Pop, pop, pop! The glorious sound of golden kernels bursting into airy, white puffs is one of extreme nostalgia. So is the smell of buttery goodness that transports us to the movie theater, the baseball stadium and the big tent circus. Popcorn as a special treat has taken on a whole new definition though thanks to the influx of gourmet popcorn crafters. ☛ Gone are the standard toppings of butter and salt. They have since been replaced with sweeter, crunchier and more adventurous additions like toffee, Old Bay Seasoning and caramelized peanuts, just to name a few. Fill your pantry with the latest creations of Coastal Virginia’s popcorn pioneers.
Northern Neck Popcorn Bag
The Kilmarnock-based popcorn company took the Northern Neck by storm with its 50+ flavors of gourmet popcorn. Their out-of-the-box flavors include Bacon Mac N Cheese, Buffalo Ranch, Cinnamon Red Hot, Dill Pickle, Cotton Candy and Banana Pudding Popcorn complete with wafer cookies. With so many mouthwatering mixes to choose from, Northern Neck Popcorn Bag offers build-your-own, three flavor popcorn tins available for shipping and pick-up at the retailer’s three Virginia locations.
Jody’s fond memories of munching caramel corn on the streets of Chicago sparked in her a desire to bring the sweet, crunchy treat to Virginia Beach. Seventeen years and 53 tries later, Jody and her husband, Alan, have mastered the art of caramel corn. Their menu boasts an array of flavors made with the highest quality ingredients including real butter and non-GMO kernels. Jody’s sweet and savory choices run the gambit of Birthday Cake, Chocolate Drizzle, Cheesy Jalapeño, Double Cheddar and a good, Old Fashioned Kettle Corn.
Uncle Dave’s Kettle Korn
Like most success stories, Uncle Dave’s Kettle Korn stems from humble beginnings. With just a tent, a table and a secret kettle korn recipe, Uncle Dave tested his creation on the taste buds of outlet shoppers. The bags of golden popcorn flew off the shelf and his popcorn business was born. Dave has since expanded his portfolio of flavored kernels to include bites inspired by pizza, buffalo chicken wings, salt n’ vinegar chips and more. On the sweeter side are bags of Churro-flavored popcorn, Blue Raspberry and Birthday Cake. Try more than one with Uncle Dave’s three-, four- and five-pack samplers.
Heavenly Kettle Corn
At the heart of Heavenly Kettle Corn’s mission is to be with and to feed families. HKC started as an on-the-road retailer selling its sweet treat curbside, but now the popcorn crafter doles out bags of freshly popped eats from a full-fledged facility in Coastal Virginia. You can find HKC at local events and farmers markets selling all-natural flavors like Crab Corn, Sweet Heat, Tangle of Lime and Oh My Gourd Becky. This year, HKC started adding cotton candy sugar, or flossine, to its original kettle corn recipe as an extra special treat for its youngest shoppers.
Norfolk’s Poppin’ Delights is gourmet popcorn crafted with real butter, pure sugar and locally grown kernels. The maker’s commitment to quality is evident in every bag sold and container sold. Poppin’ Delights isn’t afraid to experiment either. The Norfolk retailer is constantly adding new flavors to its repertoire of standard blends like Cookies and Creme, Sriracha Cheddar, Trifecta, Zebra and Chocolate Caramel Apple. Peruse the flavors online and pick up or refill your container at the downtown shop