Kernels of gourmet goodness are popping up all over
Michele Holbrook cheery demeanor matches her gourmet popcorn shop, Michele Sweet Shoppe. She offers samples of a popcorn tossed in dark chocolate and coconut, then drizzled with white chocolate, or a confection of honey mesquite barbecue.
There seems to be popcorn everywhere. Next to the Burlington Mall food court, Heather Berlin generously shares samples from Corn Co, where she is a co owner: wasabi flavored popcorn tossed with wasabi peas for extra heat, or, on the sweet side, s which is caramel popcorn mixed with chocolate, marshmallows, and cinnamon toasted cereal.
At least five specialty popcorn stores opened this year in Massachusetts and more are sprouting around the country. JM Curley downtown offers caramel popcorn with bacon as a snack, and Backbar in Somerville has spicy caramel popcorn. Gourmet popcorn has gained enough momentum to be declared among the top 10 trends in 2013 according to tracking firms Sterling Rice Group in Colorado and the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade in New York. They see an increase in specialty popcorn from small businesses, farmers market vendors, and Internet purveyors. The cost for the treat varies by brand, from about $3.95 for 2 cups of popcorn to $8.95 for five cups.
almost like granola, it has a lot of iterations, says Louise Kramer of the NASFT. seeing beer popcorn made with stout, [one] with black truffle, and brands with Indian flavors.
Peggy Hernandez for the Boston Globe
Corn Co popcorn shop in Burlington, Mass.
Anthony Sideri, whose father started New England Pretzel and Popcorn in Lawrence 30 years ago, traces the current trend to Garrett, a 63 year old popcorn retailer in Chicago. The Sideris sell popcorn to Michele Corn Co, Fenway Park, and TD Garden. Garrett the famous one that has lines out the door every single day for their mix of cheddar and caramel popcorn, Sideri says. people are taking that idea and expanding. Sweet flavors like chocolates, caramels, and fruit, and all savory: cheddar, bacon, jalapeno. There endless potential. has been around more than 5,000 years. Here, Native Americans were growing corn before the Colonists came. In the Great Depression, popcorn was sold at movie theaters as an affordable snack. worked for our cultur Rolex Watches for Sale e at that time, says Wendy Boersema Rappel of the Popcorn Board in Illinois. US has grown up on po Rolex Watches for Sale pcorn. Right now, there no generation living who didn grow up on popcorn. has a somewhat healthy halo around it; it seen as better than a bag of chips, Kramer says. popcorn is fun, it comfort food. says popcorn is a low cost food that a blank canvas. And, she says, starting out with a whole grain, healthy base. It carte blanche for creativity. What key is that with popcorn you want to keep the crunch. Once you add liquids, you affect the crunch. are two basic types of unpopped popcorn. Movie theatres generally sell butterfly popcorn, which expands vertically from the hull with Mushroom pops from the bottom of the hull upward, into a tight ball. Sideri says mushroom popcorn is preferred for coatings because it tough and has less breakage when tumbled with ingredients.
Cheryl Senter for the Boston Globe
Owner Michele Holbrook worked at melting chocolate as a pot of ‘Extra Cheddar’ cheese popcorn Rolex Watches for Sale spun to achieve ample flavor coating at Michele’s Sweet Shoppe in Epsom, NH.
Eric Bickernicks uses mushroom popcor Rolex Watches for Sale n for his Velma Kettle Corn, based in Buzzards Bay. He has been making kettle corn since 2006 and sells it at farmers markets in Newton, Framingham, and Springfield. flavored popcorn where you put the flavor in after the fact, with kettle corn the flavor is in the kettle, says Bickernicks. Sugar and salt are mixed with oil in a large kettle that reaches heat as high as 400 degrees.
Bickernicks, who hopes to expand to more farmers markets, observes an increasing number of vendors buying kettle corn equipment. yummy and the profit margins are good, he says. flip side is that making popcorn is a brutal thing if you doing it five days a week. It really physical. I gotten heat stroke doing it in August. Bickernicks, Holbrook began her business in her basement with minimal equipment. Today she has three multi gallon mixing tumblers and two drum popping machines. Her only full time employee is her son, Jesse LaMontagne, a culinary school graduate with whom she crafts her 30 flavors.
Peggy Hernandez for the Boston Globe
Corn Co popcorn shop in Burlington offers two different bag pricing options and 16 daily add in flavors, chosen from more than 250 flavors in rotation.
Holbrook shuns preservatives, uses high grade ingredients and discards up to one quarter of all popcorn because of breakage. She has carted her popcorn to SoWa Market in the South End in the summer, to New Hampshire stores year round, and distributed at this year Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in Los Angeles. 110 percent of myself in this product, says Holbrook. don have a secondary education, no business training. I had a vision. I would love to open a shop in the Burlington Mall but I don have the money for it now. Co has lot of money behind it, says CEO Steven Berlin, a New York entrepreneur. It was 2 years in the making. Partners include Berlin brother and sister in law Robert, a chef, and Heather, who hails from Concord and Jeff Casler, CEO of Second Time Around consignment shops. Corn Co uses top shelf ingredients, two different bag pricing options, glassine or resealable brown bags, and clever graphics. The shop is styled as a whimsical modern apothecary and looks like it part of a franchise. That intentional.
looking to build a powerful brand and model, Berlin says. want to create an experience that you having something truly amazing crafted by hand with care. Co calls itself reborn and is distinguished by the add in options embraced by yogurt shops, with 16 flavors daily and more than 250 in the rotation. As well, Corn Co is affiliated with pediatric cancer charity The Max Cure Foundation in New York. The popcorn company expects to open a second outlet in New England next spring and, ultimately, stores along the East Coast.
Gourmet popcorn future is booming. the new cupcake of the moment, Kramer says. a question of whether popcorn is enough to hang a retail business on for the long term. As a popcorn retailer you have to keep it interesting and different.