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The Best Potato Chips To Pair With Caviar

If you want to feel fancy with zero stress, pairing caviar with potato chips is the way to go.

Pringles recently released a unique combo package with San Francisco-based The Caviar Co. that capitalizes on an appetizer whose popularity is well established. The kit contains your choice of caviar (smoked trout roe, white sturgeon, or both) along with Original, Barbecue, and Sour Cream & Onion Pringles. It's nice to feel fancy once in a while, and the chips-and-caviar combo requires almost no prep work, unless you consider opening a jar to gain access to precious caviar "work."

While we already enjoy the pairing of salty fried potato thins with briny fish eggs and creamy crème fraîche, we've never explored exactly what type of chip goes best with caviar. Since the holiday season is right around the corner, I decided to do the hard research to find out which potato chip pairs best with the luxury ingredient—and which ones are a waste of caviar.

Do NOT pair these chips with caviar

Before we dig into our favorites, let me talk about our least favorites, which immediately took themselves out of the running. Kettle chips of any kind, though delicious on their own, are way too thick and robust to complement a substance as delicate as fish eggs. Texturally, these hearty, ultra-crunchy chips absolutely steamrolled the caviar, so they're a quick no.

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Another potato chip that failed the test was the crispy Lay's Classic variety, which came as a shock to all three tasters. Lay's are some of my all-time favorite potato chips specifically because they're thin enough to shatter like glass, and they retain an honest potato flavor with every bite. Paired with caviar, however, their delicacy is to their detriment. The chips crumble so fast that your mouth doesn't get the chance to pop the amuse-bouche up against the roof of your mouth—and that's one of the best parts of eating caviar. If we're not going to take advantage of their popping texture, why bother eating fish eggs at all?

The best potato chips to pair with caviar

Two unexpected chips came out on top. The first was Pringles Original, which we liked for a few reasons. The chip's consistent thickness allows it to crack in a uniform fashion in your mouth, and since it's made primarily of dehydrated potato flakes, it melts away as you chew. It also has a gentle, more neutral flavor than most potato chips, which lets you focus on the brininess of the caviar.

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I'm admittedly not much of a Pringles fan since I don't find much satisfaction in their weird melting quality, but strangely, that's what makes them the ideal pairing for caviar. I guess it took some added opulence for me to really appreciate Pringles.

Pringles, as mentioned earlier, encourages pairing caviar with three different chip flavors, not just Original. I omitted the others from this test because I wanted a consistent playing field, tasting only caviar and crème fraîche atop plain potato chips. When I did try them later, I wasn't a big fan of the way Barbecue or Sour Cream & Onion Pringles interacted with the caviar. My wife, however, was smitten with the pairing of the smoked trout roe and Barbecue Pringles because the smoky flavor in both elements complemented each other.

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The other surprise winner was wavy potato chips. The chips pictured above are Wavy Lays, but some classic Ruffles would do just fine, too. Crinkle-cut potato chips are always strong contenders for a snack spread, since they can hold robust amounts of dip without stealing the show like a kettle-cooked chip does. And while Lay's Classic are a little too thin to support the caviar, these chips pull a Goldilocks maneuver by being just right. The texture specifically gave us a lot of joy as we munched on these, and because their thickness could handle more caviar, we plopped a bunch on top.

Like the Pringles, I rarely reach for wavy chips for straight-up snacking unless there's copious amounts of dip involved. That was the shared sentiment among our taste testing team, so we were all equally surprised by our final conclusion.

When to use fancy caviar (and when to go cheap)

Between the two caviars that Pringles included in its package, one was on the low end of caviar's typical price point, and the other on the higher end. The smoked trout roe goes for $15 per ounce on The Caviar Co.'s online shop, and if you're new to caviar, that's a decent rate; you can buy a tiny bit to see if you like it.

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Trout eggs are fun because they're relatively large in size and firmer than salmon eggs, which can often come across as a little mushy. They're a great garnish for things like lox, deviled eggs, and, yes, potato chips. They generally lend a luxurious yet down-to-earth vibe without the eye-watering cost.

The California sturgeon caviar that Pringles provided retails for $60 per ounce, and this stuff is for pinkies-up parties like New Year's Eve shindigs or intimate celebrations. The eggs are tiny and soft with a gentle aftertaste—unlike trout and salmon roe, which can skew a tiny bit bitter—and this product is generally what people picture when they think of caviar.

Because it's much nicer and more expensive, sturgeon caviar is less of a garnish and more of an element to enjoy at the front and center of a dish—like, say, piled on wavy potato chips with crème fraîche and a little bit of bubbly on the side. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either trout roe or sturgeon, and both will make you feel great, so buy what you can afford. I've even seen sturgeon caviar on sale for $50 at Costco around the holidays.

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If you try caviar and conclude that it's not for you, that's a valid opinion, no matter how high-end restaurants or assorted snobs try to make you feel. Food is food, and just because something is more difficult to procure doesn't make it more delicious by default. If that were true, potato chips wouldn't be the most surefire way to make a good thing even better.

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