The popcorn taste test

Updated on 20 April 2012 | 0 Comments

Popcorn's come a long way from just sweet or salty. We put some of these weird 'n' wonderful new flavours on trial.

Salted caramel, sticky gingerbread, chilli and lime… popcorn, once just a matter of sweet or salty, has now been well and truly gentrified. But just how tasty are these new-fangled flavours? In the name of science, team lovefood tasted them to find out.

Propercorn fiery worcester sauce & sundried tomato

popcornTasting notes: It smells like Worcester sauce, it tastes like Worcester sauce. The sundried tomato element is, we think, a little too subtle, but that doesn’t stop one greedy taste-tester from eating the whole bag for a savoury elevenses.

Reminds us of: Pickled onion Monster Munch.

Perfect for: Healthy bods. Each pack is less than 100 calories and is also high in fibre.

Number of un-popped kernels in a bag: 5

Where to find: Fast food joints like Leon, Benugo and Chop’d

How much? 95p for 20g

Heston Blumenthal salted caramel

popcornTasting notes: - sheer, naughty indulgence. But some found the sweet richness of Heston’s popcorn (complete with a sprinkling of sea salt) a little too much, and few managed more than five kernels in one sitting.

Reminds us of: A very posh version of Butterkist popcorn.

Perfect for: Sweet-toothed folk, and those who also enjoy Heston’s salted caramel popcorn ice cream.

Number of un-popped kernels: 0

Where to find: Waitrose

How much? £1.59 for 125g

ASDA Belgian white chocolate & strawberry

popcornTasting notes: Slightly fizzy on the tongue and rather rich. A few foodies loved the flavour pairing – ‘it tastes like strawberries and cream at Wimbledon’ – whereas others found it unnatural. There were some popcorn clusters (held together by white chocolate) at the bottom of the bag, which we all fought over.

Reminds us of: Strawberries dipped in white chocolate.

Perfect for: A party. The girls seemed to prefer it to the boys, interestingly…

Number of un-popped kernels: 7

Where to find: Asda

How much? £1.50 for 150g

Corn Again chilli and lime

popcornTasting notes: A great big whack of chilli at the end of every kernel – we could have done with a little more fresh lime juice and zest to counteract the heat. Too fancy for elevenses, and not sweet enough for pudding. Where does it belong?

Reminds us of: Marmite, oddly.

Perfect for: Nibbles at a posh dinner party.

Number of un-popped kernels: 2

Where to find: Corn Again website  

How much? £1 for 40g

Tyrrells sweet and salty

popcornTasting notes: An absolute delight, and the overall favourite in our office. Scarily addictive, the balance of sweet and salty is spot on and because the corn is not coated in butter, it’s incredibly easy to eat. It’s not just us – our local Waitrose was sold out of S&S for a whole week!

Reminds us of: Cramming both sweet and salty popcorn into one’s mouth at the cinema.

Perfect for: All-day snacking. And one for calorie counters, as each serving contains less than 100 calories.

Number of un-popped kernels: 2

Where to find: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, The Co-Op

How much? £1.49 for 75g

Whitey's Original

whiteyTasting notes: Imagine the best cinema popcorn you've ever had... Whitey's tastes just like that. Fluffy, larger than your average kernel, and not too sweet or salty, one-man-band Mark Whitey (who makes his popcorn in an open-topped kettle) is onto a winner. One of his other flavours - cinnamon sweet - is, we've decided, THE most addictive popcorn we have ever, ever had. Can we have more please, Mark?

Reminds us of: Fun times at the cinema.

Perfect for: Cracking open with friends on a movie night.

Number of un-popped kernels: 0

Where to find: Whitey's is only small at the moment, but you can find their corn at these outlets

How much? £2.50 for 110g

Joe & Seph’s gingerbread

popcornTasting notes: Start with smooth, buttery caramel, and end on a spicy stem ginger high. Joe & Seph’s is as gourmet as it gets – other flavours include toffee apple and cinnamon, and caramel macchiato and whisky. We defy anyone to finish a bag themselves. Yes, it’s delicious… but the teeth-throbbing sweetness turned a few of us off.

Reminds us of: A slice of gingerbread, spread thickly with butter.

Perfect for: Someone who appreciates posh nosh.

Number of un-popped kernels: 0

Where to find: Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols… check on their website

How much? £2.95 for 90g


The alternative: Wild Trail popcorn bars

popcornTasting notes:  A handmade bar of popcorn mixed with nuts, seeds and other healthy things, topped with a layer of yoghurt. Genius! It’s a kind of indulgent ‘healthy’ snack, and we’d quite like it for breakfast. Choose from double cut cranberry, apple and raspberry or fruit and double nut flavours.

Reminds us of: Eat Natural bars, but a little chewier.

Perfect for: On the go

Number of un-popped kernels: 0

Where to find: Morrisons, Whistlestop shops (at train stations), Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and online from Amazon

How much? 99p for 45g

What's your favourite popcorn flavour? And is there any room for sweet or salty popcorn anymore? Talk to us in the Comments box below.

More taste tests

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Best of three: Tomato and basil pasta sauces

Best of three: Stuffing

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Best of three: Chilli con carne 

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Best of three: Stuffing


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