As kids we may have thought candy came straight from Willy Wonka's factory, but now we know the truth: it comes from the drugstore. Those pharmacies around the corner have us covered with entire aisles devoted to the classic brands we grew up with. We're talking affordable treats that you might find in any post-Halloween stash: Twix, Starburst, Swedish Fish — to name just a few. And although we love the candy aisle for its sweet-nostalgic convenience, we also live in the era of artisanal everything. Local bakeries and start-up candy suppliers now make small-batch takes on some of the sweets flavors we grew up with, using high-quality, expensive ingredients and topping chocolate bars off with finishing touches like flaky French sea salt.
Even though artisanal candy has a much steeper price tag — averaging $1.23 more an ounce — coupled with a more limited availability than our usual brand-name go-tos, we couldn't help but wonder if the attention to detail and quality of these treats might make them worth a splurge once in a while. So, we decided to hold a blind taste-test challenge in which we pitted our favorite chocolate bars, taffies, gummies, and fruit chews against their new-age, pricier counterparts
Click ahead to see which specialty treats are worth the occasional investment and which old-school brands still can't be beat.