Friday, July 19, 2019

Rocky Mountain Popcorn

Snacks. Popcorn.  Trying regional items when I travel.  These are some of my favorite things.  So when I visited our Boulder, CO office, I was of course eager to try out the local products, like, Rocky Mountain Popcorn.
Popcorn Bag.
"Rocky Mountain Popcorn® is wholesome kernels as FLUFFY as high-country clouds. A crunch as LIGHT as the mountain air. Now that’s taking your snack to new heights! Taste HUGE.™ "
Uh, ok?  Fluffy, light, and huge.  Got it.

The popcorn is available in 6 fairly standard flavors: "naked", butter, white cheddar, kettle, caramel, and jalapeno.  Nothing particularly novel here.  They do make a product size intended to fit in cup holders, for snacking on the road, which I thought was kinda cute (except, really, is that a problem? A popcorn bag fits quite nicely in my lap thank you very much!)

The parent company, Open Road Snacks, also has a healthier line, called "Sinfully Thin" of lighter popcorn flavors.  "No longer will you be trapped in popcorn purgatory when you unleash the naughty nibbler within," they say.

I tried the simple Rocky Mountain line, as it was all that was available.

I started with the "Naked".  The most basic flavor of all, just popcorn and canola oil.  I tried it just to understand the foundation of their goods, not because plain popcorn is remotely interesting to me.  It was ... popcorn.  No unique aspects, there just isn't much to say.
Butter.
"Crunchy and salty, exploding with buttery flavor. Just like you're at the movies. Need we say more."

I moved on to the butter popcorn.

Movie theater popcorn.  That is how I'd sum this up.  It looked exactly like movie theater popcorn, with an extreme, unnatural looking, orange hue.  Except, from a sealed bag, and not actually dripping in warm melted butter.  Not nearly as fun as real movie theater popcorn.

The kernels were indeed large, all well popped, and evenly coated in "butter flavor" (and, corn oil).  A nicely made product.  But it was also boring.  The butter flavor wasn't the decadence you get from real, fresh butter.

It also was not a light popcorn.  I was amazed that the single serving bag was 260 calories.

Meh, not worth it.
Cheddar Bacon.
"Light and airy popcorn kernels with the taste of cheddar and bacon."

I was pretty weary of this one.  I've seen the bacon fad come (and, thankfully, mostly go by now), where "bacon makes everything better" is the mantra, and, although I like bacon, I find it often really isn't the answer I'm looking for.  And I'm fairly particular about my savory cheesy popcorn.

One bite in though, my fears dissipated.  I loved it.

Did it taste like actual bacon?  Not at all.  But the taste was unmistakable.  It tasted like bacon bits.  The fake, shaker bottle kind.  That I adore.  That I never had in my house growing up, but my friends did, and I remember, in particular, loving shaking them all over the english muffin pizzas my best friend's mom made (seriously, so good.  She oiled and toasted the english muffins in advance, and what a world of difference it makes!). I was transplanted back immediately.  Fakin' bacon.  Yes.

And the cheese?  Also fake, in the great way.  I expected orange fingers from fake cheese, and I didn't care.

This was a winner, nostalgia, and such familiar tastes, just in a different form.  The popcorn too was high quality, huge nicely popped pieces.

I'd get this again.
Jalapeño.
"Dressed in the perfect amount of spice that anyone can appreciate, this popcorn is packed with the authentic, bold, zest of jalapeño flavor. Try it (we dare you), and join the fan club."

Another good popcorn from Rocky Mountain.  The signature large, airy kernels were like all the other varieties I tried.  Perfectly popped.

I was confused when I tasted it at first though.  I expected ... heat.  And likely salt.  But I tasted ... cheese?  It turns out, the third ingredient, after popcorn and canola oil is ... "cheese blend".  No wonder I tasted cheese!  These really should be called "cheesy jalapeño" ...  I liked the cheese powder, don't get me wrong, just, wasn't what I was expecting.

And then, as I was pondering the cheese, the jalapeño hit.  Ah, yes.  There was the hit.  It took a moment for it to come on, but once it did, very obvious.  Nice kick to it.

This was a good flavor, not necessarily one I would normally go for, but I enjoyed trying it, and it was different to mix up my regular savory popcorn lineup.  The spice made it a bit harder to pair with my meals though!

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