Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives

Pop Candy

Rachel Flores knew she was onto something with her go-to holiday gift—batches of buttercrunch that she’d spend days crafting in her kitchen, before doling them out in ribbon-laced cellophane bags. Her hair stylist happened to be one of the lucky recipients, and eagerly persuaded her to make a go at selling it. While Rachel respected her stylist’s entrepreneurial spirit, she was so wrapped up in the world of nonprofits, that she barely had time to think of doing anything on her own. That is, until she saw a quote from another Rachael (that would be Ray), which was “If you’re going to work that hard, it should be for something with your name on it.”

POP may have become the name of the company instead (referring to Pacific Ocean Park, a former Santa Monica amusement destination), but the crunchy candy business is unabashedly Rachel. A cool, laidback creative type (as is her partner in life and business, Bill Waiste), she runs POP out of a sunny Culver City kitchen, with funky vibes that inspire a wealth of new, innovative flavors. Curry Rosemary Almond, or 4-Nut Blend Buttercrunch, anyone?

So what, exactly, is buttercrunch? It looks like brittle, but is actually much softer thanks to plenty of dairy butter. Yet it isn’t exactly toffee, especially when you take into account that it’s made with brown rice syrup (which is less caloric and sweet than corn syrup), and features all sorts of unexpected spices and herbs added to the mix!  

The namesake amusement park that inspired POP may be gone, but people continue to remember the pleasure it brought with a smile. And the same applies to Rachel’s utterly craveable buttercrunch.