By Sam Padgett
If anyone is seeking an excuse to shovel popcorn into their mouth, now is the time. October is National Popcorn Month, and in celebration of America’s favorite cinema snack, we sampled all of the popped corn that Charlottesville’s movie theaters have to offer. Here are our findings.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Rating: 5 popcorns (scale of 1-5)
Appearance: Because the Alamo is both a movie theater and a restaurant, the popcorn here is served not in a bag or a bucket, but rather a metal bowl, elevating the snack to the level of a full-fledged appetizer.
Taste: While the regular buttered popcorn was delightfully delicate and perfectly salted and buttered, the truffled Parmesan buttered popcorn was a truly engaging culinary experience, lighting up both the salt and umami receptors on my tongue.
Overall: The popcorn here was made and presented not as a snack to be mindlessly consumed during a film, but rather a carefully constructed dish that can easily be enjoyed in individual bites—or a heaping, sloppy handful.
Violet Crown Cinema
Rating: Three popcorns
Appearance: Not only does Violet Crown smell overwhelmingly of butter, but the popcorn here was also shoveled out of a quintessential neon-lit popcorn machine, all of which creates a classic movie theater popcorn experience.
Taste: More so than every other location, this popcorn was merely dusted with both salt and butter, gliding right along the periphery of noticeable flavor.
Overall: Although Violet Crown’s popcorn was light on flavor, it could easily be consumed by the bucket without much notice.
Regal Stonefield Stadium 14 & IMAX
Rating: Four popcorns
Appearance: Behind a classically designed concession stand, the Regal’s gargantuan popcorn machine is visible, cluing in visitors that its popcorn has the authentic, rich buttery taste you’d expect from movie theater popcorn.
Taste: The popcorn was considerably heavy on both the butter and the salt, leaving both a delicious salty ring around my lips, and enough butter on my hands to stain whatever I touched.
Overall: When most people imagine a bucket of typical movie theater popcorn, this is exactly what they are thinking of.
Up for grabs
If you’re one of the many people who fondly remembers Flintstone’s Push-Up pops, then you are in luck. A new baking business called UpCakes combines the nostalgic frozen treat with cupcakes. Started by recent JMU grad and operating room nurse Megan Stolte, UpCakes offers custom push-pop cupcakes for any event. Besides evoking pleasant memories of summer treats, the push-pop design also allows for a totally portable and mess-free cake experience. And long gone are the days of flavors like Yabba Dabba Doo Orange: UpCakes offers unique flavors such as dunkaroos, one in a melon and puppy chow. Or you can special order any flavor, complete with a custom label, for events like anti-Valentine’s Day or National Wine Day. For more information, go to UpCakes Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want just a cake or two, look for UpCakes at the holiday City Market December 9.