What’s Popp’n? [4/5]
4 (80%) 1 vote

What's Poppn'?
After a week of “vacation eating”, the hubby and I weren’t feeling up to large meal out. So instead we stopped in at a new gourmet popcorn place a few friends had mentioned. Located just north of Weatherly on South Parkway, What’s Popp’n? opened in early July with a broad array of popcorn flavors. While their hours are currently limited to weekday evenings and weekends, they will expand to full time September 1st.

The hubby and I were delighted to find that the store features a “tasting bar” where you can sample each of the flavors. Each flavor was kept in a tupperware container, which made for easy pouring, and small plastic cups were available to hold the samples. Because the tupperware containers are not airtight, the owner warned us that the popcorn would be less crisp than the bagged product, but that the flavor was unchanged. Savory flavors lined one side of the table, sweet the other, and “spicy” varieties, made with chile powder, were sprinkled throughout. In general, I found that I preferred the savory to the sweet as the sweet were too artificial for my liking. The “spicy” flavors had a dry kick which hit in the back of your mouth, much like the Fireball candies I remember eating as a kid. The popcorn, however, packed much more of a punch.

I was happily surprised by the reasonable pricing (small, 2 ounce “teaser” bags will run you about a dollar) and the hubby and I selected four teasers (red cherry, white cheddar cheese, loaded baked potato, and milk chocolate and caramel) and a small bag (bacon and cheese) to take home with us.

What's Poppn'?
The teasers (on the right), held 2-3 handfuls of popcorn and were the perfect size for a small snack. The small held 2-4 servings and would be a great size for taking to a movie. The owner had told us that bacon and cheese is one of their most popular flavors and it was easy to see why. The “cheese” was a white cheddar cheese, which provided a solid base for the strong, smoky flavor of the bacon. This was the boldest of the flavors we bought and gave the airy, crunchy popcorn some real body.

I was pleased to find that there was a distinct flavor difference between the bacon and cheese and the loaded baked potato flavors. The loaded baked potato was a much more subtle flavor. There were light notes of bacon and cheese, but the predominate flavor leaned toward sour cream with a hint of chives. Delicious and far more delicate than I expected.

The white cheddar was texturally the heaviest, with a strong cheesy flavor that tasted like real cheddar, not the artificial powders so commonly used. The only downside was that the heaviness of the cheese (and perhaps the moisture if it is indeed made with real cheese) made the popcorn less crisp than the other flavors. The coating, for the most part, remained on the popcorn which made this a much neater snack than most standard cheese popcorns.

The milk chocolate and caramel flavor appeared to have been achieved through a double dipping process, a thin coating of chocolate over an equally thin coating of caramel. This was my favorite of the sweet popcorns. Between the vanilla flavor of the caramel and the sheer candy coatings, the combined flavor was bright and lightly sweet, the chocolate more of a scent than a taste.

The cherry was a sharp counterpoint to the lightness of the milk chocolate and caramel. The coating was much thicker, giving a crunch to each piece. The flavor was unquestionably artificial, reminding me of lollipops, but it steered clear of being too sweet. My husband named this one of his favorites (second only to the bacon and cheese).

We greatly enjoyed sampling the various flavors and will absolutely be back (we’ve already made our plans actually…). Although they were too artificial for my taste, my husband was very taken by the candy flavors and I’m sure kids would love them. Small bags or tins* would be great for holiday gifts or parties. I could even see playing “guess what flavor this is” with a group. And the pricing makes it easy to pop in for a sweet or savory treat.

Total for the meal: $8.15 (includes 4 teasers and one small)

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*Well aware of Huntsville loyalties, the owner has tins for Bama, Auburn, and more even though her teams reside in Florida.