Friday, June 09, 2017

Popcorn Factory Popcorn

Update Review - June 2017

My past experiences of The Popcorn Factory have all be of their giant tins of popcorn that show up around the holidays.  I adored the cheese popcorn last time I had it, and liked the caramel corn quite a bit, as you can go read about in that original review.

It turns out, The Popcorn Factory also makes popcorn that is distributed as part of gift boxes.  And just like those tins, folks tend to bring these to the office to get rid of the items they aren't excited about.  I'm not sure why no one is excited about popcorn like me, but, their loss, my gain!

I was thrilled to see a flavor I hadn't yet tried: kettle corn! (Side note: if you ever go to New Hampshire during the summer, and want the best kettle corn ever, let me know, and I'll tell you all about the best little kettle corn stand that pops up at farmer's markets.  It is the best ever, seriously, and I always bring home suitcases full, which I then store in the freezer, and enjoy year round.  Soooo good).  Sadly, The Popcorn Factory kettle corn was not for me.

I'd still love to try more of their flavors though, as the base product is good, and they have some awesome sounding options, like savory buffalo ranch or bacon cheddar.   Or sweet peanut brittle or pumpkin caramel praline crunch.  Or the crazy decadent drizzled birthday confetti or dark chocolate cherry cordial.  So many choices.
Kettle Corn.
"Our premium, all-natural Kettle corn is the best of both worlds-it's a little bit salty and a whole lot of crunchy sweetness. (It's so tasty, we use it as a base for many of our signature flavors, too!) Each bite reminds you of why you love popcorn as much as we do. "

This "kettle corn" made me angry.  Kettle corn is supposed to be lighter than caramel corn.  It is not supposed to be nearly as sweet.  It should be a magical hybrid of buttery popcorn that is a touch sweet and definitely salty.

But this ... this was caramel corn.  I did not detect any salt.  And the kernels were absolutely coated in sugar/corn syrup, making it just as sweet, and just as glazed, as any caramel corn.  If I didn't know better, I'd honestly think they accidentally packaged up the wrong popcorn and put it in the box.  

I actually looked this up, and found that an ounce of the caramel corn has 14 grams of sugar, and an ounce of this kettle corn has 16 grams.   Yes, it is more sugary than the caramel corn.  That is not right!

To be fair, the popcorn was good, the kernels well coated, but, grumble, not kettle corn.  A friend tried one bite and he too also exclaimed, "This isn't really kettle corn!"

Original Review, May 216

ZOMG, popcorn.  Yes, I have a problem with popcorn.  I'm obsessed, and I freely admit it.  It is my favorite of all snack foods.  But ... I don't actually really like standard microwave butter popcorn.  Or even movie theater popcorn.  

No, this doesn't mean that I like high brow popcorn, just, that I like it savory or sweet, with interesting flavors.  (And, strangely, I usually like it frozen.  Seriously.  Try it sometime, particularly caramel corn.  It gets even crispier!  And it lasts forever!)
Peek-A-Boo Snowman Popcorn Tin, 3.5 Gallon, 3-Flavor.  $39.
So, you know that time of year, when people get those popcorn tins from clients?  The ones they groan about, and bring to the office, and hope someone else will eat it?

That happens to be my favorite time of year.  (And not just for the popcorn tins!)

Every year, without fail, a few of these wind up around our office.  This year, one tin was from Popcorn Factory, as it has been in past years, but I never bothered write up a review before.

This time, I finally snapped a pic.  Behold: the tin!

Popcorn Factory is an online retailer of popcorn tins, gift baskets, and the like.  Generally used for corporate gifting, last minute Father's day gifts, etc.  They offer all your classic savory popcorns (butter, cheese, white cheddar, etc) and sweet (caramel, kettle, etc), but also like 30 other flavors including the fascinating sounding fruit flavors like sour green apple (also, um, its bright green!), crazy combos like butter toffee almond with pretzels, and a birthday flavor with sugar drizzle and rainbow sprinkles that I really really want to try.

Of course, no one sends the fun flavors, they stick with the classics, so that is what I was able to try.

Cheese Popcorn / Caramel Popcorn / Butter Popcorn.
Inside the tin was 3 varieties, all divided by a cardboard insert: cheese, caramel, and butter.  All you folks who actually like butter popcorn can have that one, while the savory cheese one and the sweet caramel corn can be mine, all mine!

The tin is also available in a 4 flavor version, with the addition of white cheddar popcorn.

My reviews, in order of preference (least to best):

Butter Popcorn: "The popcorn classic with freshly popped kernels and buttery deliciousness."
I tried it, just for trying it sake, but, well, yes, it was just butter popcorn.  Not fresh, not hot, why on earth would I ever want this?  I left it all for the rest of you, who seemed to devour it.  No one else touched the ones I kept returning for.

Caramel Popcorn: "Super crunchy and super delicious, one of our most popular popcorn recipes."
I fully expected the caramel popcorn to be my favorite.  And I did like it, I easily polished off the rest of the tin.  Each and every kernel was very well coated in caramel.  It was crispy.  Nice buttery caramel flavor, not the burnt caramel flavor you sometimes get.  Good, sweet, satisfying.  But the best was yet to come.

Cheese Popcorn: "A must for any popcorn fan. When you think of cheese popcorn, this is it!"
Huzzah!  Now this, this was amazing.  Like the others, the kernels were perfectly coated, no kernel left behind untouched.  It was so cheesy, in that fake cheese that you-know-you-love way.  It coated my fingers and left them orange.  You can bet I licked them clean.  I loved this.  It mixed nicely with the caramel corn for a sweet and savory combo, but really, it was just fantastic on its own.  I wasn't even tempted to freeze this one!
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