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Let's Get Chip-Faced: New Kettle Brand Chip Flavors, Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty

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[Photographs: Daniel Souza]

While folks around the country mark the start of sweet spring by the blossoming of trees, the planting of crops, and the hang time of the sun, Bostonians use a slightly different measure: kindness.

At the start of April, denizens of this quirky town morph from aloof, quick-tempered, snow-covered yetis into the equivalent of any TV neighbor from the 1950s. The switch happens overnight, but fades just as quickly with the onslaught of summer's wet wool sweater-humidity. Time is of the essence to capture this special time in New England and for me that means one thing: getting chip-faced outside on a sunny day, passing out early, getting up and doing it all over again.

And what better way to kick off the season of kindness than to sample a couple new flavors from uber-crunch stalwart, Kettle Brand? I picked up a bag each of Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty and headed towards the light.

Maple Bacon

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Before I even talk about this flavor I have to point out the pancakes on the bag. Where one would expect to find a nice pour of amber Vermont-made Grade B maple syrup (it's more flavorful than Grade A) on top of that short stack, we find only a pool of blood! I mean what happened to these poor 'cakes? Luckily, an intrepid first bite revealed little in the way of vital fluid and a lot in the way of sweet bacon. These chips are generously sweetened and equally smokey. In fact, I was initially inclined to call them a BBQ chip (in a blind tasting I might still).

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Maple Bacon Chips

Did I like them? Well I mostly enjoyed the chips, but did find the smoke overwhelming after a dozen or so. Will you like them? Well, are you the kind of chipster who dips their bacon in the maple syrup moat hugging your pancakes? If yes, then yes.

Sweet & Salty

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I'm probably going to anger and alienate my last few Chip-Faced readers when I say that I don't really care for kettle corn. I get sweet-salty and enjoy it in many contexts but not when it comes to popcorn. And now, as it turns out, not when it comes to Kettle Brand chips. I should say that these chips deliver exactly what they promise, a big hit of sweetness followed by plenty of salty salt. In my opinion they are too sweet, heading daringly into the dessert realm. I'm guessing this description sounds mighty tasty to the kettle corn set out there and I encourage you to check them out and tell me how wrong I am (you guys are pretty good at that).

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Sweet & Salty Chips

So, am I upset that these chips didn't knock my socks off? Of course not, I'm in Boston and it's April.

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