Silver Fern Brand – Pai Popcorn

paipopcornPai Popcorn makes four different popcorn flavors: Crunchy Caramel Corn, Sweet Cheddar Jalapeno, Sweet Kettle Corn, and Movie Theater Popcorn. Silver Fern Brand sent me two bags of each flavor.

I began my tasting with the Movie Theater flavor. It had a nice salty flavor and the popcorn was fresh and crunchy. The next flavor I tasted was the Crunchy Caramel Corn. The caramel coating was very light and the popcorn itself was a little chewy. The caramel flavoring was also not very good. The second bag of the same flavor yielded the same results. I just didn’t like this flavor. The Sweet Kettle Corn flavor was next. It was lightly sweet and had just the right amount of salt to enhance the sweet flavor. The Sweet Cheddar Jalapeno flavor was very similar to the Kettle Corn flavor in texture and sweetness, with the addition of a mild spicy cheddar flavor.

There is no real sugar or butter used in making these popcorn flavors. Kakato™, a natural sweetener and nutrient dense algae (with the flavor and taste of real butter) are two of the ingredients used. This is probably the reason why I didn’t like the Crunchy Caramel Corn flavor.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Farmers Best Popcorn

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If you like popping your own popcorn on the stove top then you’ll love Farmers Best Premium White Popcorn.

The family run business of Tom and Diane Decker, located in Rockwell City, Iowa, sent me a box that contained a three pound bag of their premium white popcorn along with a few bags of their microwave popcorn ~ Butter and Butter Light. I took some of the microwave popcorn to work one day and popped up a mid-morning snack. I set the microwave on three minutes and waited. The popcorn continued to pop well into the final seconds, but when I opened up the bag the center was toast. I guess the microwave at work is really powerful. I still ate most of the popcorn that was around the smokey center of the bag and really liked it. The butter flavor was really good, but the light flavor had very little butter flavor. The popcorn nearly disintegrates in your mouth when chewing and there is very little hull. I’m really not a big fan of microwave popcorn, but it’s always convenient. And, Farmers Best has a great product. Just don’t set your microwave on three minutes or use the Popcorn button. That’s a big mistake.

I usually pop my popcorn on the stove top in a big pot that I’ve been using for years. I coat the bottom of the pan with the oil of my liking, usually vegetable oil or coconut oil, and heat up the pan a little bit without putting any kernels in. About thirty seconds later I add enough kernels to coat the entire bottom of the pot that I’m using. Then, I add a little salt place the heat on high and put the lid on a bit sideways to let the steam out. About two minutes later I have a big pot of freshly popped popcorn. I used the technique above with Farmers Best Premium White Popcorn and it worked perfectly. Just about every kernel popped and it was delicious.

I highly recommend Farmers Best.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Doc Popcorn: Cocoa Marshmallow Crunch

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Doc Popcorn specializes in kettle-cooked flavored popcorn. They sent me a small tin of their newest flavor, Cocoa Marshmallow Crunch. As you can see in the picture above some of the popcorn is dark and coated with cocoa while the lighter pieces were marshmallow flavored. And, there were some pieces that had both flavors, probably from mixing them together. The cocoa flavor, however, was very subtle and the marshmallow flavor was prominent. The texture was similar to kettle corn and it had a nice sweet crunch. I really liked the combination of flavors, but would have preferred a stronger cocoa flavor.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Wayne’s Popcorn

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Wayne’s Popcorn makes five different gourmet popcorn flavors ~ Simply Salted, Sugar Rush, Cheesy Boom, Jalapeno Zest, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Bam.

I began my tasting with the Simply Salted. It had a decent amount of salt and tasted pretty good, but the popcorn itself was a little chewy. The Sugar Rush flavor was next and it had a very nice sugary sweet flavor. Each piece of popcorn was evenly coated with a fine powdered sugar. The Cheesy Boom flavor was next. I expected to taste cheese, but this flavor didn’t have any cheesy ingredients. The flavor came from the addition of nutritional yeast. I liked it, but I wanted to taste cheese. The Jalapeno Zest flavor was up next and it was really good. The jalapeno spices were mild and the heat stayed on my tongue for about a minute. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Bam was the last flavor I tried. I’m glad I saved it for last because it turned out to be my favorite flavor. Every piece had a fine coating of powdered cocoa and peanut butter — a great combination of flavors — I was eating it by the handful.

I enjoyed tasting all the flavors from Wayne’s, especially the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bam. If you want to give Wayne’s popcorn a try click here.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Dolle’s vs. Fisher’s

If you happen to be on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD then you’re lucky to have a couple of options for caramel popcorn. Fisher’s has always been my choice and I’ve been buying it for many years. But Dolle’s is another option that needs to be considered. This past Memorial Day weekend I was lucky to get both and I did a side-by-side comparison.

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Pictured above on the left is Fisher’s and on the right is Dolle’s. As you can clearly see Dolle’s is much darker. Fisher’s popcorn uses only light brown sugar and Dolle’s is made using a combination of white sugar and dark brown sugar, which gives it a darker color. I was really surprised when I tasted Dolle’s caramel popcorn. It actually tasted a little better than Fisher’s. And, all this time I’ve been buying Fisher’s when I visit Ocean City. Fisher’s is lighter tasting and has less caramel coating, where Dolle’s is thicker and has a stronger caramel flavor. I do think they could both benefit by adding a bit more salt.

If you happen to visit Ocean City, MD this year be sure to give Dolle’s caramel popcorn a try. You just might like it better than Fisher’s, like I did.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Catoctin Popcorn Company

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I recently got my hands on six popcorn flavors from Catoctin Popcorn Company — Caramel, Classic Cheddar Cheese, Honey Pecan, Cinnamon Pecan Caramel, Apple Pie, and Milk Chocolate Drizzled Caramel (pictured above). Catoctin Popcorn is located in Frederick, MD which is about 30 miles west from where I live. All of their popcorn is popped in peanut oil and some of the ingredients they use are locally sourced, like the honey harvested from hives in nearby Thurmont, MD.

I started my tasting with the Caramel. It was spot on. The caramel flavor was well balanced — it was buttery, salty, and sweet. The Classic Cheddar Cheese was also spot on. The combination of these two flavors just happens to be a Chicago classic. I could easily tell after the first bite that some pretty good ingredients were being used to create these popcorn flavors.

The Honey Pecan had a light honey flavor and contained pecan halves coated in a sugary glaze — a great combination. The Cinnamon Pecan Caramel and the Apple Pie flavors were also very good flavor combinations. The Apple Pie flavor had real bits of apple and small pieces of graham cracker that created a great mixture of textures. I’m adding this flavor to my breakfast list. The last flavor I tried was the Milk Chocolate Drizzled Caramel. I had to put this flavor in the fridge when I got it because the chocolate started melting. When I took it out of the fridge it hardened into one giant piece and I had to use a knife to break it apart. Once I did I couldn’t stop eating it. It just may be one of the best tasting chocolate drizzled popcorn flavors I’ve tasted.

Creating great gourmet popcorn flavors is all about using the best ingredients you can find and Catoctin Popcorn makes some great tasting gourmet popcorn flavors.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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Metropolis Popcorn

Metropolis Popcorn sent me a small box of samples that included the following flavors — Mac & Cheese, Buffalo Ranch, Heavenly Crunch, Banana Split, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt, and Samoa Cookie.

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The Mac & Cheese had a very subtle cheese flavor. The Buffalo Ranch was also very mild in flavor and not very spicy. The Heavenly Crunch was a mixture of vanilla flavored caramel popcorn with cashews and white chocolate. I liked the combination of flavors but wanted more cashews and more white chocolate. The Banana Split flavor was an interesting combination of flavors and textures. There was caramel and banana flavored popcorn, a few peanuts, and a drizzle of chocolate. I took a big handful and got all the flavors into my mouth and crunched away. It pretty much tasted like a crunchy banana split. All that was missing was a cherry on top. The Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavor was my favorite. It was also the only flavor that had a great salty taste. I devoured this tiny bag in just a few large bites. The Samoa Cookie was another interesting flavor that combined buttery caramel popcorn with tiny pieces of graham cracker, toasted coconut, and milk chocolate. I liked it but it could have used more toasted coconut and graham cracker.

All of the popcorn flavors from Metropolis Popcorn were pretty good. The Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavor was awesome. The other flavors could have used a little more salt.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’

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