Next Level Popcorn

Forget butter. These tricked-out popcorn varieties take our favorite salt-of-the-earth snack to the next level.

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Purdue alum Orville Redenbacher might have grandfathered Indiana’s connection to the puffed kernel (thanks to a custom corn hybrid and masterful marketing), but local chefs and snack food–enablers keep making creative batches of gourmet popcorn to eat by the handful.

 

Not Just Popcorn

Sweet ladies work the counter at this Edinburgh stalwart, directing newbies to sealed bags of richly coated puffs, from Poppycock to Dill Pickle. If you can pick only one (of the 400 hand-batched flavors in the shop), make it the cheddar-and-caramel mix … or the Salt & Vinegar … or the Candy Apple. 114 E. Main Cross St., Edinburgh, 812-526-8256, notjustpopcorn.com09_DISH-3_popcorn_notjustpopcorn

Just Pop In

Any time this Indy-based company puts a local spin on a new flavor, the result is as craveable as Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary (seasoned with tomato, Worcestershire, horseradish, and citrus sea salt), Smoking Goose Caramel Bacon + Cheddar (a salty-sweet ying-yang), and 4 Birds Bakery Oats & Maple Cookie Crumbles (a tribute to the gourmet-market cookie that got its start on the dessert menu at H2O Sushi). Visit justpopinonline.com for locations.09_DISH-3_popcorn_hoosiermama

Inga’s Popcorn

A farmers-market favorite since 2011 with a shop in Zionsville, Inga’s transforms certified-organic Indiana popcorn into flavors like Snickerdoodle and Cheddar Jalapeño. If caramel corn studded with pecans isn’t sweet enough for you, try the Birthday Cake With Icing. 140 S. Main St., Zionsville, 317-344-2000, ingaspopcorn.com

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Plat 99

Those little paper bags that servers at The Alexander hotel’s eye-catching lounge whisk out to just-seated guests contain a snack with crack-like allure: popcorn laced with salt and truffle oil, prepared in a regular hot-oil popper behind the bar. 333 S. Delaware St., 317-624-8200, thealexander.com09_DISH-3_popcorn_plat99

Revery

For an extra $2, the southside restaurant will give its flavored popcorn—offered as a pre-dinner table snack—a bath in liquid nitrogen. The kernels freeze into savory pellets that thaw on the tongue. Pop one in, close your mouth, and chew to achieve the desired dragon’s-breath effect. Tip: Try not to giggle. 299 W. Main St., Greenwood, 317-215-4164, reverygreenwood.com09_DISH-3_popcorn_revery

This article appeared in the September 2015 issue.

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