I don’t wanna brag or anything, but I have been to the Canada pavilion in Epcot like a lot of times. And I don’t mean just walked through it quickly on my way to Japan to see if they still sell those spinny drum things from The Karate Kid, Part II. I mean I’ve stopped and looked at the rocks from like all the angles. And I’ve seen the Circle-Vision movie at least three times. And that thing’s like 20 minutes long. Kind of a big commitment. And there aren’t any seats. Just rails to lean on.
So really it’s like I’m almost Canadian.
But I still have a question. Is moose a food that a lot of Canadians eat? And I’m not judging or mocking or anything. I really want to know. Are enough people eating moose that it warrants its own potato chip flavor? Maple I could see. Obviously. But moose? And is maple and moose a big deal? Or is it like a mashup of two quintessentially Canadian things? Like if you were American and mashed up, say, French fries with more French fries, or patriotism and diabetes.
I admit I have next to no moose experience. I’ve never seen a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, and I’ve only seen the first episode of Northern Exposure. However, I am a fan of National Lampoon’s Vacation, but that’s pretty much where it ends. I’ve certainly never eaten moose. I didn’t even know that was a thing people ate. I knew people hunted elk and stuff, but do people hunt moose? If Northern Exposure is to be believed, they don’t seem very fast. They just lumber through town, right?
Anway, today we have the second of the four finalists in Lay’s Canada’s Do Us a Flavour contest. It’s Maple Moose. (Check out the other finalists here.)
The nosegrope upon opening the bad was…weird. I was expecting meat or maple. Obviously. But the nosegrope had a weird astringency that honestly reminded me of sauerkraut. Or some bizarrely spiced cabbage-based dish at least. There’s some tomato-y barbeque-ness (barbequeity?) there too, but it’s overwhelmed by whatever that first aroma is. Moose maybe? I don’t know.
First and foremost what seems to be missing from the flavor profile is maple. The chips have a slight sweetness. To call it maple sweetness would be a stretch. It’s just slightly sweet. The base of this chip seems to be Lay’s run of the mill Barbeque. There’s the aforementioned sweetness and then some of the universal chip mix of paprika and onion, garlic, and tomato powders. There’s also a gamey, sort of meatish flavor. I guess that’s the moose. It’s not as strong as the nosegrope would have you believe, but it’s there and up front. If that’s what moose tastes like, I’m going to be polishing my big gun of hunting things anytime soon. In fact, on my first taste, I swear I could detect notes of cheap hot dog. But they were fleeting. As notes of cheap hot dog always are.
This is by far the most interesting flavor concept. This is the one that makes people say “What was that flavor?” when they hear it mentioned. But when you aim high in Canada, sometimes you miss and land somewhere outside Detroit. Now again, I have no moose experience. So for all I know this could be dead on. If it is, my humblest apologies.
All I know is that if I tried this bag and didn’t know what it was, my first thought would be “Hey, barbeque chips!” and my second would be “What’s wrong with these barbeque chips?”