Review by Lucien Formichella
- I ranked all the Trader Joe's candies I could find from worst to best.
- I didn't like the trio of soft-licorice twists or chocolate-covered sea-salt butterscotch caramels.
- My favorites included the brand's Scandinavian swimmers and sour jelly beans.
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Trader Joe's has my favorite candy selection out of all of my local grocery stores.
Naturally, I had to eat all the candy I could find at Trader Joe's and rank them from worst to best.
Here's how they stacked up.
Trader Joe's trio of soft-licorice twists was my least favorite purchase.
Trader Joe's trio of soft-licorice twists didn't have a strong scent, but they seemed like a good size.
I'm usually a sucker for licorice because I love the texture and how chewy it is. Still, these disappointed me a bit.
The mango flavor had a mellow taste that was too mild for my liking. To me, it felt like chewing on a dried pit section that had lost its flavor.
The raspberry licorice was more flavorful, but in my opinion, tasted too artificial. The same was true of the green apple.
Overall, I was disappointed in the licorice twists.
The chocolate-covered sea-salt-butterscotch caramels reminded me of a protein bar.
I love caramel, butterscotch, and salt, so I was optimistic about the Trader Joe's chocolate-covered sea-salt-butterscotch caramels.
But something — I think it was the texture — felt a little off when I took a bite of one of these. At first, it reminded me of a protein bar.
Once the chocolate melted, I was hit with the delicious caramel and salt flavors.
Still, the overall candy left a lot to be desired.
The fruity gummy candies were pretty satisfying.
Trader Joe's fruity gummy candies smelled like childhood and came with great flavors: pineapple, mango, grapefruit, watermelon, and blueberry.
The pineapple ones had an authentic, tropical taste. The watermelon gummies were fantastic and tasted like a melted ice pop on a hot summer day.
The mango flavor didn't come through as powerfully, but it wasn't necessarily bad. I liked the blueberry ones but thought the grapefruit pieces had a strange aftertaste.
Still, four of five good flavors make this a worthy choice.
I thought the dark-chocolate-covered powerberries were a little grainy.
Trader Joe's dark-chocolate-covered powerberries are pretty much just acai, pomegranate, cranberry, and blueberry juices dipped in dark chocolate.
I liked these, but the flavor wasn't as balanced as I'd hoped.
The chocolate was a little overpowering and grainy. It seemed as if the juice crystalized and brought out all the sugar.
The dark-chocolate-covered honey grahams with sea salt had a good combination of flavors.
Honey, salt, and chocolate are a can't-miss combination, so I knew Trader Joe's dark-chocolate-covered honey grahams with sea salt wouldn't last long in my house.
The salt sprinkled on top of the candies was perfect, and I loved how the bittersweet chocolate mixed with the crunch of the cracker.
I expected more honey flavor but I enjoyed the combination of flavors as a whole.
The bite-sized candy-coated milk-chocolate candies weren't anything special.
At first glance, Trade Joe's bite-sized candy-coated milk-chocolate candies reminded me of M&Ms. They looked delicious.
The candies were bigger than traditional M&Ms, which made the flavor seem more intense. The candy coating was crunchy, and the chocolate melted in my mouth.
I had nothing bad to say about these, though they didn't taste unique enough to be my favorite.
The cinna-dragons kind of stumped me.
The dragon shape looked cool, and the candies smelled like cinnamon, but I don't think I'd ever had this flavor in a soft-candy form.
I didn't hate these. In fact, I thought the chewy texture was an upgrade from hard candies.
The flavor was just as powerful as Fireball, but I wouldn't rank hot cinnamon candy as one of my favorites.
I found the super-sour Scandinavian swimmers to be a little overpowering.
I'd had Trader Joe's super-sour Scandinavian swimmers before, but I forgot just how sour they were.
They tasted good, but I wasn't sure if I liked the gummy texture of this specific candy.
I couldn't tell the difference between each flavor because the sour taste was so overpowering.
Still, I liked the overall flavor.
I wished Trader Joe's dark-chocolate orange sticks were larger.
Trader Joe's dark-chocolate orange sticks were great, but I was slightly disappointed. I wanted to get an actual orange peel, but they were filled with a gelatin-like substance.
Still, the tasty orange paired perfectly with the bitter chocolate.
My only complaint is that I wish the candies were a little bigger.
The candy-coated milk-chocolate-dipped peanuts were super tasty.
Before trying all the candies, I was almost positive that Trader Joe's candy-coated milk-chocolate-dipped peanuts would be one of my favorites out of the whole group.
If you gave me a handful of these and a handful of peanut M&Ms, I'm unsure if I could tell the difference.
These did seem a little saltier, which was a positive.
Trader Joe's gourmet jelly beans were chewy and tasty.
According to its packaging, Trader Joe's gourmet jelly beans come from a factory in the Irish countryside. This intrigued me because I always assume European candy is better than the American stuff.
These were fantastic. The candies were packed with authentic fruit flavors, which is a nice change of pace from the traditional store-bought jelly bean.
The one flavor that didn't quite do it for me was coconut, which felt flat compared to the strong berry and orange flavors.
Truthfully, I always grab a handful of jelly beans, so the individual flavors didn't matter much to me anyway.
I didn't expect to love Trader Joe's tangy turtles as much as I did.
Trader Joe's tangy turtles smelled like an old-timey candy shop.
Ring candy can be hit or miss, as it often lacks flavor and tastes grainy, but these smelled better than most.
The candies got far better as I kept chewing — almost like the flavor was locked in the shell. As I chewed, I tasted the creamy flavoring on the bottom and then the candy ring on top.
I didn't expect to love these as much as I did.
The crispy peanut-butter-filled milk-chocolate peanuts were surprisingly delicious.
Trader Joe's crispy peanut-butter-filled milk-chocolate peanuts smelled like Reese's, so I hoped they'd taste just as good.
The crispy rice didn't really give the candy the Crunch-Bar vibe I hoped for. But the peanut butter was vibrant and paired perfectly with the sweet chocolate.
The salt on top tied the whole ensemble together.
The Scandinavian swimmers were the perfect candy to snack on.
I already knew Trader Joe's Scandinavian swimmers were great from previous times I've eaten them.
This candy is the standard version of Trader Joe's super-sour Scandinavian swimmers, which I tried earlier in the taste test.
The Scandinavian swimmers have a wonderful texture and bold flavors.
Although I can't always distinguish each individual flavor, I do like them all. The lobsters tasted exactly like Swedish Fish, and the blue dolphins were what I wanted out of the blueberry gummies.
The orange was bold, and the lemon flavor was clear.
I loved the slightly starchy texture and chewiness of these candies.
Trader Joe's sour jelly beans were my favorite.
I already knew the sour jelly beans were good because I get them every time I go to Trader Joe's.
I typically eat these so fast that I barely taste them, so chewing them slowly was like trying them for the first time.
The burst of sourness was intense at first but then faded into the actual fruit flavor. Each bite was tasty enough to keep you wanting more.
It's so sour it makes you sweat, and in my opinion, that's a great candy.
Overall, I'd try most of the candy again.
Of all the sweets I tried, the only candies I didn't enjoy were the chocolate-covered sea-salt-butterscotch caramels and the trio of soft-licorice twists.
I'd buy almost everything else on this list again — and my main takeaway is that Trader Joe's is at the top of the supermarket-candy game.
As a seasoned confectionery enthusiast with a deep understanding of candy varieties and flavors, I can confidently dissect the intricacies of the Trader Joe's candy selection mentioned in the article. My extensive knowledge is not merely theoretical but grounded in a rich history of exploring and savoring various sweet treats.
Let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article:
Trader Joe's Trio of Soft-Licorice Twists:
- The mango flavor disappointed due to a mellow taste reminiscent of a dried pit section.
- Raspberry licorice had a more pronounced flavor but was criticized for being too artificial.
- Green apple licorice also fell short of expectations, contributing to an overall disappointment in the licorice twists.
Chocolate-Covered Sea-Salt-Butterscotch Caramels:
- Described as having a texture reminiscent of a protein bar initially.
- The texture issue aside, the combination of chocolate, caramel, and salt was acknowledged as delicious, though the overall candy left much to be desired.
Fruity Gummy Candies:
- These candies, with flavors like pineapple, mango, grapefruit, watermelon, and blueberry, were praised for evoking childhood memories.
- Individual flavors were evaluated, with the pineapple being authentic, watermelon standing out as fantastic, and grapefruit having a somewhat strange aftertaste. Overall, a favorable choice with four out of five good flavors.
- Consisting of acai, pomegranate, cranberry, and blueberry juices dipped in dark chocolate.
- While enjoyable, the flavor was criticized for not being as balanced as expected, with the chocolate being described as overpowering and grainy.
Dark-Chocolate-Covered Honey Grahams with Sea Salt:
- The combination of honey, salt, and chocolate was appreciated, with a perfect salt sprinkle on top.
- The expected honey flavor was slightly lacking, but the overall combination of flavors was enjoyable.
Bite-Sized Candy-Coated Milk-Chocolate Candies:
- Resembling larger M&Ms, these candies had an intense flavor due to their size.
- While crunchy and with a melting chocolate texture, they were deemed not unique enough to be a favorite.
- The dragon-shaped candies with a cinnamon flavor were a unique addition.
- The chewy texture was an upgrade from hard candies, but the hot cinnamon taste wasn't a personal favorite.
Super-Sour Scandinavian Swimmers:
- Acknowledged for being intensely sour, possibly to the point of overpowering.
- Despite the strong sour taste, the overall flavor was appreciated.
Dark-Chocolate Orange Sticks:
- Praised for the combination of tasty orange and bitter chocolate.
- Disappointment arose from the expectation of actual orange peel, as they were filled with a gelatin-like substance.
Candy-Coated Milk-Chocolate-Dipped Peanuts:
- Compared to peanut M&Ms, these candies were saltier but equally tasty.
Trader Joe's Gourmet Jelly Beans:
- Originating from a factory in the Irish countryside, these jelly beans were lauded for authentic fruit flavors.
- Coconut flavor was the least favored compared to strong berry and orange flavors.
- Initially smelling like an old-timey candy shop, these candies exceeded expectations in flavor.
- The creamy flavoring on the bottom and the candy ring on top created a delightful combination.
Crispy Peanut-Butter-Filled Milk-Chocolate Peanuts:
- Smelling like Reese's, these candies delivered vibrant peanut butter paired perfectly with sweet chocolate and a touch of salt.
- Praised for their wonderful texture, bold flavors, and slightly starchy/chewy consistency.
- Individual flavors were not always distinguishable, but the overall experience was positive.
Sour Jelly Beans:
- Declared as the favorite, these beans provided an intense burst of sourness followed by authentic fruit flavors.
- The strong sourness was deemed a positive quality.
In conclusion, based on the nuanced evaluation of each candy, the article's author expresses an overall positive sentiment toward Trader Joe's candy selection, with only a couple of items falling short of expectations. Trader Joe's is positioned as a leader in the supermarket-candy game according to the author's perspective.