Nestled in a scenic valley in the far Northwest corner of Illinois, sits the quaint little town of Galena Illinois. There is a very special place among the shops and eateries that is a popcorn lover’s dream; The Great American Popcorn Company.
The city of Galena got its start as a boomtown for lead mining in the early 1800’s. The city became known as the home of General and later President Ulysses Grant when Grant moved there to work in his father’s store on Main Street. Today, Galena has all the charm of a 19th Century town with its vintage buildings on Main Street and grand houses standing upon the hills of the city. Today, Galena is a wonderful destination for a weekend getaway from the stresses of the work week. The downtown area is adorned with shops and eateries with such a variety as to please most everyone.
For years, I heard friends talk about Galena and how they loved to go there. It is only about an hour and a half from where I live. Yet, I had set aside the time to go there until about ten years ago. Once I stepped on to Main Street my nose caught the wonderful smell of one of my favorite things; popcorn. I have only two vices; diet Wild Cherry Pepsi and popcorn. I felt like Toucan Sam as I “followed my nose” down the street and into the Great American Popcorn Company. It was if I had stepped into a dream as there was popcorn in flavors that I never imagined such as Zesty Ranch and Parmesan and Garlic. Galena instantly became one of my favorite places in the world.
The Great American Popcorn Company was started over 20 years ago by Dave Lewis and his wife Cathie. They run the business with their children Zach and Victoria. It is easy to tell that they all have a passion for their products and their customers. You can sample of any of the popcorn flavors in the store. Over the years they have come up with hundreds of flavors of popcorn; many of which are long time favorites and always in stock such as the Galena Mix; a tasty combination of cheddar cheese and caramel corn.
On my first visit, I wasn’t too sure about some of the flavor combinations and if they would taste good. You may feel that way too when looking through their selection. Don’t! You will miss out on an amazing taste treat. Some of my current favorites are: Thin Mint (yes, just like the Girl Scout Cookie), Zesty Ranch, Peanut Butter Cup, Cookies and Cream, Molasses (just like ginger snap cookies), and a long-time favorite of mine White Cheddar. They even have a flavor that was created at the request of the hostess of this blog, Shirley. Shirley has a passion for brownies so Dave came up with Brownie Explosion. To say it is amazing in taste is an understatement; especially if you like brownies.
Popcorn is not the only wonderful treat you can get at the Great American Popcorn Company. They have homemade fudge in a wide variety of flavors. Today I got to taste a new flavor; Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Wine. Fortunately, I only had a small sample otherwise I could easily see myself eating a whole block in one sitting. Some of the other fudge flavors they have include Birthday Cake, Mint, Peanut Butter, Honey Graham, Praline, Carrot Cake and many. In addition to fudge, they have variety of other candies, Jelly Bellies, ice cream and an extensive selection of sodas.
I could go on but I hear a bag of Thin Mint calling my name.
As a last thought, thank you Dave and family for bring a little taste of heaven into my world. See you soon.
“Friends don’t let friends eat microwave popcorn.”