SPECIALLY SELECTED MARINARA PASTA CRACKERS
Aldi ads are the only store advertisements I receive every week through my email, and I make sure to visit the site every week to see what they are carrying the following week (you can also look two weeks out, which makes it great to be able to plan for meals and Special Buys before most people are aware of them). So needless to say, I pretty much know everything that will be coming in.
But these Specially Selected Marinara Pasta Crackers totally caught me off guard when I caught them in the store one day, as I did not recall seeing them at all in the weekly ads (I’m sure they were there, but I thought something weird like this would have caught my eye). According to the bag, they are “Real pasta and Italian-inspired flavor in a thin, crispy chip.” Okay, that made them sound so unappetizing and pointless, I just knew I had to give them a shot!
Sniffing the bag, you can pick up a faint scent of marinara, but I think I got more garlic and onion than anything else. The crackers themselves actually look like thin little pieces of pasta, complete with serrated edges, but they also look very delicious, as they are coated with a generous helping of seasoning and parsley flakes, which I guess gives them the Italian look they are wanting.
Tastewise, I’ll admit that I was a little shocked, because these are pretty good. Now if you were to blindfold me, I don’t think I would ever in a million years guess they had anything to do with marinara, or Italian pasta in general, for that matter, but the seasoning (made up of tomato powder and parmesan cheese, among other things) is tasty. If you’re looking for something that’s going to overwhelm your taste buds, this is definitely NOT the snack for you, as each cracker is relatively light, in both weight and flavor. The only downside is that it’s very easy to eat way more than you intended to, as I finished off half the bag the first time I picked it up.
Overall: 7/10. A delicious, light cracker that is way better than its weird description makes it sound. The seasoning, while tasting nothing like actual marinara, seems to consist mainly of garlic and onion, and it’s pretty darn tasty. Don’t be nervous about the texture, either--even though it proudly claims on the packaging that it’s made out of real pasta, the texture is exactly that of a typical cracker. If you’re looking for a snack that’s going to blow up your taste buds, this isn’t it. The seasoning is modest, and that’s what makes it work as well as it does.
SPECIALLY SELECTED GARLIC & OLIVE OIL PASTA CRACKERS
|Ever wanted a pasta in cracker form? Here's your chance!|
Even though I found Specially Selected’s marinara pasta crackers to taste pretty good, I did mention that there would have been no way I would have been able to detect that they were marinara-flavored if I was blindfolded. It tasted nothing like it. So I decided to try their other flavor offering, garlic and olive oil, as it seemed like that flavor profile would be a lot easier to hit in chip form.
My theory proved to be correct, as this definitely is way more accurate than the marinara version. Olive oil even happens to be second on the ingredients list, and you can tell just from sampling a bite: I was expecting the garlic to take front and center, but it’s actually the olive oil that does, followed up close behind by the expected garlic. I also think these are a little bit stronger than the marinara ones, so you’re probably going to want some gum, or at the very least, mints, if you’re going to be talking to anyone right after eating these.
Although I didn’t get a chance to do so, I think dipping these in some French onion, or even some ranch veggie dip would probably take them to an entirely different level. Maybe someone will give that a try and let me know how it goes. Straight out of the bag, though, these have a nice, light texture and big crunch that does hit the spot. The only downside to the stronger flavor, is I seemed to get sick of these a lot quicker than I did the marinara ones. Then again, I don’t think garlic and olive oil are two flavors that anyone can really pig out on for that long to begin with.
Overall: 6.5/10. Even though these are more accurate than the marinara pasta crackers, I still think I prefer those. For starters, garlic and olive oil are a lot stronger flavors than tomato, so these tend to get to be too much after a short snacking session, and I have to stop eating them. The light texture and crunch is nice, and the $2 price tag (per 5 oz. bag) provides some good value. On a side note: They would probably be very good in ranch or French onion dip, something I’ll have to try at some point in the future.