Some of their top picks were a little surprising.
You don't have to be a fanatic in order to be taken in by the considerable charms of Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter—charms that include but are not limited to an entire range of Butterbeer-flavored treats. But when it comes to enjoying the overwhelming amount of candy available for sale there, turns out it helps if you're something of an expert.
From the Puking Pastilles and Fainting Fancies at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, to those Exploding Bonbons sold at Sugarplum's and Honeydukes, a great deal of your enjoyment depends on one's level of passion for the Potter genre. Until it doesn't—from the flagship Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans with their trademark mix of delightful and downright disgusting, to the simple and much sought-after Chocolate Frogs, a lot of this stuff is just plain fun.
How to tell the difference? We put a couple dozen types of Harry Potter-themed candy currently being sold inside the Wizarding World in front of a group of enthusiastic Potter fans, and asked them to select five favorites. Here, the delicious and occasionally hilarious results.
#5 Chocolate Frog 5.3 oz $10.95
A collectors card (Gryffindor!) and the cool packaging aside, this is exactly what it says on the proverbial tin—everyone liked that the fact that it was solid chocolate. "Wait—it didn't jump," joked one taster. "Okay, it's chocolate. This is American-style milk chocolate, in the shape of a frog." Simplicity aside, most everyone went for second helpings.
#4 Shock-O-Choc 6.0 oz $9.95
Another attractive package contained an abundance of dark chocolate shards, but with the surprise element of ground red chili peppers. A lot of them, it turned out. "Whoa, that's hot—that sneaks up on you," cried one taster, reaching for a glass of water. "The back of my throat is on fire." Simple, once again, but this one definitely delivered on its promise, and was a hit with our panel. (One taster took the package home, afterwards.)
#3 Jelly Slugs 3.7 oz $6.95
Wrigglingly Good, promised the packaging. Opening the box, some tasters laughed and others were almost creeped out. Turns out, these really looked like slugs, right down to the matte finish on the perfectly-molded gummy candies, delivered lined up in a perfect row, as if preparing to attack. The texture turned out to be a little close to home as well—or, rather, to the ground. "How did they get that texture?" "Honestly, that must be 80 percent plastic." "Young kids would flip for that." The flavors were a mix, memorable for being rather unmemorable; one echoed of fake banana. "Really, though, you're not in it for the flavor." "This is a gross candy, but they're really, really cool."
#2 Love Potion 1.5 oz $9.95
Not one you'd tag as a crowd pleaser, this definitely became an object of mild obsession with our tasters, emerging as one of the most interesting sweets sampled. Arriving in a small, portable heart-shaped bottle with a pink cap and tassle, nobody was quite certain what to do with it at first. "This smells like perfume! Are we supposed to drink it?" Upon sampling, nobody could quite tell if they liked it or not, but everyone was fascinated. "This tastes like rosewater perfume!" "It's basically syrup—you could put it on a baklava." "If they did a jelly bean that tasted like rosewater, I would totally eat it." Some questioned whether or not younger children would be interested. "This is what grandma's parlor smells like."
#1 Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans 6 oz. $10.95
By a mile, this one—perhaps the flagship offering within the realm of Harry Potter sweets—was the favorite. Unanimously, everyone felt that if you were going to go for one thing, this would definitely be it. An entertaining blend of the delightful and absolutely disgusting, our tasters boldly agreed to a blind test of each of the twenty flavors (sorry, flavours) and gave their honest opinions on each one.
Blueberry "Some kind of berry?" "Definitely berry."
Candyfloss "Cotton candy." "Grapefruit."
Banana "Tropical. Pina Colada." "Definitely banana."
Black Pepper Everyone knew immediately what they were biting into. "I could eat an entire dish of these!" "These are more adult-ish—they have that floral, savory quality." "I would buy a box of these." "It's something you can eat again and again." A clear overall winner.
Marshmallow Nobody had any trouble figuring out what this one was, but nobody was particularly excited, either—some felt there was too much of a root beer taste in something that wasn't supposed to taste like root beer.
Earthworm "Dirt!" "Ewwww!" "Bell Pepper!" Nobody guessed exactly, but the verdict was unanimous—these were awful.
Dirt Everyone guessed right away, except for one taster who thought it didn't taste like anything—possibly, they admitted, because their taste buds were still freaking out over the Earthworm.
Sausage "Beans?" "Hot dog?" "Meat! Bratwurst! Sausage!" "It tastes like refried beans to me."
Watermelon "A good palate cleanser" after the last three, everyone guessed correctly, almost immediately. Luckily, there were a ton of these in the mix—everyone had a couple.
Tutti Frutti Nobody could quite guess what it was, but agreed they could eat a lot of them. "Cinnamon bubblegum?" "These taste like when you first bite into a piece of Dubble Bubble."
Cinnamon This one was hard to get confused with anything else. "Basic."
Lemon Sherbet "Fabuloso?" "This tastes like Pledge." "Is that cleaning fluid?"
Cherry "Very good!" "Actually tastes like cherry."
Bogies Blind tasting something this bad led to predictably comical results. One taster spat it out on the table. "That one didn't even make it in!" Salty and funky, it was hard to even smell this one, let alone bite down and chew. "It tastes like a bodily fluid that you're not supposed to be eating."
Green Apple "A sour kind of apple?" Close enough.
Grass "Very faint grassy quality." "Is it cucumber?"
Rotten Egg Besides a whiff of sulphur, there wasn't much to this one—considering how bad it could have been, we all felt like we'd been let off easy.
Soap "Wow, that's really soapy. "That's horrifying, oh my goodness." "Violet?" One taster was even less polite. "Urinal puck."
Vomit Everyone thought we'd reached peak disgusting with the Bogies flavor, but how wrong they were. By far, this was the one that shocked the most. "Oh my God, it makes me want to vomit." Out of our group of four, three of us literally gagged. "Why does it do that!" "I can't believe someone sat down and researched what to put into a candy to make people want to vomit." "You guys are so lucky I did not put that in my mouth." It was safe to say, we had a clear winner in the gross-out column.
Earwax "It tastes like a Bandaid!" "Like a hospital." Some noted fennel, or anise. "It wasn't that bad," one noted, possibly just relieved that this blind tasting was finally ending.
Their final conclusion? Sell giant bags of those black pepper jelly beans. Those, everyone agreed, were the greatest thing they'd tasted all day.
Can't make it to The Wizarding World? Jelly Belly sells a smaller-sized mix of Bertie Bott's Beans, along with other officially-sanctioned treats, here.