Popcorn has been one of the most popular snacks in the world for a very long time - especially once movie theaters began "popping" up. While the popularity of popcorn is not going to diminish any time soon, a new type of popcorn recently burst onto the scene in the last decade - gourmet popcorn. What exactly is gourmet popcorn? It's a type of popcorn made using natural ingredients and flavors that help make popcorn an even tastier snack.
Believe it or not, but popcorn has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest specimen of popcorn dates back more than 5,000 years and was found in what is now New Mexico. However, it wasn't until the 1800's that popcorn's popularity really took off in the United States. There were several reasons why popcorn became so popular at this time. First of all, popcorn was (and remains) cheap to produce and easy to prepare. It's made by simply heating up the popcorn kernels to a point where they rupture, causing an airy foam to develop. Secondly, popcorn was one of the most affordable and tasty snacks available, making it a favorite amongst both rich and poor.
Popcorn vendors would sell popcorn at sporting events, carnivals, circuses and even in parks. Once movie theaters emerged in the 1900's, popcorn's popularity shot through the roof. In fact, by 1945, half of the popcorn in the country was consumed in movie theaters! One of the reasons that popcorn has remained so popular is that it can be a healthy snack (if you don't slather butter and salt on your popcorn) and it's extremely inexpensive.
The first step towards the gourmet popcorn popularity of today actually occurred in the mid 1800's, when a patent was issued to a method of coating popcorn with caramel. Caramel popcorn became a popular and sweeter alternative to regular popcorn, which saw thousands of caramel corn shops and vendors pop up through the early to mid 1900's.
With the popularity of gourmet food in general exploding in the 2000's, in part due to the many chef-centric reality TV shows that became popular at this time, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that culinary artists soon turned their attention to popcorn. Gourmet popcorn consists of two things - a flavor that differs from regular, plain popcorn and ingredients that are natural and that were obtained from locally grown crops. As far as flavors go, they are practically endless. Both savory and sweet gourmet popcorn options are available; for example, chocolate popcorn, cheese popcorn, barbecue popcorn, dill popcorn and more.
If you are looking to enjoy a healthy and tasty snack that was produced from natural, locally grown ingredients, then try out some of the many different types of gourmet popcorn that are available.