When we say popcorn, we immediately think of the cheesy, buttery treat that we scarf down at the cinemas. But here comes an upgraded and leisurely version: the gourmet popcorn!
Gourmet popcorn first came to fruition through the perseverance and innovation of Orville Redenbacher. In 1944, he started raising popping corn to be sold in supermarkets. He wanted to find that popcorn hybrid will pop to its light and fluffy perfection and will leave behind very few unpopped kernels. He found that perfect popcorn hybrid in 1965, with the ratio of 44:1, popped to unpopped corn kernel!
Now, we think of gourmet popcorn as a premium treat that inspired one of the biggest snack trends – think of long lines snaking down the street in a stylish district in Tokyo, just to grab a can of gourmet popcorn! The usual cheese, buttered or barbeque flavors have been upgraded to decadent ones, such as truffles, matcha, exotic spices, and more gourmet toppings!
- Gourmet popcorn was declared as the 2013 food trend. Aside from being a snack during movie times or TV show marathons, it even became a must-serve for upscale events such as parties, baby showers and weddings.
- Hollywood actress Scarlet Johansson, along with her husband, established their own gourmet popcorn store in Paris named Yummy Pop. Their store served flavors such as truffle, parmesan and sage and were served with a selection of side dishes like strawberries and cream and chocolate covered strawberries. Now that is truly decadent!
- According to The Popcorn Board, Americans are the biggest consumers of popcorn compared to any other nations. American popcorn consumption is estimated at 15 billion quarts of popcorn annually, or 45 quarts consumed per person annually.
Is there any difference between the regular and gourmet popcorn? The answer is a big YES! The contrast starts right at how they were made and the quality of corn that was used. Any type of corn can be used to make the regular popcorn, while only the finest quality of corn can be made into gourmet popcorn. The way gourmet popcorn seeds were grown is also very particular, by being planted in a specially formulated soil to produce that chewy texture.
Gourmet popcorn can also be more expensive than regular popcorn. But with the premium and indulgent flavors and toppings, that is a given. It is also tagged to be a healthier option than the regular version which can be loaded with preservatives and high levels of salt and sugar.
Production & Farming in Texas
Gourmet popcorn has also made its way to Texas, just like in any part of America and the world. Being part of the American snacking tradition, gourmet popcorn is also made by local gourmet and artisan brands which are available online and through farmers markets, aside from the store-bought options.
Preservatives, Additives and Chemicals
Tagged as the healthier option to regular popcorn, which is often criticized for its sugar, salt, artificial and chemical contents, gourmet popcorn is marketed to be without preservatives and additives.
Gourmet popcorn is usually sold in a more premium packaging, such as exquisitely designed tin cans, which makes it a great gift idea. Some are sold in transparent cups, showcasing the colorful popcorn contents, and the usual sealed or resealable plastic or laminated paper pouches.
Gourmet popcorn has made its way to be an acceptable appetizer for parties and gatherings, even the more upscale events. It has also evolved into being just a personal snack to something indulgent and decadent that can be a gift item during special occasions.
Popcorn must be kept in a tightly sealed container, preferably their original tins or pouches and stored in a cool and dry place. It is best recommended that gourmet popcorns be eaten within one week so it can be at its optimal texture and flavor. Opened popcorn tin or pouches can stay fresh for about 2 to 3 weeks if stored properly, while unopened tins and pouches can last for up to 2 months.
Making Gourmet Popcorn
Popular celebrity cook and tv personality Rachael Ray definitely put the gourmet in gourmet popcorn as she shares her Parisian-style popcorn, made with Herbes de Provence and Parmigiano-Reggiano!
- 1/2 stick butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 palmful Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add in garlic and let infuse for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then remove from heat.
- In a deep pot or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add popcorn kernels and cover with a lid.
- Constantly shake the pan the keep the kernels evenly popped and to prevent it from burning.
- Put the popcorn in a large mixing bowl and toss in the garlic butter mixture, Herbes de Provence, Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt.