A couple of weeks ago, one of my students brought me a bag of her special spicy popcorn. Really, it was just plain popcorn tossed in a plastic bag with a liberal helping of cayenne pepper and other herbs and spices, but it was surprisingly good. It didn’t take me long at all to finish off that treat, leaving me wanting more. Fortunately, the universe saw fit to send me my very own bag of All Spice Cafe’s Sweet Ghost Pepper Popcorn, so that I might not be bereft of such a delicious snack for long. My student’s homemade blend was quite good, but this stuff is made by the professionals. Let’s see how it stacks up!
Sugar (white cane) Popcorn, Light Corn Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Baking Soda, Bhut Jolokia Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, Soybean Lecithin
I’ve never taken it upon myself to examine the ingredients in candied popcorn, but I’m assuming that the above list is mostly par for the course, with the incredibly major addition of the jolokia and cayenne peppers. I’m glad that All Spice Cafe kept the list pretty simple, and didn’t make any other huge changes to the formula. That should give us an authentic treat.
There is absolutely nothing about this popcorn that screams heat. Instead, it looks like normal innocent caramel corn, just waiting for some poor schmoe to walk haplessly up and grab a huge fistful of mouth pain.
Smell and Taste:
This popcorn smells wonderful. There is a slight peppery flavor, like a hint of cayenne pepper powder, but still nothing that points to the true terrifying power of the ghost pepper. It primarily smells sweet, pretty much exactly like you would expect out of candied popcorn. The flavor is spot on as well, with next to no pepper flavor in the popcorn at all.
There are some spicy products that I love because of the strong pepper flavor. This is not one of those products. But what it lacks in the actual pepper flavor, it more than makes up in the pepper heat. This popcorn is serious business, with a ghost pepper heat that waits until the moment you’re comfortable before assaulting you with full force. My mouth legitimately hurts right now, and I haven’t felt that in a long time. I don’t want to think about finishing this bag right now, and a few of the kernels are resting at the opening of the package, mocking me. This stuff gets an easy Madness. Thankfully, All Spice Cafe has crafted a candied popcorn that is honestly delicious. Because there’s no pepper flavor, you get a snack that tastes exactly like the standard confection, albeit a variety that yanks your pants down, kicks you in the teeth, and forces you through humiliating acts of submission. Maybe it’s the Stockholm Syndrome talking at this point, but I’m giving this a Notable.
Please, please, PLEASE, do not prank anybody with this stuff! All Spice Cafe has created an omega-level threat here, and it could seriously hurt people who aren’t accustomed to it. If you’re going to share this popcorn, please make sure everybody else knows what they’re getting themselves into!