REVIEW: Chef’s Shoppe – Bacon Cheddar Popcorn

Rating: ©©©©-1/4 chips  (lip-smacking)

Chef's Shoppe - Bacon CheddarBacon and Cheddar.  Quite possibly as classic of culinary combination as peanut butter and jelly.  And certainly just as delicious.

We’ve tried A LOT of bacon cheddar flavored snacks over the years.  But, looking back we were very surprised to find that we didn’t love very many of them.

The same cannot be said for Chef’s Shoppe’s Bacon Cheddar Popcorn – this stuff is lip-smacking!  Then again, should we have even doubted this popcorn?  You may remember Chef’s Shoppe from such amazing “A” list hits as Sriracha-Cheese and Spicy Beer Cheese – both easily make our Top Popcorn list of all-time.  In other words, Chef’s Shoppe makes such delicious popcorn that they can even take a flavor combination that we apparently do not like in snack form very much, and turn it into a real lip-smacking winner!

First of all, this popcorn has real bacon bits in it!  No, we’re not talking about “real” bacon like Bacos, we’re talking about broken up pieces of deliciously fatty bacon!  And, the result is of course…..loads of real bacon flavor!  Crispy, porky, salty, slightly smoky, delicious bacon!

Secondly, our taste buds are shockingly impressed by just how super salty this stuff is!  Seriously, we had to apply Chapstick at least three times just while taste testing the popcorn!  A liberal yellow cheddar cheese dusting provided a delicious level of creaminess, a dash of tang, and of course that healthy dosage, or two, or three, of SALT!!

So, there you have it.  If you are like us and love bacon & cheddar pretty much anything than you will be happy to know that this popcorn is the real tasty deal!

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review

Chef’s Shoppe Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Chef’s Shoppe – Wasabi & Soy Popcorn

Rating: ©©©© chips  (lip-smacking)

Chef Shoppe - Wasabi SoyWhat do we have here?  Yep, that’s right, another unique, startling and lip-smacking flavor from everyone’s favorite Warrenville Popcorn Store – Chef’s Shoppe!  In case you are unfamiliar with this great specialty cooking and food store (which would mean you haven’t read our reviews for their other fantastic flavors – Sriracha-Cheese and Spicy Beer Cheese – shame on you!), this shop also makes some of the best popcorn around!!  Edwardsville is the third oldest city in the state of Illinois.  And although technically a city in southwestern Illinois, Edwardsville is considered a part of the greater metro area of St. Louis.  So, we’re not sure if Edwardsville citizens cheer for the Blackhawks or the Blues, but we’re guessing that regardless of sports team loyalty, all Edwardsville-ians love themselves some Chef’s Shoppe popcorn!

So, how did this gourmet kitchen store get into the popcorn game?  According to the Chef Shoppe legend, and we have no reason to question it:

In May 2012 the Chef’s Shoppe expanded again, taking over the 2,500 square foot space adjacent to the existing business and adding popcorn.  But they didn’t start small – offering over 70 flavors of popcorn every day, the Chef’s Shoppe entered the popcorn scene in a big way. Scott, having officially retired after 32 years with AT&T the year before, is the head “popologist”.  With the help of his merry band of popping and coating specialists they turn out hundreds of gallons of popcorn every week.  ALL are made fresh in house – ALL are available to taste before you buy – ALL are so delicious that picking just one is nearly impossible.

Right from the get go, a potent blast of wasabi sets the flavor tone for this lip-smacking popcorn.  That undeniable wasabi burn clears the nasal passageway, and then lingers there for a while.  Not really sure if we can actually pinpoint any soy in the mix, but then again it is sort of tough with the barrage of wasabi slapping taste buds around!  The real kicker, or curve ball, in this flavor combination is the inclusion of white cheddar cheese. This cheese powder adds a dynamic facet to the flavor that is really unlike anything we have tasted before.  It sort of smooths out, or mellows, the wasabi just a little bit, but still allows the green root to do its intended job.

Not sure if we have brought this up before, but we love the Chef’s Shoppe technique for applying seasoning. Somehow they are able to cake the popcorn kernels with an almost wet slathering of seasoning that delivers this richness to the popcorn that our mouths enjoy very much!

In the end it is probably fair to say that we appreciate this flavor more than we actually loved eating it. It is certainly not a flavor of popcorn that we would want to sit down and enjoy a big bowl, or even a bag of.  This wasabi & soy is meant to be sampled, and maybe grazed upon in passing, but not eaten by the handful.  Either way, count us impressed by Chef’s Shoppe once again!

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review

Chef’s Shoppe Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Chef’s Shoppe – Sriracha Popcorn

Rating: ©©©©© chips  (“A” list)

Chef's Shoppe - Sriracha PopcornWe will round out our recent barrage of popcorn reviews (sorry to those of you who were actually expecting reviews of chips at a site called Chip Review….) with a review of Chef’s Shoppe Sriracha Popcorn.  Far and away, the best of the crunchy popcorn bunch!  In fact, this popcorn may just be some of the best popcorn we have ever tasted, anywhere!

We often wonder how many deliciously different salty snacks there are out there that the majority of us will never ever get the chance to try?  Those smaller local companies that only distribute in the surrounding area, or the little mom and pop stores that specialize in one specific type of snack, and unless you happen to travel to this specific town or region of the country you may never ever know of the delicacies that await you there.  Luckily for Chip Review we have a lot of friends and family out there that are always on the lookout for local snacks wherever they may be visiting.

The most recent example of this type of scenario took place a little while ago.  One of us from Chip Review walked into the office one morning and there sitting on our desk was a small collection of different flavored popcorn from some company called Chef’s Shoppe.  The flavors ranged from dill pickle to pizza to bacon cheddar to this Sriracha.

The Chef’s Shoppe is a Gourmet Kitchen Store (aka specialty cooking and food store) located in Edwardsville, Illinois (near St. Louis).  Luckily for all of us Chef’s Shoppe sells more than specialty kitchen tools and such.  They also offer more than seventy different flavors of popcorn.  According to the Chef Shoppe’s website:

In May 2012 the Chef’s Shoppe expanded again, taking over the 2,500 square foot space adjacent to the existing business and adding popcorn.  But they didn’t start small – offering over 70 flavors of popcorn every day, the Chef’s Shoppe entered the popcorn scene in a big way. Scott, having officially retired after 32 years with AT&T the year before, is the head “popologist”.  With the help of his merry band of popping and coating specialists they turn out hundreds of gallons of popcorn every week.  ALL are made fresh in house – ALL are available to taste before you buy – ALL are so delicious that picking just one is nearly impossible.

Well, the Chef’s Shoppe seems like our sort of place, and we hope the fine people of Edwardsville, and even St. Louis, continue to embrace and support it for a very long time to come.

Chef’s Shoppe popcorn is on the larger side of the popcorn spectrum, with very round, and softer-crunch kernels.  We would describe them as having a lot of popcorn meat, or body to them, that provides a great toothsome popcorn chew.  As for the Sriracha flavoring – WOWSERS!! Amazing, would be an understatement!  Easily the best Sriracha flavored snack of any type that we have ever tried.  We think this is due to a couple of delicious differences.  Similar to the Chef’s Shoppe’s beer flavored popcorn that we reviewed (and loved) a little while back, we were surprised to discover that this popcorn was not only Sriracha flavored, but mingling with some tangy cheese as well!  As popular as the Sriracha flavor has become lately we were really surprised to find that none of the other snacks we had reviewed had ever paired it with cheese…?  Well, we are here to tell you that the combination is delicious!  The cheese adds creamy and funky and salty layers to the spicy Thai chile notes.  the other difference with the Chef’s Shoppe’s Sriracha seasoning is something we can’t quite pinpoint?!  There is some unique ingredient, adding a background layer that is unlike any seasoning we have tasted before.  It is also as if the seasoning has been fermented a little, or something unique like fish sauce, or malt, has been added.  Just an extra layer of deliciously funky flavor depth.  Well, whatever it is, it compliments the spicy, garlic and Thai Chile seasoning amazingly!!  And the entire combination comes together to create some moist, rich, salty, funky, spicy, FANTASTIC POPCORN!!!  So fantastic that it has made our Top 5 Popcorn of All-Time!

In our review of Chef’s Shoppe’s Beer Popcorn we mentioned that if you ever find yourself traveling to, or through, Edwardsville Illinois, do yourself a favor and go try a couple, or fifty, different popcorn flavors from their amazing selection.  Well, now we would take that statement back and simply tell you that no matter where you are traveling to, or where you call your home, do yourself a favor and plan a trip to Edwardsville, Illinois, and go to Chef’s Shoppe for some of the best popcorn you will ever try!! Chef’s Shoppe is a hidden popcorn gem!  You’ve probably heard of destination dining before, but we may have stumbled onto something new here – Destination Snacking!!

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review

Chef’s Shoppe Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list

REVIEW: Chef’s Shoppe – Beer Popcorn

Rating: ©©©©© chips  (“A” list)

** Updated 11/10/15 – upon further review (aka more delicious sampling) of this impeccable product, we felt it our duty to change the beer popcorn’s rating to “A” list!

Chef's ShoppeWe often wonder how many deliciously different salty snacks there are out there that the majority of us will never ever get the chance to try?  Those smaller local companies that only distribute in the surrounding area, or the little mom and pop stores that specialize in one specific type of snack, and unless you happen to travel to this specific town or region of the country you may never ever know of the delicacies that await you there.  Luckily for Chip Review we have a lot of friends and family out there that are always on the lookout for local snacks wherever they may be visiting.  Seriously, we cannot begin to tell you how many different pictures we receive each day from one person or another asking us “hey, have you ever tried these ones?” or, “hey, we’ve never seen these, have you reviewed these?”, or “hey, we’re in Ohio have you ever heard of Grippo’s??”  More often than not we have already tasted and reviewed whatever snack may be on the photo, but every once in a while that person or people come through and we strike it snack rich!!  “Grab one or two of every flavor they’ve got!!”  we yell over the phone or texting machine.

The most recent example of this type of scenario just took place a week or two ago.  One of us from Chip Review walked into the office one morning and there sitting on our desk is a small collection of a variety of different flavored popcorn from some company called Chef’s Shoppe.  The flavors ranged from dill pickle to pizza to bacon cheddar, but the one that really caught our attention, and in the end the one that we ended up liking the most was the beer flavor!

But first let’s back track to this Chef’s Shoppe.  After a little investigative work, and explanation from the giver of the popcorn, we learned that the Chef’s Shoppe is a Gourmet Kitchen Store (aka specialty cooking and food store) located in Edwardsville, Illinois.  And, Edwardsville is the third oldest city in the state of Illinois.  Although technically a city in southwestern Illinois, Edwardsville is considered a part of the greater metro area of St. Louis.  So, we’re not sure if Edwardsville citizens cheer for the Blackhawks or the Blues!  We can only imagine that it is a heated debate in those parts!!  Sorry, back on track.  Obviously the Chef’s Shoppe sells more than specialty kitchen tools and foods and such.  They also offer more than seventy different popcorn flavors.  According to the Chef Shoppe’s webite:

In May 2012 the Chef’s Shoppe expanded again, taking over the 2,500 square foot space adjacent to the existing business and adding popcorn.  But they didn’t start small – offering over 70 flavors of popcorn every day, the Chef’s Shoppe entered the popcorn scene in a big way. Scott, having officially retired after 32 years with AT&T the year before, is the head “popologist”.  With the help of his merry band of popping and coating specialists they turn out hundreds of gallons of popcorn every week.  ALL are made fresh in house – ALL are available to taste before you buy – ALL are so delicious that picking just one is nearly impossible.

Well, the Chef’s Shoppe seems like our sort of place, and we hope the fine people of Edwardsville, and even St. Louis, continue to embrace and support it for a very long time to come.  Chef’s Shoppe popcorn is on the larger end of the popcorn spectrum, with very round, and softer kernels.  We would describe them as having a lot of popcorn meat, or body to them, that provides a great toothsome popcorn chew.  As for the beer flavoring – WOW!  This stuff is pretty awesome!  Certainly some of the most unique flavored popcorn we have ever tried.  Visually, no one would ever assume that they were about to eat beer flavored popcorn, it pretty much just looks like a cheddar cheese popcorn.  However, a couple kernels in the mouth, and one quickly realizes that they are enjoying something a bit unusual, something they can’t quite pinpoint, and something DELICIOUS!!  We were surprised to discover that the base of the popcorn seasoning was actually spicy cheese.  Nowhere on the packaging does it indicate that the popcorn is anything but beer flavored?  However, it is immediately apparent that this popcorn also includes a slightly spicy and creamy cheese layer in addition to beer (quick glance to the Chef Shoppe website confirms our findings).  What really sets this popcorn apart, and what makes us love the flavoring is the decisively yeasty beer flavoring.  The spicy-cheesy-beer-y combination works amazingly well with popcorn.  We were beyond impressed to say the least!!

So, if you ever find yourself traveling to, or through, Edwardsville Illinois, do yourself a favor and go try a couple, or fifty, different popcorn flavors from the Chef Shoppe.  Just make sure that one of those flavors is the BEER!!

As always, these are our thoughts. Agree or disagree, make sure to let us know.

Popcorn provided to Chip Review by J & V for review

Chef’s Shoppe Official Website

Chip Ratings Scale:

(1/4 increments)

© return to sender

©© tolerable

©©© – notable

©©©© – lip-smacking

©©©©©“A” list