The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Impulse Buy of Fail: Danielle's Spicy Carrot Chips

There be doom inside.

I rarely talk about snacks on this blog. That's because I rarely eat them. Most of my life is planned around full meals; by the time I waddle home from said meals, I'm too stuffed to eat anything else. Unless I'm planning a get-together where I can share foods like candy, ice cream, and chips, I rarely get the urge to buy them for myself.

But while I was shopping at Whole Foods after work last night, I spotted Spicy Carrot Chips by Danielle in the snack section and thought, "I like raw carrots. And cooked carrots. And carrot juice. Maybe I would like...carrot chips."

[INSERT GRATING BUZZER NOISE THAT SIGNIFIES FAILURE.] That was a stupid thought; carrot chips are nothing like carrots in raw, cooked, or juiced form. If I ate vegetable chips more often I'd probably know that. But seeing the chips reminded me that one of my favorite snacks when I was little was Hain's carrot-flavored corn chips. If I liked those, maybe I would prefer chips packed with 100% PURE CARROT POWER. That's pretty much what Danielle's chips are: the ingredients are just fresh carrots (yup, the package says "fresh"), palm oil, chili, and salt. The description on the back of the package, although probably too good to be true, also reeled me in (emphasis mine):

The Carrot is sweeter than many other vegetables and is an ideal ingredient in many side dishes and salads. Carrots are also popular as a juice or snack and make delicious sliced chips. Danielle™ Carrot chips are full of flavor and the perfect companion for all occasions.

(The copy editor in me wants to rewrite that paragraph.)

It's true that carrots are mega-sweet. And they make a nice ingredient in sides and salads. And are good in liquid form. And are nice to snack on. But does that mean they'd also be good as chips? Chips for tonight's special occasion of, "getting home late on a Thursday night, schlepping something edible together for dinner, and watching Lost by myself while mindlessly shoveling dinner down my throat"?

Alas...nope. This is the worst form of carrot I've ever eaten, not to say that it tasted terrible or made me feel like retching (I ate most of the bag for the purposes of this review...yeah), but that it was no better than any other form of carrot. Upon the first chew, I thought it was pleasantly crunchy. And then crunchy turns to soft. Which makes sense—that's what mastication does. But something about its texture felt drier, fluffier, and sandier than other chip-like snacks. The wad of dry carrot chip mush didn't go down easy; after swallowing, I felt like I had something stuck in the back of my throat that could only be alleviated by chasing it down with a glass of water. I wouldn't be surprised if this is what a cat feels like when it gets a hairball stuck in its throat.

But it wasn't just the texture that got to me—the flavor didn't do it any favors either. Admittedly, my nose is stuffed and I can't taste well at the moment, but in this case I don't think I'd want to taste the chips any better. The main problem with the flavor is that it didn't remind me carrots, but of the beta carotene capsules I used to take as a kid. It brought back memories of my mom twisting open a capsule and dumping its powdered orange contents into a spoon (she doesn't like eating gel caps), then me uncomfortably popping the spoon in my mouth and trying to get the powder-turned-paste down my throat as quickly as possible without coming in contact with the rest of my throat.

The flavor of the beta carotene powder wasn't that bad. It was sort of...carrot-y. But certainly not tasty. And that memory carries on to these carrot chips. If you don't have negative connotations of eating beta carotene powder as a kid, you probably won't have as much of a problem with these chips as I did. I thought adding salt might help, but it didn't improve the chips at all.

How much did it cost for me to bring you this review? $4.49 for a 2-ounce bag. (At the Whole Foods in Chelsea, at least; you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere.) It's not a surprising price—I'm sure they use high quality "everything" when they can—but it's certainly not worth it. I should've just gotten pita chips.

I don't mean to dismiss everything made by Danielle. This experience told that I'd probably dislike any carrot chip, no matter the company who makes it. Danielle has an interesting line of fruit and vegetable snacks and I bet all the non-carrot ones are better than the carrot chips. ...Except maybe the okra chips and the durian chips. But taro, banana, and pineapple? Hell yeah, I'm down with those. (I'll pick one of those up next time I'm at Whole Foods.)

As for the carrot chips—hell no. There are at least two positive reviews of the chips out there, but I wanted to get my two cents in the mix just in case any of you come across the chips and wonder if you should get it. NOOOO. That's my advice. If you want a healthy carrot snack, eat a carrot. But if you've eaten these chips and think differently, let me know.

Sidenote: I actually paused a third of the way through the episode of Lost that I was watching to IMMEDIATELY JOT DOWN THOUGHTS OF CARROT CHIP DISSATISFACTION. Back to Hulu, I go.


Cherry / March 19, 2010 1:10 AM

Aw that's too bad. I was thinking about buying some of their sweet potato chips but now I'm worried that it might have a weird texture. lol Nothing grosses me out more than stringy sweet potatoes.

Why didn't/doesn't you mom like gel capsules if you don't mind my asking?

shine / March 19, 2010 2:05 AM

I am disappointed for you! This summer I was addicted to Terra Exotic chips in the yam/parsnip/beet flavor bag. I live in Canada so I am hoping that brand is available in the U.S. also.

I had actually forgotten about them until your post. They were crispy and just a bit salty while retaining the inherent color and taste of the vegetables. They tasted great alone or with hummus. Ummmmm...

I hope you have better success with the taro/banana/pineapple combo!

roboppy / March 19, 2010 2:30 AM

Cherry: I feel like sweet potato would be okay. I mean, potato chips are always good! Dried carrot texture is sort of not awesome. :(

I think my mom doesn't see the point of eating the capsule when the only useful part is the stuff inside it. Of course, I, like most people, don't care. She's particular about what she a different way than I am. ;)

shine: OHHH I love Terra Chips! At least, their taro chips. SOOOO GOOOOD. I like their potato chips too, but not more than other brands of potato chips. Haven't tried much of the other kinds of vegetables, but I'll keep my eyes open for them.

Nicholas / March 19, 2010 3:35 AM

Don't get the taro/banana/pineapple chips! They'll ruin your experience too. Trust me, I bought them on impulse last year and it took a trip to Taiwan to erase my taro-hate.

Nicholas / March 19, 2010 4:00 AM

That said, have you ever had dried mango slices (preferably straight from the Philippines)? That'll renew your faith in thinly sliced fruits/vegetables!

kim / March 19, 2010 9:32 AM

I don't know. For me, I would rather munch on fresh veggie sticks (carrots, celery, jacama) than these processed goods.

roboppy / March 19, 2010 10:17 AM

Nicholas: :O They were that bad? Awww poot. I love taro chips. As for dried mango, I LOVE DRIED MANGO do the max. When I was in SE Asia i ate craptons of it. Along with other fruit. Mmmmmm I miss Asia.

Kim: I definitely prefer carrot in raw form, haha. Now I realize I probably wouldn't prefer any vegetable in chip form, unless it's a starchy root veg. I love dried fruit though.

Mahar / March 19, 2010 11:27 AM

I've had durian chips from Thailand---I LOVE THEM. None of the smell, all of that salty/durian-y flavor.

As for dried mango, love them, especially when paired with something savory, like pork crackling dripping straight from the deep fryer.

Jin / March 19, 2010 4:15 PM

Wow, durian chips? That sounds like possibly the worst thing ever! I am still haunted by my encounter with durian bubble tea.

tasteofbeirut / March 19, 2010 6:57 PM

tortilla chips (only some ) are the only chips I can eat or want to eat and so you you reminded me of how foolish it would be for me to start buying these weird carrots or parsnips or celery chips

christina / March 19, 2010 11:14 PM

This reminds me of the first time I ate veggie chips. In theory, I though it'd be like a potato chip, but vegetable-flavored. But it wasn't. Maybe it was the brand, idk, I just wasn't able to finish them because I kept comparing them to spuds.

Oh, and do you feel that raw carrots sort of taste like coconut? This might just be me, or not, so I'm asking.

Gloria / March 20, 2010 12:08 AM

carrot...chips??? O_O
i hate carrots but i love chips. my stomach is so conflicted. i used to be purely a potato chip girl but my roommate buys sweet potato chips that have opened my mind to new deep-fried possibilities. have you tried korean chips? there are banana-flavored puffs and crab-flavored chips. there's also these honey circle things that say "with real honey flavor" or something like that but taste like cinnamon. true story.

roboppy / March 20, 2010 12:34 PM

Mahar: Mm, smell-less durian snack...I'm curious. Sooort of. Not sure if i'm curious to buy a pack yet. :D

Jin: I've never had durian bubble tea, but had a durian milkshake once. BAD IDEA.

Hali: Sounds like I need to get me some jackfruit chips..

tasteofbeirut: TORTILLA CHIPS ROCK. Yes.

Christina: Coconut?, can't say I've ever gotten that flavor from eating a carrot. But next time I eat a carrot I WILL..CONCENTRATE HARDER.

Gloria: Banana flavored puffs, WUT. Honey circle wut wut? We gotta go snack shopping!

lisa in toronto / March 20, 2010 6:57 PM

I bought dried sweet potato slices in China once by mistake (I thought they were pieces of dried mango).
They were tasteless and chewy (not salty or sweet).
Then I found out the Chinese characters could be translated as "dirt melon".
Should have asked earlier!

Winnie / March 21, 2010 12:53 PM

Please don't get their pineapple chips. Horrible. Hard, scratchy, crunchy in a bad way, like eating too much hard cereal and tearing up the roof of your mouth bad.

Anything that ruins taro is EVIL!!

Dina / March 22, 2010 1:12 AM

I'm a big potato chip eater and have never really liked veggie chips...I keep trying different ones, but the result is the same....pyuk!

roboppy / March 22, 2010 2:36 AM

Lisa: I've never heard of dirt melon before. ...Thanks for the warning!

Claire: Faaaail!

Winnie: Methinks I won't give them a second chance now, haha. Pineapple is delicious! So sad to think that those chips blow.

Jamie / March 23, 2010 12:05 AM

You somehow sparked an impulse for me to buy carrots. So here i midnight munching on some baby carrots. And i've never really paid attention the sweetness of carrots. Mmm... although I did somehow get one that tasted like mud. (Blegh!)

roboppy / March 24, 2010 3:31 PM

Jamie: I sparked a HEALTHY impulse? Holy crap. ;) Actually, I also ate some baby carrots when I bought these chips since there happened to be a bag in the fridge. Waaay tastier.

jyoh / April 2, 2010 7:23 AM

this was seriously, the funniest post i've ever read written by you. (and alot of them are quite hysterical)

Naomi / April 7, 2010 3:44 PM

Kale chips are kind of the rage at the Park Slope Co-op. I've been digging on some apple chips from my deli that really crunch my jaw off, in a fun way. Those pineapple chips also by Danielle are wonderful, but pricey, oh my.

Julie / April 8, 2010 11:17 AM

Thanks for the warning--I think I'll keep my distance. If you want to try a good taro chip, I love Terra-brand chips. They don't have a whole bag dedicated to taro, but they're in with a good group of other root veggies.

I followed the link to the Danielle site where other chip flavors are listed, and all the blurbs for each flavor are the same!

steff (steffsays) / April 23, 2010 6:38 PM

i've never tried danielle's carrot chips, but i have had the pumpkin chips and i think they are absolutely scrumptious. it might be worth a shot next you have a snack attack.

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