Popcorn appears to be having its day in the sun. The somewhat forgotten cinema stuff has returned with gourmet aplomb to supermarkets and concession stores. Portlebay popcorn is the exclusive stuff, and the only place which stocks it in Birmingham is delicatessen Anderson and Hill.
I happened to be in the deli perusing the artisan delights when I spotted the brand spanking new popcorn packets at the front of the store. I'm a bit of a popcorn afficianado these days, and while it's not hard to make good popcorn, to make gourmet, and exciting popcorn is a real skill.
At 80p a bag for 25g it's middle of the range for an exclusive pop of special popcorn. I say special because although the 'originial' flavour was on show, I opted for their new flavour: Wasabi and Sweet Ginger.
It was very, very good. I don't particularly like wasabi because it is too spicy for me, much like mustard - I can't handle the heat. Portlebay's wasabi and sweet ginger popcorn, however, is a delicate, lightly spiced, only slighty sweet, with a familiar, but delicate wasabi flavour. Thankfully the wasabi wasn't as 'in your face' as I had expected, and I could've quite easily eaten more than the 25g bag.
The bag size is perfect for a snack, and while Portlebay don't advertise it, the wasabi and sweet ginger flavour is only 120 calories per bag.
As you can see on the back of the pack is the list of ingredients. It's refreshing to see all pronouncable and mostly natural ingredients. Portlebay popcorn pride themselves on using 'e number free' ingredients, and there are no added preservaties.
Portlebay is a serious contender for another major popcorn maker. What I like about Portlebayís popcorn, however, is that they arenít mass-market, which means they can craft their popcorn in small batches and make it the best it can be, while playing with fun flavours.
It is a gourmet treat because it is far superior to cinema-style popcorn, and has elevated the average snack. I think this flavour may even replace the ever popular crisps because it has a higher nutritional content, is much lower in fat, and is frankly a delicious treat you can enjoy walking along, sitting at home, or whilst chatting with friends. I say watch this space because wasabi and sweet ginger is the new combination which may just take over the snack industry.