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I hardly ever eat popcorn, but on a recent visit to a relative's house she had made some popcorn for her 4 year old son and I couldn't resist trying some... that then spurred me to look out for it on my next shopping trip, and when I spotted Popz Microwave Popcorn at 2 boxes for £1 in Waitrose it had to go in my trolley!
Popz is probably the original microwave popcorn - indeed it seems to have been around for years. Packaged in cardboard boxes containing 3 folded microwavable bags, Popz is easily spotted on the supermarket shelf due to the bright blue, orange and yellow graphics. Popz also seems to be an international product as it's clearly labelled as made in USA and there are ingredient lists and instructions for 11 different countries (12 if you count the fact Great Britain and Ireland have been lumped together) - presumably it's packaged differently in USA as there's no instructions headed USA?!
Popz is available in two flavours as far as I am aware - salted or butter. I bought a pack of each, though the first I tried was butter.
Within each box the three microwavable paper bags are folded and packaged in celophane. The bags are clearly labelled showing which side is up and down, and the instructions for how to cook the popcorn are also on the bag (as well as the box). Once the bag is unfolded it needs to be placed in the microwave and cooked on full power for 2 minutes (longer for lower wattage
microwaves, mine's an 800watt). Within seconds of turning the microwave on the clatter of popcorn exploding within the paper bag sounded almost dangerous! The bag quickly expands filling with the fluffy popcorn pieces.
Ping! Once it's done, it's a case of taking the bag out of the microwave, and carefully pulling the edges apart to open the top of the bag - it opens easily, and chances are it will have started to open itself due to the heat and popcorn expanding within. I would definitely advise pouring the popcorn into a bowl rather than eat out of the bag as the bag will feel a bit greasy inside and be very hot. There were a handful of popcorn kernels that hadn't popped within my bag, though as the bag was still bulging and the bowl overflowing I wasn't really bothered. I think it's inevitable that a few won't pop, and had I put the bag back in the microwave I would have risked some of the other popcorn getting burnt. Incidentally the packaging warns to let the bag cool for 30 seconds before doing anything with it, but I was far too eager to see what the popcorn looked like to wait for that! Be warned - it's hot!
The popcorn pieces look delicious and smell great! Each piece is fluffy and pale yellow/white in colour - they don't look artificially coloured, although the ingredients do include natural colour last on the list. These are big pieces of popcorn due to the fact they've not been bashed about since they've been made and broken up like pre-packaged or cinema stuff! The smell is an unusual one, though I guess it's normal for popcorn - there's no other smell like it! The butter flavoured popcorn does definitely have a tang of butter within the scent though it's not particularly overpowering. It's also a slightly salty scent.
Best eaten as soon as possible after cooking for that still warm taste. As the popcorn isn't coated in toffee or sugar like some prepackaged popcorn is it melts in your mouth and is extremely more-ish - not particularly filling. It's easy enough to polish off a bag between two people. The taste of butter is there, though it's accompanied by a slightly salty taste too. It's not sickly and although it leaves a taste in your mouth whilst your eating it doesn't particularly leave an aftertaste. It does, however, leave a sensation in your mouth after you've finished eating it - this is very hard to describe, but it's a usual sensation I find I get after eating any popcorn, kind of like the inside of my mouth is coated in a slightly greasy film - that sounds worse than it is, so hopefully you'll understand what I mean - it's not like you've been sucking on butter or anything like that! Downside with the popcorn is as with all popcorn - those little bits that get between your teeth!!
Nutrition wise it's probably not great for dieters - 100g of either flavoured variety contains 30g of fat, 504kcal. Contents wise, the salted variety contains the most natural ingredients (just popping corn (74%), vegetable oil and salt), whereas the butter variety contains flavour and natural colour in addition to the ingredients of the salted variety.
Conclusion: ******************** This isn't going to be a regular purchase on my shopping list, but is probably something I'll make sure I've got in the cupboard for when I fancy it. It's far more satisfying to eat than a bag of crisps, and it's great to share. At £1 for 2 boxes it's a great buy, though Waitrose's usual price is £1.79 for one box!! (Makes a change for Waitrose to have something at such a good price). It's probably available slightly cheaper than £1.79 at supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco etc. It can't really be beaten on taste when it's fresh and warm and there are no sickly aftertastes - definitely better than cinema popcorn that's probably been there ages and starting to go stale. I've marked in Ciao's ratings that I'm extremely loyal to this brand - my reason being that although I can't remember the last time I bought this I'm certain that in future when I buy popcorn I'll be buying this brand.
Originally I was going to award it 4 stars, losing one because of the price, though the more I think about it, even at £1.79 for a box of three packets that's just 60p a time, which is less than a jumbo bag of crisps, and WAY less than cinema prices... so I'll give it 5 stars instead!