Fire Dancer Sweet and Spicy PopcornFor tonight’s edition of Fiery Friday, I’ve got a type of product that I don’t think I have ever reviewed. Specifically, I am looking at a bag of popcorn. In my life up to this point, I have only ever encountered one legitimately spicy popcorn, though there are bound to be others (and I’ve never really gone out and searched). Still, I’m a red-blooded American, and I’ve been to movie theaters and theme parks plenty of times, so I do know my way around a popcorn bag. My real hope for this product is that it manages to avoid the pitfall of pre-packaged popcorn, in that the stuff almost never tastes as good as freshly-popped varieties.

Ingredients:

Fire Dancer Popcorn Seasoning (sugar, salt, dehydrated onion, jalapeno pepper, spices (including paprika and cheyenne [sic] pepper), dehydrated garlic, torula yeast), Popcorn Kernels, Oil

That’s the best I can come up with, since there’s no actual list of ingredients on my bag. The actual product here seems to be the Fire Dancer Popcorn Seasoning, but I don’t know what’s actually in that mix. The website doesn’t want to tell me anything, and the one link to purchase the seasoning itself doesn’t work. A couple of seconds of Google-fu, though, led me to Amazon.com’s listing for the seasoning, which is where I dug up the list of components you see up there.

Appearance:

It looks like popcorn and seasoning. I’m not being sarcastic; there’s just not much more to look at here. I can say that the seasoning, at least on the kernels that are visible in the bag’s “window,” don’t appear to be over-coated with the stuff, so that’s good.

Smell and Taste:

I’m not too sure what I’m smelling. There’s nothing sweet or spicy about the aroma; if anything, it’s the garlic and onion that stand out, but only barely in both cases. Otherwise, it just smells like popcorn. In terms of flavor, the seasoning isn’t exactly a strong, overpowering blend, and doesn’t really carry the flavors of the jalapeno or cayenne peppers. It’s more like a generic “spice” flavor, and not really sweet, despite sugar being the first ingredient in the seasoning blend.

Ratings:

FIRE
FLAVOR

The name of the game is “Sweet and Spicy,” but this bag of popcorn fails to come through on both accounts. Its heat barely registers at first; even after a few bites, once the burn starts to build, it never gets past a Mild, meaning non-chileheads can be daring with this stuff and finish a whole bag without breaking a sweat. I’m not sure what to say about the flavor. It’s not awful, but it just comes across as more disappointing than anything else. I can definitely eat it, but I’m not excited about it or anything. This one’s getting a Neutral from me. In the end, I would rather eat a bag of store-bought cheese popcorn, because at least that stuff delivers on its promise.

Suggested Changes:

Normally this would be the “Suggested Uses” section, but I think there is some room for improvement with this product. Frankly, a sweet and spicy popcorn needs to stand out more in both respects. I’m glad that Fire Dancer didn’t go the route of making this a truly sweet, caramel-corn style product, but it still fails to deliver as it is. I have no idea what the sugar concentration here is, but it could stand to be more prominent. Likewise, the peppers really need to shine. I would not be at all offended if the blend had a stronger jalapeno flavor to it. As it is, all I really get is that dull onion/garlic flavor, which does nothing to sell the “Sweet and Spicy” name.

Final Word:

If anyone from Fire Dancer reads this and happens to make any modifications to the recipe (or if there is already a product that might be more up my alley, based on my recommendations), please don’t hesitate to send me some. I think there’s a lot of room for growth here.

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