Madrid’s changing food scene
In recent years, Madrid has finally had seen very popular food trends make it across the English Channel and Pond. These include:
- The Bao invasion and in general, Asian Food Invasion including Sushi and Ramen. Many places come to mind but include: Tuk Tuk Asian Street Food, Toy Panda, Pambao, Ninja Ramen, Chuka Ramen and new players Peko Peko, CHAN Street food, Yakuza and The Japanese Burrito
- STREET FOOD in general. Word.
- More Burrito places. Even Med-mex – JLEO’s
- Gourmet burgers – too many to list, for a separate post…but make sure you check out Burnout and The Basque which are a bit less on the radar compared to the giants like Goiko Grill
- Cereal bars – Cereal Lovers and Cereal Hunters
- Hummus restaurant – La Hummuseria
- Tiramisu cafe – Medri
- Meatball only restaurant – Bolero
- Gourmet roast chicken – La Rotisserie
- Gourmet fish and chips – Chao Pescao
- and way more examples but it would be mean for me to tease you guys like this…
In fact, gourmet (but pronounced “gor-met“ in Spanish) is very much a commonly-used word these days. In spite of this, there is one product that admittedly I didn’t really expect to catch on in Madrid already – popcorn!
Crazy about popcorn
A few weeks back, FOL popcorn celebrated its 1st birthday so today I am going to take you on a magical, fabulous, whimiscal journey, where you shall find out how popcorn became “Italianised”. First things first, the name”FOL” comes from the Italian follia which means “madness, insanity”. But the only “crazy” thing here really is that they are passionate about their gourmet popcorn…and that this product which is typically associated with The States has been given an Itailan makeover.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Vania Barbini, one of the founders of FOL Gourmet Popcorn and she took the time to explain how FOL came about. Interesting enough, it involves a group of University friends studying Engineering who bounced around and toyed with different possible business ventures and ideas. As sometimes is the case, during one trip (let’s say…market research holiday?) one of them discovered the world of popcorn and subsequently they decided to go ahead with this product but give it an Italian twist. Vania jokes that the “crazy” bit was to try and turn popcorn (a fairly humble snack) into something you would see in a patisserie.
In November 2014, the first FOL Popcorn shop opened in Turin – a city that perhaps many don’t realise is famous for its culinary tradition as well as chocolate, cheese, coffee and the “slow-food” movement. Subsequently these friends have been able to bring their gourmet product to Spain as well as the rest of Europe. Outside of Italy they now have shops in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Limassol in Cyprus and of course not forgetting about Barcelona.
Popcornin’ in Chueca
FOL Gourmet Popcorn
C/Augusto Figueroa, 16. Nearest metro: Chueca
910 070 662
As for the Madrid shop, it is right in the heart of the centre, in the hustly-bustly and fabulous Chueca area. One must admire their stylish shop with both a classical style merged with modern touches. The shop oozes black and white and gold and the big shop window offers almost like a peek into their world. Yet for Vania and her fellow owners, the thing they rate is the Popcorn Cart, which they proudly bring out onto the street and decorate with balloons. Very nostalgic, right? Anyone else thinking back to their childhood….
Only the best corn make the cut
No trans fats
No preservatives or coloring
As their name suggests, consistent quality is really important for FOL Gourmet Popcorn, especially as they are flying the flag for the artesanal traditions of the Piamonte region. They place great importance on selecting the very best corn and ingredients. As a result, they are proud that:
- Their products are not genetically modified
- Only hot air is used, instead of air during the process, which is artesanal throughout.
- There is a lot of care and love and in fact, Simone over at their FOL Lab in Italy pretty much checks every one of them. Can you imagine..
- Last but not least, they try where possible to use and support local produce and products which is a trend that is picking up here in Madrid as well
The result? Even though by no means an popcorn expert, I would say it is definitely possible to taste the difference…and apologies for resorting to a clichéd slogan. But the truth is, despite being a treat it tastes a lot fresher and is not greasy as sometimes can be the case.
Popcorn with a twist
What I like most about their products, apart from the comfort in knowing they do really care about the quality, is that FOL Gourmet Popcorn offers flavours I had never come across before. Wowzers.
For example, in no particular order…I mean, no bias here…
- Cream cheese – hubba
- PIZZA (margarita, let’s not get carried away now)
What flavour tickles your fancy?
As mentioned above, the shop itself is rather whimsical and this also applies to the lovely presentation of their products. Cones, tubs, or even party packs. They can also cater for events, weddings, afterworks, parties...the whole works. In my opinion, this takes #snackgoals to a new level. Have a think – wouldn’t you love to munch on some popcorn during an important meeting or conference?
Even though I don’t really have a sweet tooth, it is nice to think that FOL’s American/Italian mash up gourmet popcorn is just down the road in good old Chueca. I admire how they have taken a somewhat humble and “common” product and given it a more sophisticated, edgier touch here in Madrid. Be Cool. That’s FOL
Their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FolPopcorn.es/
Their Instagram: @folpopcornmadrid / @folpopcornbarcelona / @folpopcorn #folpopcorn
Thank you for reading!
Original post in Spanish in my blog La Guiri Y La Gata