One of the best parts of selling BonBonBars at farmers markets is getting to know my fellow vendors. At the Thursday Century City Farmers Market at 1800 Avenue of the Stars, I’m next to Jim — owner, maker, and purveyor of ThinKrisps.
ThinKrisps are baked discs of either parmesan or cheddar cheeses, in flavors ranging from Original to Lemon Pepper to Savory Sage to many others besides. There’s no flour, no sugar, no gluten. They’re 1 point in Weight Watchers, and have a 1/2g of carbs each… (And I know their sales pitch almost as well as mine. :)) Each disc is made from a 1/4c of cheese.
I have to admit that when I first considered ThinKrisps, I was a little ambivalent because I figured I could make them myself. I’ve made parmesan cheese crisps as part of Thomas Keller’s Goat Cheese Mousse and then for part of his Caesar Salad — and I’d simply baked grated cheese in the oven. They only took a few minutes, and were lacy, delicate, delicious, and in the case of the mousses, molded into egg carton indentations.
But ThinKrisps take the crisply baked cheese idea to a different — and dare I say it — more delectable level. In addition their great flavor, the key for me is that they’re thicker, and that textural change makes a world of difference. By being more substantial, they’re almost like crackers — except that they’re made completely of cheese (and on occasion, seasonings), and so have a zillion times more flavor. Sure, I sometimes like to dip them in hummus and Jim tells me that the Savory Sage ThinKrisps dipped into salsa tastes like pepperoni pizza, but they’re quite delicious all on their own. The potato chip freak in me thinks of them as the ultimate non-potato potato chip — the crunch… the burst of flavor… the saltiness… the way that they quickly disappear. I buy them nearly every week, and they’ve yet to see the end of the weekend. I think my favorite is the Red Pepper Parmesan because I like spicy food (with cheese!), but I eat them all… And fast.
Jim has been in business for 5 years, and he sells at 3 LA farmers markets (Century City on Thursdays, Larchmont Village on Sundays, and Downtown LA at the Bank of America Plaza on Fridays) and through 19 retail outlets in the LA area. He almost always arrives at Century City after I’m set up, and I’m always a little relieved when he shows up — because I know that for the next few hours, customers may come and go (and buy or not buy), but Jim will be there, with groovy music subtly playing on his iPod, to chat with and to commiserate with — and perhaps to discuss sales strategies (inc display, pitch, specials), or the adorable things that customers say, or Disney (of which he is an evangalist), or any interesting, slightly random, thing (which, I guess, is my evangelism — have I mentioned the time that I called Chad in a flurry from the kitchen a few moths ago because I realized that Axl Rose is in Guns & Roses? And Chad found out that the original guitarist was named Guns! Slash replaced him. Were we the last to know?).
Or perhaps we’ll chime in on customer reactions or overhear them — my favorite so far being when I overheard “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!” followed by “YEAH!” and I later confirmed that that had indeed been two friends’ reactions to ThinKrisps samples. Well said.