Everyone is always talking about the Cinnamon Bread at Dollywood, and yes, it is quite great, but another treat that may sometimes be overlooked is the amazing Kettle Corn. “Oh, I’ve had kettle corn before,” I’ve heard people say. They are talking about the stuff at fairs and festivals, but Dollywood’s Kettle Corn is in a class of its own. It’s not even comparable.
It is prepared fresh every day in a giant kettle at Country Cookers – Kettle Corn. You can walk by the small outpost in Rivertown Junction, just past Market Square, and see the delicious kernels being popped, stirred with a wooden paddle and scooped into bags for your enjoyment. Every once in a while, a stray kernel of popped corn flies out of the kettle onto the ground or dings against the lid. In its simplest form, the Kettle Corn has just the right balance of sweet and salty. The kernels, being popped in sugar, give way to a thin crispy outer-coating that provides a delicate and satisfying crunch. And the salt added is not granular nor stark, but assumes perfectly into the crispy goodness. The snack is not greasy and heavy, but is savory, sweet, light and portable.
You can carry your bag of Kettle Corn around easily and eat it on the go, munching on it during shows and concerts. I like to sometimes stroll the park with popcorn in hand, taking time to observe all the Christmas lights in winter, the pumpkins in the fall, or the flowers in spring and summer. It is also easy to tie a knot on the plastic Kettle Korn bag, emblazoned with the Dollywood logo, and leave it in a cubby on the platform of your favorite roller coaster. Such a snack doesn’t require the utensils and dedicated time allotment like some of the other fine treats in the park.
Although the original Kettle Corn is outstanding, the seasonal and special flavors are also quite appealing. The original is always a staple, but every day there is one other special flavor. It is always posted for quick reference and a giant wheel of packaged popcorn puts it on display in front of Country Cookers- Kettle Korn. A bit of suspense always builds up as I pass through the archway at Market Square to see what flavor is on special. Here is a list of flavors I have been able to enjoy and some that other Dollywood fans have said they’ve had:
Holidays also give way to specially-colored Kettle Corn. You’ll find red and green during Christmas; red, white and blue around the Fourth of July; and fall foliage colors for their special Harvest Kettle Korn.