In honor of the “big game”, Mama Cozzi’s is offering up a generous portion of her chicken wings as a special buy at Aldi stores across the nation!
Really, “chicken wings” seems to be kind of a stretch, as they remind me more of chicken nuggets than any form of wing. Just the smell of these right out of the box seems to suggest a nugget more than a wing, as did my preferred method of eating them, which consisted of dipping the pieces into the accompanying sauces. To me, a wing already has sauce on them, furthering my own argument with myself. Lastly, they’re pretty darn small. I mean, smaller than most boneless wings I’ve seen, and I’m including ones I’ve seen at terrible joints like Buffalo Wild Wings, which is somehow one of the most popular wing places in the U.S., despite charging a premium for wings that are no bigger than the average humans thumb. But I digress.
I guess we’ve already stumbled on my first negative with these: Despite the packaging claiming that there are 35 wings in the box, a number that seems to be pretty accurate, the $9.99 asking price seems a little excessive when you factor in the size of each wing. Some are so small that they’re just breading, with no meat even inside. Another 50% are one-biters, and are gone before you can even enjoy them, and a majority of the rest will take you two bites to down them. Sure, they are only $.29 each, but in this case I would much rather go to the bar down the street, and get 25 large wings, smothered in the sauce of my choice, for the same price.
On to the taste: There’s really not much of it, at least on their own. The smell is very misleading, as it seems to suggest a complex mixture of seasonings and spices that really is enticing; the buildup to the first bite was more exciting than the bite itself. Really, they just taste like chicken that’s covered with an overly-generous amount of non-descript breading, something that also further lessens the value, as most wings are more bread than actual meat. I definitely wouldn’t say that they taste terrible, just bland. And sometimes that can be even worse.
But it’s not all negatives: If you’re looking for something positive, let me just focus your attention on the two included dipping sauces. One is sweet chili, which actually happens to be my favorite flavor of wing at the aforementioned bar I go to, and the other is a standard barbecue. Only, the barbecue is outrageously flavorful, and deserves a much better fate than being packaged in an otherwise boring collection of chicken nuggets being passed off as wings. It reminds me a lot of the barbecue found at a certain fast food place featuring a red-headed girl as the logo (who make terrible, terrible commercials that make me want to shoot my television, but again, I digress), but it really does compliment these nuggets very well.
The sweet chili sauce, by comparison, can best be described as a spicy sweet and sour. I happen to love sweet and sour, and I liked this sauce by itself, but just like the barbecue, it doesn’t belong here, only for a different reason: It’s too thin and weak. Flavorwise, it’s pretty incredible, and would taste great in a variety of applications; here, even if you cover the wing in it, it’s so thin that most of it drips off, leaving you with such a light flavor that, somehow, the chicken overpowers it. (To Mama Cozzi’s credit, I will say they also offer the option of “shaking the sauce over cooked wings”. If you do it this way, may I recommend covering them in the sweet chili, though I’m not sure how those would taste dipped in barbecue.)
Overall, these are a gyp. I could get behind such an excessive price tag if: a.) The chicken was a decent size, or b.) The ingredient list wasn’t five miles long, insinuating that what we’re getting for the price is just more heavily-processed crap of which the likes are all over every supermarket. And that, perhaps, is what leaves the worst taste in my mouth. Well that, and the ghetto-fied spelling of “Wyngz” on the box.
Overall: 4/10. Underwhelming in every sense of the word, and at a rather expensive price tag, Mama Cozzi’s Chicken Wyngz (as they are embarrassingly spelled, in an apparent attempt to look “hip” and “cool” and “current”) are actually chicken nuggets in disguise as wings. The breading overwhelms the actual chicken, yet despite smelling like a delicious blend of herbs and spices, tastes incredibly bland. The only saving grace in this whole mess are the two included dipping sauces: The barbecue is thick, rich, and surprisingly delicious, and shouldn’t be in here on account of the fact it makes the chicken taste way better than it has any right to, while the sweet chili tastes amazing on its own, but shouldn’t be in here because it’s too thin and falls right off the chicken. If you are watching your budget in any form whatsoever, take the $10 you would spend on this, and spend it on something that’s actually worth your while.