Saturday, February 13, 2010

Herr's Puff'n Corn: Cheese Flavor

We have my sister from another mother -- Net -- to thank for this review. We were preparing dinner in her New Jersey apartment, when she made the mistake of pulling out a bag of these Puff'n Corn things and asking me if I wanted to try them. Little did I know the delicious evil that lurked inside the harmless-looking cellophane!

You see, folks, until that moment -- while I had heard of the Herr's brand -- I had never tried any of their products, as they are unfortunately not sold on the West Coast. My biggest exposure to them came via the "Grief Counseling" episode of the U.S. version of The Office, in which Jim and Karen spend the day looking for her favorite flavor of Herr's chips that are sold out from the office's vending machine.

If Jim and Karen were looking for this flavor, then I completely understand why they felt the need to blow off work and hunt them down. (At my job we call such activities "getting fired," and I am not so sure Jim's job is safe any more either. After all, Jay Leno isn't on in the eight o'clock hour...yet.)

These puffs are described as a hulless puffed popped corn (that, in this case, happens to be cheese flavored). These snacks are all about the texture. Looking at them, I feared that since they looked a little like Styrofoam packing peanuts, that they might taste like them as well...oh, no!

Imagine the tasty love child of a piece of regular popcorn and an old school Planters Cheese Ball. (Modern-day cheese puffs are kinda close, but those who remember the Planters Balls will better understand). As you bite into the puff there is a crunch that, while satisfying, doesn't threaten to cut your gums open. (Yes, Cheetos Giant, I am talking smack about you). But at the same time, once you're through the outer shell, there is an almost chewy inside, rather than the scratchy nothingness that is often at the center of a cheese puff.

The cheese flavor is good. I mean, it's standard issue powdered artificial cheese flavoring. It's hard for it to be bad (or really great). It's salty, but not excessively so. And at the same time I wouldn't call it bland either. There a distinct popcorn flavor, and it's a little buttery. And it's a bright enough orange that should you need a snack for an impending hunting trip, this could be perfect!

Poor Net. She created a monster. I ate her bag, made us go get another, and then spent the night trying to sneak rogue puffs into everything from the salad to the chicken to the apple pie. I am sure that it was every bit as pathetic to watch as it is to read about. All I know is that no cheese puff from here on out will ever be as good.

(A special shout out to Tony for posing "Jersey Shore" style for this newest rating!)

Shop Rite supermarket




150 per 1 ounce serving



lunaburning said...

You must track down Herr's Caramel Puff'n Corn. You won't be sorry.

Annette said...

Yay!!! I'm glad you liked them. I love how you describe them, esp. the part about cutting your gums open on them. That's the one thing I hate most about regular cheese puff things. These are like soft puffs of evilness that almost melt it's artificial orangey-ness cheesy-ness onto your tongue. I will try to send some asap for you. :o)

Gigi said...

OMG someone get me a plane ticket STAT!

Why did I not know there is a caramel version?!- how did I miss that?

You created a monster!!

Anonymous said...

Snyder of Berlin also does a really nice cheese puff'n corn -- it looks and sounds just like Herr's does and has a similar "crack in the strangely tasty neon orange cheese powder" quality going on.

I don't know about their West Coast availability, since they're made in Pennsylvania and I get them back home in Tennessee, but maybe you could find them somewhere more easily than Herr's?

Gigi said...

Jess: My local stores actually do carry several of the Snyder's pretzels. Sadly no sign of the puffed corn.

Hm... This sounds like it might be a job for Net! (since your already mailing the other bag...)

JenJen said...

I just moved to Texas from Pennsylvania. The Snyder's cheese puffs are WAY WAY better than Herr's, in my opinion. They don't sell them out here at all. We have the Snyder's pretzels, but no cheese puffs! It's heartbreaking!

Gigi said...

You are now, about the 10'th person to tell me this! I have GOT to try these things!

Sadly, I am in the same boat, we have the pretzels but not the cheese puffs. I am about to beg the company lol.