Saturday, August 19, 2017

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Cheese Curls

Herr's Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Curls - Ollie's Bargain Outlet $1.89
Just like mom used to make. Well, not my mom, but maybe yours? We weren't a big tomato soup family, but that's something we'll get into later. 
Today's post is another foray into stuff that's supposed to taste like other stuff, brought to you by Herr's and Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Good Stuff Cheap! (#notsponsored) 
Of all the things I picked up at Ollie's (which included blue cotton candy flavored corn puffs), this was the product I was most skeptical of. I bought it anyway, because it was cheap, and there was an odd satisfaction in knowing I got the whole full set of wacky Herr's products. Well, all the ones sold at Ollie's anyway. They're are more flavors available than what you've seen on the blog, but those aren't on sale for a $1.89, so they'll have to wait.

As I put the Grilled Cheese bag into my cart, I cringed. It isn't the grilled cheese aspect of this flavor that's making me hesitant, it's the tomato soup part.
Long-time readers know this already, but I'm allergic to tomatoes. And I'm Italian. (Or "Fail-talian" as I affectionately call myself.) We're not talking about an eli-pen situation here, the acidity in tomatoes causes severe acid reflux, pain, and other fun tummy-related issues. I love tomatoes, they just don't love me back. Well, I guess they do...if you want to be technical, my stomach and esophagus are the ones getting in the way of our mutual love like some fated foodie Romeo and Juliet. Anyway, long story short, it's been this way since I was a kid so now it's like this ingrained Pavlovian response to fear all things tomato.
Don't worry, I'm no masochist. I can have tomatoes in small amounts when they're in other things, like the thin layer of sauce on a cheese pizza, and these are only flavored with a thin layer of dust so these cheese curls won't hurt me, but the fear is still there.

Compared to the Deep Dish Pizza curls, this packaging is a lot less anachronistic. Instead of being a bizarre hip-hop-inspired 80's & 90's mash-up, this is pretty modern. We've got subtle faux texture in the background framing the food imagery, which is photo-realistic this time around, and less obnoxious typefaces. Looking good!
Once opened, the cheese curls inside are a bright neon orange, like always, but if you look closely you'll see ultra-fine flecks of dark red seasoning. I took a whiff, and these smell like Spaghetti-O nightmares. The aroma is an insta-NOPE for me. Fingers crossed that they taste better, although I doubt it.

I popped a cheese curl into my mouth and (thankfully) it wasn't as Spaghetti-O-y as it smelled. The tangy canned tomato flavoring is there, but it's mellowed out by some buttery cheesy notes. I don't think the cheesy flavoring is night and day different from normal orange cheese curls, instead, there is a new buttery addition that changes things up. It makes me think of greasy-griddle grilled cheese sandwiches made at home with individually wrapped processed cheese slices, which I really like, but that tangy, canned, sweet-but-acidic tomato flavoring is what this snack ends on, and that ruins these for me.
The tomato flavoring tastes thin and sad, like texture-less canned tomato soup, and I hate that part of it. I shared these with my tomato-friendly family and they agreed this was their least favorite of all the wacky Herr's products I picked up, but when I brought these into work my boss really liked them. She liked them so much she went out and grabbed a bag of her own, so rather than let these die a slow, stale, death here in our snack cabinet unloved and unappreciated, I gave her our bag.

My boss is a tomato soup fan, so if you like Campbell's canned tomato soup, or Spaghetti O's, you'll probably love these. Unfortunately, the thought of canned tomato soup gives me the chills. My family didn't enjoy them, and neither did I, so this is a product we'll never re-buy. (I rhymed!) But yeah, these taste like canned tomato death and I am not a fan. 
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  1. I always had a theory Ollie's over priced things (the new one here does..) because Herr chips typically only cost $1 in stores.