In America, you have Cheetos Crunchy. In Canada, we have Cheezies. And also Cheetos. Because that’s how we are up here – carving out an identity for ourselves while borrowing cultural tidbits from our southern neighbours.
Snipping open the retro awesome bag of Hawkins Cheezies, the smell that wafts out is similar to Kraft Dinner – notes of cheese and processing, mostly. They look gnarled and random, not unlike bright orange twigs cut up into pieces and doused in flavouring powder that gets all over your hands. They’re thicker and chunkier than Cheetos, which gives them a substantial feel. It’s like the difference between crinkle cut and shoestring fries.
When you pop a Cheezie in your mouth and bite down, you get a big, loud, satisfying crunch. (You can’t eat these covertly in a meeting or a movie theatre.) The flavour is cooked, fried corn at the core, almost like a good tortilla chip. They’re hard and dense, not light and fluffy. It feels like eating something with substance, not puffed up cheesy air. They’re not overly salty, nor are they sweet. The bag states that they’re made with REAL cheddar cheese – their all-caps, not mine – though given the name, you’d think the cheese would be more dominant.
They’re just an all-around balanced snack. It’s hardly a surprise they’ve been a Canadian convenience store staple for decades.
Price: $1.35 for a 45-gram bag at Winston’s corner store in downtown Edmonton.
Availability: Easy to find in Canada.
Nutrition: 250 calories per 45-gram bag. Of note, 410 mg of sodium and 15 grams of fat. So, basically, the bag is 33% fat. I’m going to pretend I didn’t learn that.
Verdict: Classic Canadian snack treat. The crunch, the texture, the taste … Delightful.