Rating: ©©©©© chips (“A” list)
We 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:
© – return to sender
©© – tolerable
©©© – notable
©©©© – lip-smacking
©©©©© – “A” list