I recently received some samples of Pizza Slice Spice™, a new product that debuted at the 2013 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas (I gotta go to that, sometime). The idea is that you shake this powder onto a plain pizza slice to give it added flavor, without the added calories, fat or cost of actual, traditional toppings.
PSS comes in four flavors, Parmesan Garlic, Buffalo Wing, Bacon Cheddar, and Barbeque.
How does it taste? I tasted them blind, without having read what flavors they were supposed to be. I did correctly identify the Parmesan Garlic, which is probably my favorite of the three. The Buffalo Wing was simply spicy hot, with a sharp cheese-like flavor in the background. I had no idea it was supposed to taste like Buffalo chicken. The Bacon Cheddar reminded me of smoked cheese, which I like, although once I read the label I could see how it was supposed to taste like bacon. And the Barbeque was easy to guess - it's a lot like the spice mixture on BBQ potato chips.
But are they good? Yes, depending of course on your personal tastes. Speaking of potato chips, I'd say that if you're the sort of person who likes different flavored potato or tortilla chips, you'll like these. They are salty (the BBQ is also a little sugary), and as you might expect, the flavors are not exactly like the real thing. You can't reduce bacon and cheddar to a powder and expect it to taste like actual bacon and cheddar. But they are good, again in a crunchy-munchy snack-food kind of way.
I'm not sure who the target audience is here. Obviously the pizza eater is the end user, but I'm not sure if these are intended to be marketed primarily to consumers or to pizzerias. I could imagine the latter not wanting to stock them, if customers are going to see this as a substitute for more expensive toppings. I don't think they will, but that seems to be part of the idea behind them.
I was also a little surprised not to see pepperoni as one of the flavors. That seems like a no-brainer to me. Maybe down the road. And while these might be tasty on a slice of cheese pizza, it seems to me that they could have a lot of other applications as well, like pasta, popcorn, french fries, oven toasted bread, and grilled meats.
If these sound appealing to you, you can order them from the Pizza Slice Spice website, and depending on how things go, you may start to see them on store shelves or at your local pizzeria, next to the shakers of Romano and red pepper flakes. They come in 1 oz. bottles (about the size of half-size spice jar), and retail for $3.99 apiece. Each jar is estimated to yield 25 servings.