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Friday, October 4, 2019

Trader Joe's Maple & Sea Salt Kettle Corn

Seeing this product immediately makes me think of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, when they all ate popcorn and jelly beans for their Turkey Day dinner. I mean, I know it's The Great Pumpkin season, but apparently maple isn't even technically a fall food at all—it's more of a late winter, early spring thing. Feels fall-ish enough to me. 

Anything with colorful leaves on the packaging is autumnal as far as I'm concerned. Even the colors on the bag look Novemberish. And I'm thinking the Peanuts gang would all agree this maple kettle corn is a step up from plain old Pop Secret or whatever they were having.

The kernels are remarkably large, yet light and fluffy for a candied popcorn. They're neither too sweet nor too salty.

The maple flavor itself isn't particularly dominant, but it's there. I might have preferred a wee bit more maple up in the mix—after all, people are going to buy this product because they want the taste of maple. It's what makes this popcorn treat unique.

Trader Joe's went for a subtle taste here, not a sticky, hard-shell of candy or caramelesque coating. It truly is kettle corn with a hint of maple flavor, rather than caramel corn or candied popcorn. You can shovel more than a couple handfuls into your mouth without feeling a massive sweetness shock or getting gummy, pasty sugar stuck on your teeth. It's not very filling, either. 

We just happened to be sipping some Earl Grey tea with a bit of cream when we broke open this bag, and they paired surprisingly well as an afternoon snack. That earthy black tea taste helped balance out the moderate sweet mapley taste of the popcorn, and yet didn't drown it out.

It's very much on par with the pumpkin spice and candy corn flavors that TJ's has rolled out in the past few years. Sonia likes it a bit more than its predecessors. Four and a half stars from her. I just wish I could taste a little more mapliciousness. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. I thought this was delicious, but I agree it could use a stronger maple flavor. Maybe it's good that it doesn't though. I've already polished off one bag and bought another.

  2. It nice that it is nut free. Maybe pair up with butter toffee peanuts or blister peanuts for a fun change from cracker jack.


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