We take the One Chip Challenge; Paqui Tortilla Chip reviewed

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It might have made Shaq cry, but here at the Tortillaphilia Syndicate, we can hold our own as far as spice goes. We’ve even hosted spicy food contests. Thus, when the One Chip Challenge — or #onechipchallenge as the kids say — was thrown at us, we scoffed in its face, accepted it, and conquered it. As we are wont to do.

To wit…

Spicy for sure, but you, the devoted tortillaphile, will undoubtedly be more concerned with the important part: How did the chip actually taste? Was it just a smack in the face? Was it created solely as a gimmick?

For the latter: probably. For the former: not at all.

The $5 Chest of Horror contains only one chip which, while no bargain, is quite tasty. Yes, you will have to endure an un-subsiding five-minute burn, but that’s what kefir and tears are for.

The chip is based on the Carolina Reaper pepper — until recently the hottest in the world — which has more in common with the Ghost pepper than the Red Habanero1. I’ve never loved the flavor of Habanero. It’s kind of sickeningly sweet. Ghost pepper, on the other hand, has a smoky depth to it, and it makes this chip taste almost like an upscale Dorito.

Again, the joy of the flavor is short-lived as the burn starts after about a minute. Those sixty seconds are glorious, though, and you should live in that moment when all that matters is the one well-seasoned, perfectly crunchy, smokychip.

And then it burns, and it hurts, but it was all worth it.

You cannot buy the chip from Paqui’s website at the time of writing. You can, however, pick up some of their regular Ghost pepper chips, which feature codes where you have a chance to win2 one. These chips have all the flavor of the Carolina variety, but minimal burn. They’re very respectable by themselves.

As for the Chest of Horror, it’s a challenge worth taking, but I can’t with good conscience give the chip a perfect score. The fire burns too hot even for a veteran spice lover for that.

The feeling before, though? Heavenly.

1 The two were crossed to make this Frankenpepper.

2 Allegedly. A fellow tortillaphile bought 13 bags with no dice. It makes one wonder if the every 10 bag a winner claim is particularly trustworthy.