Snack Critic: Trolli Gummi Popcorn Curiously Attempts to Capture the Essence of Popcorn in Gummy Candy FormSeptember 16, 2017
Bathed in salty melted butter that goes perfectly with its underlying corn-y sweetness and with a crisp but light-as-air consistency, there’s nothing quite like shoving handfuls of popcorn in the mouth. And while there’s a lot of ways you can enjoy popcorn in this day and age—from varying the flavors to adding it as an ingredient in other recipes—how’s this for innovative: in gummy candy form. That’s the promise that we’re given, at least, with this offbeat sweet from German gummies company Trolli. Though popcorn isn’t on the top of our list of things that could inspire the creation of a gummy candy counterpart, whatever the thought process of these Trolli folks might’ve been, we’ll take this as a classic case of we will, because we can, and roll with it.
From the outside in, they’re a little visually lacking. The striped blue packaging (which likely refers the classic box most movie house versions come in) plays a crucial part in projecting the popcorn image here, because each little opaque, off-white piece, with its bumpy (non-) shape and outer surface that’s mostly smooth but dry with a fine, dusty coating—when viewed without context—better resembles miniature clouds at best, or human teeth at worst.
The dryness also extends to the insides. Though still of the gummy sort at its core, these candies take on a more foam-like quality—similar to what you get in M&S’ Percy Pig or in other non-branded but popular gummy candy shapes, e.g. gummy bananas or the egg pieces on Haribo’s Starmix—but stiffer and more stale, in a way that resembles the dehydrated marshmallow “charms” you get on a box of Lucky Charms cereal. It’s dry enough that it quickly disintegrates (you could melt them in the mouth without grinding your teeth at all) and doesn’t offer as much resistance as you chew. The flavor, too, comes closer to that of marshmallows—mostly sweet, but rather one-dimensional, at most taking on a a mildly nutty, fake-butter note that we’d compare to that of Jelly Belly’s buttered popcorn jellybeans—as opposed to the typically fruity, tangy direction most gummy candies take on.
With its dull texture and uninspiring flavor, we’re not the biggest fans of this candy on its own. But we find that these same qualities do work to evoke a popcorn-like sensation, albeit in a bizarre way. Its dryness and quick-dissolving character mimics that of actual air-popped kernels, and the mild taste means you can pop one after the other without getting overwhelmed with too much flavor. The lingering butter-like note, though far from tasting realistic, carries a peculiar charm of its own that does grow on you the more pieces you consume. While this candy doesn’t completely mimic popcorn in all its crunchy, buttery glory (there’s only so much you can carry over when morphing into other forms of food), it successfully captures the classic movie house snack’s fun, poppable character, in the form of a weirdly delicious gummy. Bonus points for keeping your fingers butter-free.