Chris' Heritage dips

Chris' dips are known to stand out for various reasons and the new range continues this impression but for very different reasons.

Originally it was the hommus that stood out for me. It tasted good and, even after the supermarket shelves started sagging under the weight of competitors, it was the product I'd seek out for many years. These days there are other brands I eat more often and it seems like Chris' hommus disappeared.

So I was curious when a new brand of dips appeared in Woolworths that had the Chris' brand but were in terracotta pots. The price was prohibitively expensive, so I've only bought two as they were reduced to around half price. I've noticed that these "Heritage" dips have been on special recently and I'd guess that it's because they aren't selling.

The full price at $8 is probably meant to represent the quality of the ingredients, which would be in line with my opinion of the Chris' Dips brand. However, there are a number of things that make me think this product is doomed.

Let's start with the terracotta pot. While I recognise it is worthwhile to provide reusable packaging, the weight of this container must be almost equivalent to the contents. In my mind that becomes unsustainable as shipping costs mean it will compare badly to competitors in plastic. Maybe this is why it is sold in the prepared meal section rather than alongside other dips.

Based on the two "Heritage" flavours I've tried, the contents are also challenging to sell because they are also very unusual in the Australian marketplace. The flavours are unlike anything I've seen outside of a fancy restaurant but, again, that might be meant to connote quality.

The blue cheese and fig blend that I tried first led me to wonder if it wasn't out of date. The smell was sick and not in the good way. At first I thought I'd chuck it and accept it was a bad investment, but I persevered and by the end of the third attempt I'd come to like it. However, I couldn't interest anyone else in my house in trying it. That isn't surprising though, as no one else here likes blue cheese.

The gorgonzola, pear and walnut blend is less confronting but still very unusual. The smell is still on the strong side but the taste is lot creamier. The sachet of walnuts was small and, frankly, didn't add much to my experience. I ate this dip in two sittings though.

The packaging suggests that the term "Heritage" is an allusion to Chris himself, as Christos Tassios died in 2012. The result for me is lingering questions as to whether the product is too advanced for a market that is assumed to becoming more sophisticated and willing to pay more for quality.

The "Heritage" dips are a fascinating example of extending a brand in a different direction posthumously. While they're tasty if you like strong cheese flavours, it'll be interesting to see if there's a market for this expensive and unusual product.