wing)
Item: Pepperidge Farm Cheddar Bacon Goldfish Puffs
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Ambitious. Loads of cheese dust. Sharp cheddar everywhere. Cheddar-enhanced poof. Crunchy-poofy texture. In the shape of happy fishies. Made with whole grains. Mr. Poofinator. Wiffle ball season!
Cons: Bacon flavor reminiscent of char and 7-year-old bacon bits. Sharp cheddar gets overwhelming. Realizing cheese dust has similar effect as pollen. Questionable origins of “Bacon-flavored lard.”