Eastern PA chips & pretzels

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Mosca
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2007/12/05 22:29:01 (permalink)

Eastern PA chips & pretzels

I'm just musing a little bit. Man, we get some awesome chips over here. I picked up a couple bags the other day, on sale; Gibble's. I got a bag of curly chips and a bag of BBQ.

The ingredients of the curly chips: Potatoes, lard, salt. Man, are these good; even though they are fried in lard, they are infinitely lighter than Lay's or other national brands; it's like less oil stays with the chip. They are thin sliced and ultra crisp, "kettle" style but without the thickness. There is a purity to the taste that you just don't find in Lay's... that purity is called "potato".

The BBQ were also very good. I got them for my dad, who is a BBQ chip freak. They are also fried in lard. The BBQ flavoring isn't as sweet or as strong as other chips. They're ruffle cut and thicker than the curly chips. This is a decent chip to use with a ranch dip.

Gibble's excels at pretzels. Their thin pretzel is marvelous; it is crisp and bready with a little soda flavor, and well salted.

My favorite chips are made by Utz. I simply can't decide which I like the best, so I usually get a bag of Grandma Utz old fashioned thick cut, and a bag of russet chips. Both are cooked in lard, and both are kettle style. The russets are cooked very dark, and have a seriously deep potato flavor; they have a good crunch when you bite, and they flake when you crunch them. The old fashioneds are thick and salty and potatoey, with a serious crunch when you bite into one; man, what a good chip. I think that's what I like best about Utz chips; they have a superior mouth feel. Even though the Gibble's are a great tasting chip, they don't give that satisfying crunch like the Utz chips do.

Middleswarth has a big following, but I have to say, I don't get it. Maybe it's that you can get them in those big cans, I don't know. IMO they are boring, thin, tasteless and oversalted with little crunch.

Herr's has a big following, too, but I can't justify Herr's when Utz are sitting on the shelf right next to them.

For pretzels, you have to make the distinction between Snyder's Of Berlin and Snyder's Of Hanover. For me the hot ticket are the Snyder's Of Hanover, and the best Snyder's Of Hanover are the big sourdoughs. I think you can get these nationwide, no? Snyder's Of Berlin are buttery, with less salt and less crunch. I haven't gotten used to them, and because of that I probably never will, since I always buy either the Gibble's or the Snyder's Of Hanover.

Thanks for reading,

Tom
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35 Replies Related Threads

    stanpnepa
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/05 22:40:41 (permalink)
    Mosca is correct, we have some terrific chips in Eastern PA. You can go to a farmer's market and buy them kettle cooked in plastic (generic) bags. One is better than the next.

    My favorite was Groff's which, to my knowledge, no longer exists. Salty, crunchy and loaded with flavor. Grandma Utz handmade's are a pretty dang good substitute. So, not coincidentally, are Good's.

    I grew up on Middleswarth. To me, it's comfort (junk) food. When they are on, they are fantastic, but in all honesty they are so wildly amazing/good/just OK that you're rolling the dice every time you buy a bag. Sometimes the barbecue seasoning is right on, sometimes it's not. Could it be the packing?

    Because of these wonderful regional chips, I find that I don't enjoy the national brands very much at all---Lay's, Ruffle's, Pringle's, etc.

    Oh and for pretzels, I also have to mention Tom Sturgis. Great "cheese pretzels" too!
    #2
    HPlatz
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/05 23:06:50 (permalink)
    The thing I don't like about these regional (although GOOD, for the most part) fryers is that they can be a little gummy, for example Gibbles and our local chip here, Hartley's (Lewistown, PA http://www.hartleyschips.com/history.asp) . Buy a big bag and you are certain to encounter a softie here and there which makes me woozy. Mrs. Platz grew up on Good's and I like them just fine. Anybody remember Bickel's and/or Marsden's? Marsden's were cooked in Pottsville PA. I think Bickels were from Lititz or some such. Anyway, those were the ones I grew up on. Out here in semi-western PA I like Martin's. One thing I will agree with is that Pennsylvania is the chip and pretzel capital of the USA. It's all a matter of taste.
    #3
    unabashed
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 00:08:40 (permalink)
    IMHO these are the best pretzels in the area
    http://www.gettysburgpretzel.com/

    and I have to agree this is the best chips/pretzel area....
    Gibbles and Utz are my favorites
    Ron
    #4
    phlmaestro2000
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 01:39:52 (permalink)
    I generally like Utz products too, but my favorite pretzels are Unique "Splits," made in Reading, PA.

    https://secure.uniquesplits.com/dev/index2.php

    It's got an amazing crunch to it and a nice flavor. They have a nice variety of flavors, but I still prefer the basic ones.
    #5
    rebeltruce
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 06:40:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by HPlatz

    The thing I don't like about these regional (although GOOD, for the most part) fryers is that they can be a little gummy, for example Gibbles and our local chip here, Hartley's (Lewistown, PA http://www.hartleyschips.com/history.asp) . Buy a big bag and you are certain to encounter a softie here and there which makes me woozy. Mrs. Platz grew up on Good's and I like them just fine. Anybody remember Bickel's and/or Marsden's? Marsden's were cooked in Pottsville PA. I think Bickels were from Lititz or some such. Anyway, those were the ones I grew up on. Out here in semi-western PA I like Martin's. One thing I will agree with is that Pennsylvania is the chip and pretzel capital of the USA. It's all a matter of taste.


    HP,

    I am from Lewistown, well actually born in State College....my family moved to Lewistown when I turned five.

    I grew up eating Hartley's chips....they have changed over the years, it's my understanding that they are now making a whole slew of snacks. Pretzels, Corn chips, and several flavors of chips other then the classic Plain, and BBQ (rippled) the non rippled are a newer flavor.

    I played on the Hartleys sponsored little league team when I was a kid.

    The quality of Hartley's chips has certainly changed over the years, ever since the state made them stop disposing of the starchy rinse water in Jack's Creek. (Jack's Creek runs directly behind the factory in Maitland, Pa.)

    I don't make it up to Lewistown much anymore, but when I do I always buy a small bag of Hartley's; even though the aren't quite the same as when they delivered them to your door in the old metal cans; tasting again always brings back some good memories.

    I enjoy Martin's they remind me of the Hartley's from my youth. Do you happen to remember Hafer's? They were another very small chip company based in Lewistown in the mid to late seventies....
    #6
    bethgrd
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 07:24:14 (permalink)
    Oh, you sparked a memory..growing up in kingston, pa, i remember Charles Chips in a big metal can with brown script lettering on a light brown background. haven't thought of those in years! I don't remember the taste being anything that special, though. In fact, used to prefer Lays.
    Chips fried in lard? eek, doesn't do it for me..i don't like the taste of lard. but to each his own!!
    #7
    Mosca
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 10:41:53 (permalink)
    Oh, Splits are killer.

    I'm not a fan of Charles' Chips either.

    bethgrd, the chips with lard are actually lighter in taste; maybe it's because less oil stays with the chip, or maybe because it's a higher quality product overall, I don't know. I do know that I can't go out and get a bag every week; it's an occasional pleasure, unfortunately. We get teh pretzels more often.

    Herr's makes a pretty decent large pretzel that comes in an oversized plastic jug; it's a dark sourdough. They're good with mustard.
    #8
    ann peeples
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 11:13:27 (permalink)
    I thoroughly enjoy Hanovers big thick sour dough twists.Are the Tom Sturgis pretzels from the same vicinity?? They are very good, as well.
    #9
    Jim2903
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 11:19:48 (permalink)
    How about Hammond's in Lancaster? To my taste, it's the perfect hard pretzel. You can buy them online, custom ordered from dark to light, extra salty to no salt, each twist individually wrapped. It's been a while since I've had them ... about time to order another box ...
    #10
    rongmtek
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 13:08:40 (permalink)
    I have been a pretzel addict since childhood. I agree that the Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough are excellent. I also like the Utz Extra Dark ("regular" size) pretzels very much.
    Street pretzels in NYC have become almost inedible. I'm sure they all come frozen from a central supplier who knew which palms to grease. Street pretzels (I'd always ask for a slightly burnt one) were a great treat once upon a time. Now they are bland, tasteless dough with no flavor or texture.
    Progress!
    Ron
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    NYNM
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 16:22:45 (permalink)
    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    UNIQUE.




    https://secure.uniquesplits.com
    #12
    NYNM
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 16:25:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    I have been a pretzel addict since childhood. I agree that the Snyder's of Hanover Sourdough are excellent. I also like the Utz Extra Dark ("regular" size) pretzels very much.
    Street pretzels in NYC have become almost inedible. I'm sure they all come frozen from a central supplier who knew which palms to grease. Street pretzels (I'd always ask for a slightly burnt one) were a great treat once upon a time. Now they are bland, tasteless dough with no flavor or texture.
    Progress!
    Ron



    I second that emotion!!! Contemporary NYC street pretzels suck!! (although they are so blahhh they are hard to suck....)
    #13
    leethebard
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 16:29:27 (permalink)
    Hi,
    Eastern PA is certainly Chip and Pretzel heaven..My vote for Pretzels is also Snyders of Hanover,the large Sour Dough. They are readily availabwe in NJ. I"m amazed no one has mentioned my favorite PA chip from amish country: HERRS! We've been to the factory many times and this family owned company makes their chips with the finest ingredients and with LOVE. I love the bite to the chip and the over all flavor. Their Dark Kettle chips are superior!
    Lee
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    Mosca
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 17:47:23 (permalink)
    Yeah, Unique Splits rock!

    We've mentioned Herr's, leethebard. I get them sometimes, but I am just so hooked on the Utz! Herr's is a quality chip, and I can certainly see someone preferring them; it always starts with the potato, and Herr's gets that right.

    And everyone is mentioning brands I skipped but when they say them I remember; Martin's, Charles', Hammond's, Sturgis' (an excellent pretzel).... I could go nuts just on the pretzels.
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    HPlatz
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/06 18:22:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rebeltruce

    quote:
    Originally posted by HPlatz

    The thing I don't like about these regional (although GOOD, for the most part) fryers is that they can be a little gummy, for example Gibbles and our local chip here, Hartley's (Lewistown, PA http://www.hartleyschips.com/history.asp) . Buy a big bag and you are certain to encounter a softie here and there which makes me woozy. Mrs. Platz grew up on Good's and I like them just fine. Anybody remember Bickel's and/or Marsden's? Marsden's were cooked in Pottsville PA. I think Bickels were from Lititz or some such. Anyway, those were the ones I grew up on. Out here in semi-western PA I like Martin's. One thing I will agree with is that Pennsylvania is the chip and pretzel capital of the USA. It's all a matter of taste.


    HP,

    I am from Lewistown, well actually born in State College....my family moved to Lewistown when I turned five.

    I grew up eating Hartley's chips....they have changed over the years, it's my understanding that they are now making a whole slew of snacks. Pretzels, Corn chips, and several flavors of chips other then the classic Plain, and BBQ (rippled) the non rippled are a newer flavor.

    I played on the Hartleys sponsored little league team when I was a kid.

    The quality of Hartley's chips has certainly changed over the years, ever since the state made them stop disposing of the starchy rinse water in Jack's Creek. (Jack's Creek runs directly behind the factory in Maitland, Pa.)

    I don't make it up to Lewistown much anymore, but when I do I always buy a small bag of Hartley's; even though the aren't quite the same as when they delivered them to your door in the old metal cans; tasting again always brings back some good memories.

    I enjoy Martin's they remind me of the Hartley's from my youth. Do you happen to remember Hafer's? They were another very small chip company based in Lewistown in the mid to late seventies....


    No sir, I was not living in this area at that time. I am living in State College now since the mid 1980's. I fished Jacks Creek a time or two downstream from the chip factory and I don't blame the state for whatever regs they foist upon Hartley's. That is a nice creek, but at any rate, I think their chips are overrated but I understand local people being loyal. Have you ever pulled a chip out of the bag and it was a mushy greaseball? I mean truly mushy and moist? Wonder how that happens. Completely ruins the chip-eating experience for me. Tastes like somebody chewed up a couple chips and spit them back in the bag. I'm sure there's an insider here somewhere who knows what's going on. Hartley's is guilty of this.
    #16
    Big Frank
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/17 15:25:07 (permalink)
    My wife is from McVeytown, PA. When we go visit family we always bring home bags of Middlewarths and Hartleys.
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    Oneiron339
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/17 16:38:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jim2903

    How about Hammond's in Lancaster? To my taste, it's the perfect hard pretzel. You can buy them online, custom ordered from dark to light, extra salty to no salt, each twist individually wrapped. It's been a while since I've had them ... about time to order another box ...

    Hammond's are the best from the Lanc. area. I grew up on them, going to the small factory on the West End and getting a fresh can. I still bring a box home with me everytime we go back.
    Chips? Gibbles, Grandma Utz, Bickels, Stehmans, etc. - all cooked in lard and all from Lancaster.
    #18
    peanutluv
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/17 17:07:08 (permalink)
    Does anyone remember Golden Sun Chips(shiny bag)they were made with lard but not the same taste as Gibbles. They were great. I don't think they have been around for awhile.Love to know why? I'm originally from Lehighton,Pa and they sold them all over town.
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    Greyghost
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/17 19:58:57 (permalink)
    Mosca is right, nothing compares to Pennsylvania chips, especially the ones done in lard. Whenever I am in Pennsylvania I always stock up big time. My three favorites are Gibbles, Utz and Herrs.

    The large national chip companies seem to be on a health kick with "healthy" oils and such, but let's face it potato chips will never be a health food, but when done right they can be good food.
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    Mosca
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/17 20:54:06 (permalink)
    Last night, I sat down to the football game with a "holy threesome"; some Grandma Utz handmade chips (about 2oz), a few Unique Splits Dark, and a big Herr's sourdough! It was awesome.
    #21
    Oneiron339
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/18 07:17:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Mosca

    Last night, I sat down to the football game with a "holy threesome"; some Grandma Utz handmade chips (about 2oz), a few Unique Splits Dark, and a big Herr's sourdough! It was awesome.

    You forgot the mustard for the pretzels and BEER!
    #22
    cementhead
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/24 10:40:59 (permalink)
    I grew up within 5 miles of at least 6 different potato chip factories.Closest was Goods in the blue bag,and they are still my favorite,although not as good as in the past.Both Goods in the red bag and blue bag are now made by the same company.I enjoy Middleswarth barbecue chips which are made acouple hours away from here,and only recently became available in some of our local supermarkets.
    #23
    Cuppa
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/24 11:03:38 (permalink)
    I grew up in Reading & now live in NE Washington State outside a very small town. One of my biggest complaints is there is no place even remotely close that sells good pretzels or chips, only national, tasteless stuff.My favorite pretzels are Unique Splits followed by Sturgis (they used to make an extra salty variety that was great with beer). For chips I would have to say Good's in the blue bag-I think they were made in a little shop behind a farmhouse around Adamstown. Dieffenbach's were just as good.
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    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2007/12/24 11:08:23 (permalink)
    Charles' Chips Beer Pretzels in a refillable brown tin. That, a six pack of Old Frothingslosh Pale, Stale Ale, and the Steelers in the playoffs ... heaven in the 'Burgh!
    #25
    Ginger9708
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2008/02/21 17:35:38 (permalink)
    test
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    Ginger9708
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2008/02/21 17:39:55 (permalink)
    The best pretzels I have found are from Lancaster PA. I love the hard pretzels. I usually stop in Oregon Dairy, Lititz PA and they have a nice selection of hard pretzels. My favs are Martins Pretzels, Hammonds, & then Uncle Henrys. You have not had a real pretzel until you have eaten these. I no longer eat Snyders. I usually stock up on the pretzels whenever I visit the area which is about once or twice yearly. I also order pretzels through the mail and have them shipped to me about every other month. They are well worth the money.
    #27
    mikez629
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2008/02/21 17:42:26 (permalink)
    Any pretzels that are special dark/burnt are my favorite-utz special dark are great.
    #28
    Robearjr
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2008/02/21 20:41:56 (permalink)


    One of Baltimore's great new billboards.
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    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Eastern PA chips & pretzels 2008/02/21 20:58:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Cuppa
    Dieffenbach's were just as good.


    Dearfolk,
    That's what I have heard, too. Dieffenbach's come from Womelsdorf, PA. and are unapologetically cooked in 100% pure lard.
    I have a friend from Waymart (up by Carbondale on U. S. 6) who told me about them, but usually he buys Grandma Utz' when he's in PA. -- And Stegmaier Gold Medal Beer, too... but that's another story.
    Not Sippin' And Chippin', Ort. Carlton in Lovelyrainy Athens, Georgia.
    #30
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