Ever since pizza became America's most beloved food, snack food companies have been attempting to emulate its success. These red powder-dusted chips, crackers, and weirdly noncategorizable snacks dot the aisles of supermarkets and the counters of gas stations, tempting those who have a pizza craving, but neither the patience nor the proximity to actually get their pizza fix.
Food-flavoring technology has advanced a lot in recent years, to the point where we can make vodka that tastes like cookie dough -- but can we make something taste like pizza? We bought every pizza-flavored snack item in a one-mile radius of our NYC office to see if science has finally triumphed.
Our findings might surprise you.
Tomato flavor: 2/10 - Not much here, except for a slightly funky, plastic-like note that reads more like distilled, condensed tomato soup than the real thing.
Cheese flavor: 3/10 - These have a taste almost identical to normal Goldfish, but it's slightly tangier due to the presence of tomato paste. (You can see that they're a little bit redder than the average Goldfish cracker.)
Overall: 2/10 - The foundation is there, but that's it. These are just normal Goldfish with a hint of tomato.
Tomato flavor: 7/10 - These things taste almost exactly like a tomato. Like, almost disturbingly so. They're so tomatoey, they taste like a vegetable instead of a snack I should be enjoying. But you gotta give 'em props for keeping it natural.
Cheese flavor: 1/10 - On the other hand, there is literally no cheese flavoring in the Bissli at all. Upon checking the ingredients, I could find neither cheddar nor mozzarella nor Mexican blend nor Parmesan nor, well -- anything, really. Normally pizza is eaten with cheese, but apparently not in Israel [Ed note: this is produced by the Israeli company Osem]. Does "pizza" mean "tomato" in Hebrew? I will have to check.
Overall: 3/10 - "Pizza" does NOT mean "tomato" in Hebrew. I was cautiously optimistic about these when I saw them in the international food aisle, but they dashed my hopes for pizza. But hey -- if you really, sickeningly love tomatoes, check these things out.
Tomato flavor: 9/10 - WHOA. It does taste seriously tomatoey, and you can even see the tomato-red powder on top. Also, it looks the most like a pizza of anything so far.
Cheese flavor: 2/10 - Unfortunately, this is where the experience stops short. Nothing overwhelmingly present. There is a slight umami taste that I'll associate with a little bit of cheddar cheese, but that's it. Cheddar cheese seems to be the cheese of choice in pizza snacks. Where did these people grow up -- Wisconsin?! Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Overall: 5/10 - They've got the whole tomato thing down, but most pizzas have cheese on them.
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