What does this have to do with Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger? Admittedly, not that much. C'mon, you've learned to expect that from us now. But, I guess that ginger is one of those other acquired tastes as well. I thought I knew more or less what ginger tasted like growing up before knowing much better - ginger ale, gingerbread cookies, the occasional ginger snap, other ginger-tinged goodies. Ginger candy is something newer for me, but I got some that I really liked at the 99 Ranch in San Diego, and those were much more intense than what I was used to.
These TJ guys, though? Like Tufnel Marshall's amp, these go to eleven. Seriously. Short of hacking off a chunk of actual ginger root and chomping directly down on it, I can't imagine a more intense ginger flavor. Each piece is soft and chewy, kinda like dried pineapple except a little softer in that regard. If you bite a piece in half you'll see there's still some fiber-y stringy insides, but they're not noticeable otherwise. For flavor, each candied ginger piece starts off kinda mild and sorta sweet taste from the light dusty sugar coating, but quickly morphs into an all out ginger blitz that sets the back of your throat aflame. That's even after just one piece. That "sweet and smooth" tagline TJ's puts under the product name? I think that's their attempt to generally describe most gingers like myself and Nathan (both of us redheads, and we're both definitely sweet and smooth - just ask our wives! *cough*) and certainly not these candies - I couldn't think of two words that I'd wouldn't use more than those. Overzealous and napalm-esque? Sure. Sweet and smooth? Heck no.
Sandy absolutely hated these. We cracked a bag open on our recent road trip. After one bite, in my peripheral vision, I saw her make a face like I just forcefed her a meatloaf muffin. "Blahhh," she said. "Enjoy your ginger candy, ginger boy." She slightly changed her tune later and said she could imagine having some of these if she were feeling a little ill in the tummy, and for that reason only, she'll grace them with a one. To me, it's kinda funny she said that, because I swear each time I try them, my stomach feels a little off afterwards. Not sick, but not all that happy either. Yet, kinda like something that hurts only when you poke it, I keep trying them. I don't completely hate them, but it'll be a struggle to finish the bag nonetheless. I might try to return them, but seeing as though they cost only about $2 and I've had about half of them, I might not. I can imagine some of y'all like them, but for me, not so much. I think I'll go with a one as well. All out ginger assault is one taste that's far beyond me at this point.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger: 2 out of 10 Golden Spoons