Emilio won’t box in popcorn

Fads come and go, but popcorn is forever. Indeed, those puffed corn kernels are a global food item that has never waned in popularity.

So, to elevate the status of popcorn even further, aficionado Emile Alexander opened Emilio’s Gourmet Popcorn in Montecasino, a store that celebrates the airiest of snacks.

According to Alexander, popcorn remains popular all over the world. From Africa to the Middle East, the lure of popped corn is part of our universal food culture, with many countries having developed their own ways of munching on the snack food.

But in an effort to bring real variety, Emilio’s has taken it a step further, offering 30 different caramel corn flavours, as well a seven savoury flavours to his Joburg clients (but don’t worry South Africa, he’s hoping to open stores across South Africa).

What makes Emilio’s unique is that he is sympathetic to the matured palate, as well as providing great options to younger palates. But the store also offers popcorn doughnuts, waffles with popcorn toppings and even brownies. While a five-year-old won’t appreciate his Mexican-inspired popcorn with fresh chilly and coriander, they might love a bag of simple chocolate and caramel corn, or an appetising waffle. The whole idea is that you get handcrafted premium gourmet popcorn and popcorn inspired confectionery. The brand is built around a concept called “popcornology”.

“The art and science of popcornology is to use popcorn as a canvas to craft amazing culinary creations to tantalise even the most experienced palate,” says Alexander. To keep expanding on their combination, the team of popcornologists constantly introduce new popcorn confectionaries, such as popcorn ice-cream, popcorn waffles, popcorn ice cream sandwiches made with freshly baked cookies and brownies, popcorn donuts and popcorn macaroon (popparoons). Before opening, the team has spent hours perfecting their recipes.

To ensure perfect crunch, most of Alexander’s popcorn is left for a few days to get rid of moisture before covering it with toppings. But what Alexander understands well is that it all starts with those little pieces of puffed corn, which forms the centre of his rapidly expanding empire.

Here are a few things you didn’t know about popcorn:

  •  Most popcorn comes in two shapes when it’s popped : snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used in movie theatres and ballparks because it looks and pops bigger. Mushroom is used for candy confections because it doesn’t crumble.
  • Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world is grown in the United States. Although world-wide sales of popcorn are steadily increasing, Americans consume more popcorn than the citizens of any other country.
  • Good popcorn should provide at least 98% popped kernels with under two percent unpopped kernels.
  • An unpopped kernel is called a spinster
  • Compared to most snacks, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 35 per cup.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp.
  • The world’s largest popcorn ball, according to Guinness World Records, was created in 2013 at the Indiana State Fair. Montecasino celebrated World Popcorn Day on January 19 with the world’s biggest caramel popcorn doughnut.
  • Popcorn is a maize, a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
  • A popcorn kernel can pop 1 metre in the air.
  • Popcorn differs from other types of corn because it has a thicker pericarp/hull. The hull allows pressure from the heated water to build and eventually bursts open.
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