Ah yes, mozzarella and marinara – the Italian M&M’s.
Actually, in my case, it’s “mutzadel and madanada.” I make no apologies for the way I pronounce these words.
Not to further sound like a stereotype but I’ve probably eaten mozzarella and marinara more than any food in my lifetime. Between pizza, Sunday sauce* dinners, mozz sticks, fresh mozzarella balls, meatball subs, etc. I was practically raised on ’em. If I had my own food pyramid, mozzarella and marinara based foods would have a section and said section would probably be right beside potato chips. (I never said I had the healthiest diet.)
As much as I love all the foods mentioned, I’m not an elitist snob about it. I still enjoy chain pizza, string cheese, or your run of the mill fast food mozzarella stick. For all these reasons, I felt like I would be a great judge for Ruffles’ Mozzarella ‘N Marinara chips.
Right out of the gate, these chips nail the smell. I got all the elements I wanted –- tomato sauce, cheesy tanginess, and a bit of onion and garlic. It was a good start.
The taste absolutely delivered on that smell.
There’s a tangy flavor that for a split second that actually reminded me of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. The cheddar quickly morphed into a milder mozzarella flavor. That flavor is definitely more along the lines of a Polly-O/Sargento/Belgioioso store-bought cheese, but like I said, I like em all. Oh, and cheddar is listed in the ingredients if you’re wondering.
The tomato sauce flavor rides the line perfectly. It doesn’t overpower the mozz in any way and actually takes a backseat to what I assume are Italian breadcrumb flavors. Even though these aren’t technically called, “mozzarella stick,” they taste like ’em to me. The Italian style herbs, garlic, onion, and parsley flavors you expect from the fried outer coating are all there.
The aftertaste is distinctly that of a mozzarella stick dipped in a cup of marinara. The flavors are perfect, but if I have one complaint it’s that I could have used even more of it.
I don’t normally want my chips saturated in finger-painting flavor dust, but I could’ve used even more of a coating. This is a very minor nitpick.
While mozzarella sticks are obviously an opposing texture, the ridged Ruffles were the best choice for this flavor. Regular Lay’s style chips would have been too flimsy and greasy. Plus, as a dumb child who choked on mozzarella sticks on numerous occasions, these are much safer to eat!
I’m struggling to find many other complaints. Besides wanting a tad more flavor, I did get a little agita after eating about four servings of these, but you gotta expect a little agita after eating mutzadel and madanada.
These were exactly as advertised for me. Cheddar and Sour Cream are in my pantheon of great chips, and I loved the All Dressed variety, but these might be my new favorite Ruffles.
(Nutrition Facts – about 11 chips – 150 calories 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 8.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Extra crispy mozzarella sticks. One of the better flavor translations Frito Lay has done. Not as big a choking risk as real mozzarella sticks. Reminds me of all my childhood favorites.
Cons: A little agita. Could probably use more flavor dust. *I don’t wanna hear your crazy “gravy” arguments.