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Freshie Faves: Angie’s Kettle Corn

Kettle corn is one of those old things that’s new again, a snack our pioneer ancestors ate but that then kind of disappeared.

But, with the exploding popularity of salty-sweet foods, it makes sense that kettle corn has made a big comeback in the last several years. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that popcorn has a reputation for being a healthier snack. It’s a whole grain, with more fiber and less fat than a bag of chips.

All those things are working in the favor of Angie’s Kettle Corn, which has just arrived in our snack aisles.

Angie’s is a boutique operation out of Minnesota that makes just one thing – kettle corn. And it comes in just three flavors – classic, lite and caramel.

If you’re going to make just one thing, you’d better be good at it. Angie’s is. All the flavors feature fluffy, crisp popcorn lightly coated with crystallized sugar and salt crystals, the perfect ying-yang balance of salty and sweet mixing in every bite.  I’m especially impressed with the lite flavor, which somehow manages to be just as satisfying and addicting as the regular versions, despite having half the sugar and half the fat of the original flavor.

Like a lot of boutique food companies, Angie’s has an interesting back story, and yes, there really is an Angie. She’s Angie Bastian, who started popping and selling kettle corn with her husband Dan at fairs and festivals in 2001. After getting some of their popcorn in the hands of the Minnesota Vikings players, the snack’s popularity took off, paving the way for them to go national.

Especially at a time of year when you’re probably still trying to work off the effects of all those holiday treats, kettle corn is a good choice. Angie’s Kettle Corn has just four ingredients – popcorn, corn oil, sugar and sea salt. (Well, that’s for the classic and light versions; the caramel also contains some caramel flavoring and sugar syrup.) They’re gluten-free and taste like they have a lot more calories than they do _ in a nice big two-and-a-half-cup serving, you’ll take in just 150 calories in the classic and caramel flavors, and only 120 with the lite.