Nostalgia: Wright’s Pink Popcorn (and White-Chocolate Popcorn Recipe)
For those of you who grew up in the Bay Area, you probably remember Wright’s Pink Popcorn which I recently learned has been manufactured right here in Potrero Hill since 1940. Ask anyone who has enjoyed Pink Popcorn in San Francisco and they will almost certainly mention the Zoo and Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park which are the places I remember eating it as a kid.
I have a soft spot when it comes to this very pink and very brick-like snack. (My husband, also a Bay Area native, likens it to adobe!). Although it’s lacking in the taste dept., it’s pinkness has a certain mysterious and endearing charm — and it turns out that I’m not the only one who feels this way. As the change in concession management was being hashed out for the Stow Lake boathouse amidst much heated debate earlier this year, my first thought (along with many others) was “I hope they don’t ditch the Pink Popcorn!”. A rally of public support resulted in a contract stipulating that Wright’s Pink Popcorn will continue to be offered at the boathouse.
Easy White Chocolate Pink Popcorn
All that nostalgia got me thinking about making pink popcorn at home. You could, of course, make your favorite caramel corn recipe and tint it pink, but for something different we decided to make a super easy white chocolate version. In general I’m not a white chocolate fan — it’s sweet without being chocolately (there’s no chocolate in white chocolate after all!) — but this is surprisingly tasty, festive and lots of fun to make. Luca loved watching the white chocolate melt and stirring in the food coloring. We brought this as a topping to an ice cream social shindig, but it would be fun mixed with pretzels and other snackables for a party.
- Pop popcorn in an air popper or use an unseasoned microwave version. Line a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper and spread popcorn out in a single layer.
- Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. You’ll need about an ounce for every cup of popped popcorn. An important rule for white chocolate: don’t let any steam/water get into it or it will seize up!
- When the white chocolate is nicely melted. Scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and add to the white chocolate (optional). Stir in a couple of drops of red food coloring until you get the shade of pink you like.
- Drizzle pink chocolate over popcorn and toss well to coat. This part is messy, but fun. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt if you like sweet-salty flavors.
- Refrigerate to set the white chocolate and enjoy!