Today we jaunted off to Saratoga, NY to the first annual Chip Festival at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Tagging along with me were my hubby Jon and our friend Mark. As food festivals go it was calm. The crowds were well behaved other than a few baby carriages that parked sideways in front of tables. Tastes of potato chips from a variety of sponsors were on offer. Some tables had bowls with tongs for self service tasting. Others had chips in small tasting cups. Some just gave out 1 to 2 ounce small bags.
Larger companies and smaller boutique crafters vied for best company overall as well as favorite flavor.
Voting for people’s choice could be done online or by paper ballot. There was also a panel of expert judges for a pro vote at 4pm.
My personal fave was the Original Saratoga Chips Old Glory, a blend of regular, red and blue potatoes. Other near competitors were Jiff-E Chips Parmesan Garlic flavor and Great Lakes Potato Chip Company Michigan Cherry Barbeque flavor. All are kettle style, as that is the way I like my chips. There were no true stinkers at the festival, though I have to confess I am not a fan of the dark varieties or as I like to call them, overcooked potatoes.
There were other vendors offering related items such as dips from Chobani, jerky and salsas as well.
After we had sampled our way around the convention center, we took a break to vote via smartphone, then toured the Potato Chip History display provided by the Toga Chip Guy, Alan Richer. Historical advertising posters, pictures and various containers from 150 plus years of potato chip production in the US were artfully displayed. I knew of the local connection to potato chips, but some of the containers and implements were wild. On the way home we price checked potato chip serving utensils online as pictured in the display. Let’s just say we will be eating ours by hand unless we win the lottery!
We left with tons of samples both in our tummies and in the provided “rag bags” made from recycled t-shirts. The featured photo is a shot of our trunk with the many samples we took home. This was only a fraction of the possible flavors and types on offer. It was more than worth the $5 adult admission! I hope the local Lions Club which was sponsoring the event did well and continues it in future.
Photo by Jonathan Sternfeld