Bubble TreatsEat

Popcorn Kitchen is popping up your new favourite snack!

by Lucinda Beeman - April 4, 2017

With their American-style kettle and passion for all things popped, you can bet that Clare and PJ Sykes are producing the very best kernels in their Popcorn Kitchen – a taste of which Bubble Clubbers get to enjoy in their March Bubble Boxes!

When Clare Sykes and her husband PJ first discovered a classic American snack, they had no idea that it would change their lives.

A long-time employee of the food services industry – she had run a chain of salad bars and worked in marketing at Unilever – at the time Clare was selling toasties and freshly ground coffee of revellers at festivals and farmers’ markets. So when the Sykes family came across kettle corn, a hugely popular type of popcorn made fresh in giant steel ‘kettles’, it inspired them.

“My husband thought it would be popular at outdoor events here in the UK,” Clare says, “so we set about trying to source a kettle – they’re like giant woks, basically. It wasn’t easy, but eight months later our first kettle arrived in a massive crate from the US. We did our first event at a local farmers’ market and never looked back!”

When Clare and PJ were starting their mobile popcorn kitchen, the state of snacks in the UK left much to be desired. So while the popcorn industry has undergone a massive shift in the last six years, Clare says, she’s proud to have been many people’s introduction to the fabulous popcorn flavour in March’a Bubble Box: sweet and salt.

“When we started popping our Sweet & Salt in 2012 nobody had heard of it,” Clare says. “It was actually quite hard to even get people to try it! But once they did they absolutely loved it, and we got so many emails asking where they could buy it. That’s why we started packaging for retail.”

The Sweet & Salt popcorn in March’s Bubble Box is as close to hot-from-the-kettle as you can get without tracking Clare and PJ down at a farmers’ market. The perfect balance of sweet and salty, this is no caramel-coated funfair food; rather, taking real feedback from their festival and farmers’ market followers, the Sykes family spent months perfecting the ratio of sugar and salt.

“It’s the perfect balance,” Clare says. “Just the right amount of salt stops it becoming too sickly so you can eat more of it, which can only be a good thing when it comes to popcorn! It took quite a while to get it right because we can’t produce it exactly the same way we do at farmers’ markets, but we’re very happy with it.”

While Sweet & Salt is Popcorn Kitchen’s most popular flavour, they’re always adding to the line. With Salt & Olive Oil, Simply Sweet and Sweet & Chilli, the Popcorn Kitchen range has the perfect popcorn for every palate. And, for real fans, you can still find Clare and PJ popping fresh at events all over the country.

“We absolutely love taking our kettle to farmers’ markets,” she says, “and I wish we could get to more. There’s nothing better than seeing people enjoying the product you’ve made – it makes all the hard work worthwhile!”

So if you’re looking for a taste of this perfect Sweet & Salt popcorn, why not go and visit Clare, PJ and their ginormous kettle? Check their Facebook for updates on where they’ll be next and get a big scoop of popcorn perfection straight from the source.

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