by Paullette Gaudet

Popcorn_blogAt the Cineplex, a movie viewed without popcorn is much like an upright nap taken in a dark room full of strangers: dull, uncomfortable, and a bit unwise. Resist replicating this at your next home movie night—take advantage of being within walking distance of your very own kitchen and wow guests with some seriously seasoned popped corn. The basic recipe is oil-plus-salt, but gourmet means inventive, not highbrow (at least in this case), so keep things easy by sticking with one of the following categories:

Oscar-Caliber: Features one star flavor supported by a curated list of quality ingredients. Melted butter with fresh chopped herbs; truffle oil heated with cracked pepper parmesan; malt vinegar shaken with kosher salt and sprayed over fresh hot popcorn. Want authentic Caesar flavor? Start mincing anchovy fillets, toasting bread crumbs and grating lemons to cover your corn. Whatever sounds like a good marinade for roasted chicken will make a fantastic topping in this category.

Indie-Darling: Quirky pairings that sound like lost bets, such as bacon drippings and jalapeno peppers; Dijon mustard and mini-pretzels; rice vinegar, soy sauce, and wasabi peas; Fritos, shredded cheddar and cayenne pepper. If you can dream it, shake it into your popcorn. 

Summer Blockbuster: Here’s where you can use those packets of Ranch dressing, Ramen seasoning, and French Onion soup; also feel free to employ crushed spicy pork rinds, BBQ sauce blended with melted butter, and chopped chives (if you’re feeling particularly healthy).

Whichever category you choose, surefire wine pairings include Prosecco, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir. Then, grab a bag of corn and enjoy the show!