AND THE WINNER IS…
By Meg Walburn Viviano
On Friday afternoon, we were anchored in Whitehall Bay—a slight breeze blowing, with sunshine and low humidity. Our only company was a couple of cownose rays “waving” at the surface, an unconfirmed turtle near the shoreline and a pair of ospreys, watching us with sharp eyes from their platform.
Aboard our Albin 28 called Liberty, part of Chesapeake Boating Club’s fleet of cruising powerboats, eight CBM Bay Weekly colleagues gathered on the water with an unlikely mission: to decide which is the very best-tasting crab chip available on the Bay.
We set up a highly scientific blind taste test, with numbered plates of chips and no knowledge of which plate was which. We tested six different brands and varieties as a group, each person ranking their favorite.
Tasting them back-to-back, I was surprised by how noticeable the differences were from chip to chip. Sure, they all sort of looked the same, but our testers picked out distinct flavors like sweet, smoky, vinegar-heavy, slightly chemical, or too plain—“It’s just a lunchbox chip.”
While our crab chip experiment probably confused the ospreys (along with any other boaters that passed by), we conducted our taste test for good reason. We spent the last two weeks asking Chesapeake Country to vote on their favorite crab-seasoned snack, and we wanted to find out whether our strategic test would match the public’s favorite crab chip. (Spoiler alert: our favorite chips were totally different than yours!)
With opinions formed, we each cast a vote for first place crab chip. And it was a tie for first!
We won’t keep you in suspense any longer. With no further ado, here are the CBM Bay Weekly team’s favorites, and the champion according to our Bay Weekly Facebook survey.
Utz Classic Crab Chips, with their Chesapeake Bay seasoning, dominated in our public poll, with 75 percent of the vote.
Utz Kettle Crab Chips, crunchier than their counterparts, took second place in the public poll.
CBM BAY WEEKLY FAVORITE (TIE):
Utz Smokin’ Sweet Crab Chips (for living up to their sweet name) and Route 11 Chesapeake Crab Chips (a thicker kettle chip and the only one of the bunch made with the family-owned J.O. Spice seasoning).
CBM BAY WEEKLY RUNNER-UP: Herr’s Old Bay Chips, a zingier-seasoned chip that shouts Chesapeake Bay.
And when all of our careful blind taste-testing was finished, we dumped all the chips onto one plate together and snacked hard. One crab-seasoned treat wasn’t included in the blind test, but kept making the rounds: Herr’s Old Bay Cheese Curls. Everyone should certainly try them, but keep the Wet Wipes handy.
I’ll admit it: our Bay-seasoned snack study was a day of fun disguised as work. But we’d like to think we also carried out a public service, inspiring Chesapeake Country to branch out and try a new crab chip. After all, the taste of that salty-paprika dusting of crab seasoning can immediately transport you to summertime on the water, no matter where you are. But if you can, I highly recommend eating your crab chips aboard a boat, on a blue-sky day, with ospreys.