Spiced and Infused

Spiced and Infused, formerly known as Cobra Corn, has four new popcorn flavors — Asian Barbecue, Bombay Seasoning, Chipotle Taco, and French Herb. I recently got a small box that contained a small sample of each flavor.

I started my tasting with the French Herb.  It was awesome!  I just couldn’t stop eating it. There were quite a few spices (black pepper, basil, fennel, garlic, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme), but the combination worked real well. This would be a great popcorn flavor to enjoy at Thanksgiving. The next flavor I tried was the Chipotle Taco. It had a mild chili flavor, and I definitely tasted cumin on the front end, but the chipotle flavoring was just too mild. I was hoping for something a lot stronger. And, I just didn’t like the the Bombay and Asian Barbecue flavors. Sometimes the combination of spices just doesn’t work.  And, I wasn’t craving for more after the first taste.

Creating new flavors for popcorn is very challenging. I applaud those who attempt to create new flavors. Thank you. And, although I wanted to like all the flavors from Spiced and Infused, I could only recommend the French Herb flavor. Sometimes one out of four isn’t bad.  I wish I had a few big bags of the French Herb to bring for this Thanksgiving.

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LesserEvil – Avacado-Licious and Bonsai

lesserevil_avacadoLesserEvil came out with a few new flavors that I tried recently — Avacado-Licious and Bonsai.

I opened up the Avacado-Licious and began tasting. I thought the flavor was going to taste like avacados, which I love, but it tasted like plain salted popcorn. However, each bag does contain the oil of more than one avacado, and the popcorn was fresh and crunchy. The health benefits may be good, but don’t expect an avacado flavor.

The Bonsai flavor was absolutely amazing. If you like the taste and spiciness of wasabi then you’re going to love this popcorn flavor. I could taste the wasabi as soon as I crunched on the first bite. Within a few seconds I was eating it by the handful and stuffing it into my mouth. I just couldn’t get enough of that spicy wasabi flavor. When I stopped munching I realized that I had consumed more than half of the bag. It took about three minutes for the wasabi flavor to dissipate and that’s when I was craving for more.

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Snacks 101 – the first BAKED popcorn

snacks101A few weeks ago I got to go to the Expo East show at the Convention Center in Baltimore. I met over a dozen popcorn vendors and also took home a rather large quantity of popcorn (see picture at the bottom of this page).

One of the vendors was Snacks 101 — the first BAKED popcorn. And, just a few days after the show I received a big box that contained four of their flavors — Purely Sea Salt, Less Mess White Cheddar, Smokey Chipotle, and Sweet & Spicy Siracha.

I began my tasting by opening the bag of Purely Sea Salt. And, with only three ingredients (popcorn, pure coconut oil, and sea salt), it was quite tasty. It had a great crunch and it nearly disintegrates in your mouth. I don’t know anything about the baking process, but those kernels need quite a lot of heat to pop. I would love to see a video to see just how this popcorn is popped in an oven. And, by the way, I munched from this bag for about 30 minutes before it was all gone.

The next flavor I tried was the Less Mess White Cheddar. There is actually less of a mess, and the white cheddar flavor was light, but satisfying. The Smokey Chipotle flavor was next and it turned out to be my favorite. The combination of spices was awesome and that flavor stayed on my tongue for about four minutes after eating.  I was craving for more when I stopped munching. The Sweet & Spicy Siracha was my least favorite. I didn’t care too much for the combination of flavors and I thought the siracha flavor could have been stronger.

Snacks 101 uses a baking process that actually sucks the moisture out of the popcorn and makes it lighter and crunchier. I highly recommend the Purely Sea Salt and Smokey Chipotle flavors.

Thanks, and Keep on Poppin’

Here’s what I came home with from the show:

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What is Gourmet Popcorn?

I often get asked the question, “What is gourmet popcorn?”

But, before I give you my definition, I’d like to let you know that there are many varieties of popcorn kernels and lots and lots of ready to eat (RTE) popcorn flavors. The market has become saturated with so many choices for popcorn lovers. Some companies just harvest the popcorn and sell kernels, while the companies who create RTE popcorn get their kernels from a vendor and add a multitude of flavoring, some good, some bad.

Before gourmet popcorn, there was gourmet popping corn (the kernels), which was coined by Orville Redenbacher when he created an exclusive hybrid popcorn kernel that pops up lighter, fluffier, and bigger. Unfortunately, bigger is not always better. There are a lot of other companies who harvest a better kernel. Some of these varieties pop up small, but they have a much better natural popcorn flavor.  They are also easier to digest and have a higher nutritional value.

So, what is gourmet popcorn?

Gourmet popcorn is created when someone uses a great popcorn kernel for popping and then adds the finest ingredients to make a flavorful combination. The key is getting both correct. You can use a crappy kernel and great ingredients, and you can use a great kernel variety and mediocre ingredients, but this won’t create great gourmet popcorn. You need to have both — a great, consistent popcorn kernel and a “wow-factor” combination of the best ingredients you can find. It is only when you have both that you can claim that you have “gourmet popcorn.”

It was back in the beginning of 2010 when I wrote by first popcorn review and since then I’ve reviewed over 100 different companies and tasted well over 500 different kinds of popcorn flavors. Many of these, in my opinion, are gourmet popcorn flavors. I’m not going to mention any companies by name, but you know who you are and you make some incredible gourmet popcorn flavors.

Thanks and Keep on Poppin’


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cromersA few weeks ago I got a box from Cromer’s that contained three bags of popcorn — Caramel Corn, Cheesy Sweet Monkey Munch, and Sweet n Sassy Caramel Corn.

I absolutely love caramel popcorn. I’ve tasted well over 100 different kinds from quite a lot of popcorn companies. The recipe for caramel popcorn is relatively the same, but the ingredients used are varied. Finding the right combination is the key.

I started out my tasting with the Caramel Corn. It was really, really good and it only lasted a few minutes. It wasn’t a very large bag, but it did contain enough popcorn for two to enjoy, however, there was nobody around to share with so I consumed it all myself. Next up was the Cheesy Sweet Monkey Munch. It basically tasted very similar to the Caramel Corn flavor with just a minimal flavor of cheese. It really needed more cheese flavoring. The final flavor, Sweet n Sassy Caramel Corn, turned out to be my favorite. It contained a mixture of spicy ingredients (onion, garlic, etc.) that tickled my tongue. It starts out as a sweet caramel flavor and then the spicy flavors kick in as you are chewing and stay on your tongue for a few minutes. I was craving for more when the flavor was gone.

All the popcorn from Cromer’s was fresh and crunchy. I highly recommend the Caramel Corn and the Sweet n Sassy Caramel Corn flavors.

Keep on Poppin’

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Palo Popcorn

palo_popcornThis week I’ve been adding a little Palo Popcorn to my salads. It’s a great way to add a little crunch and flavor. Palo sent me a big box that contained all of their popcorn flavors — Cheddar, White Cheddar, Jalapeno Cheddar, Bacon Cheddar, and Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar. Palo Popcorn makes great cheese popcorn and being in the State of Wisconsin helps.

I began my tasting with the White Cheddar popcorn. It was awesome! I was soon eating it by the handful after just a few bites. Next up was the regular Cheddar flavor and it too was awesome. I actually added some to my salad (pictured) later that night. The Jalapeno Cheddar had a very nice spicy flavor that stayed on the middle of my tongue for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the Bacon Cheddar and the Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar did’t contain real bacon. The bacon flavoring was there, it just wasn’t real bacon.

Palo Popcorn is a must try if you like cheese popcorn. It’s certainly some of the best cheese popcorn I’ve had in quite some time. The Jalapeno Cheddar flavor was my favorite, and don’t forget — it also makes a great salad topping.

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Humphrey Popcorn Company

The Humphrey Popcorn Company sent me a box that contained two popcorn balls (one caramel and one original) and a large bag of their lightly salted popcorn.
I started my tasting by opening up the Original Popcorn Ball. I knew it was going to be difficult to eat whole so I smashed it while it was still sealed in the bag. It immediately broke into easy to eat pieces. I grabbed a big hunk and began munching. It was sweet and crunchy and had a pretty good popcorn flavor. Next up was the caramel popcorn ball. I hit it a few times with the back of a big spoon and broke it up so it was easier to eat. It looked good, but it just didn’t have a great caramel flavor. I was hoping for the lightly salted popcorn to taste better, and it did. I opened up the bag and after munching for a few minutes I had a hard time putting it down. It was fairly salty and had a great popcorn flavor. I probably ate about half of the popcorn before putting it in another container for later. I really liked the lightly salted popcorn, but I didn’t care too much for the popcorn balls.

Keep on Poppin’

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