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Taste test: Artisan pickles

Forget the basic bread-and-butters. We were craving something more gourmet for our summer barbecues. This week, we searched for a fancy pickle, checking grocery store refrigerators, meat counters and specialty food sections. We found plenty of options, including some delicious choices from the regular condiment aisles. Judges sampled 14 jars.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Market Stand

Chipotle Agave 76
Vlasic Farmer's Garden Zesty Garlic Chips 66Bubbies Bread & Butter Chips 60

These slightly sweeter pickles were perfectly sliced into attractive crinkle cuts and had an appealing yellow-green color. Judges liked the thinner slices and the perfect sweet/sour balance of flavors. One described the taste as "Southern charm." Another said she detected a "sneaky, spicy heat" that made her smile. "These will be at my next cookout," she said. One said she would layer these pickles on a tuna salad sandwich. "The sweetness is backed by that nice heat," she said.Judges said these "fat, round and Army green" pickles had a great crunch and a smooth combination of salty and spicy seasonings. "They are a luxurious, healthy chunk of pickle," said one panelist, adding that these pickles looked the most homemade. "They have a really pleasant tang and a wee bit of heat." She said these would be perfect served alongside a slab of ribs. Another judge liked the crispness of the pickles and "their deeply flavorful, garlicky taste."Overall, judges said these were a good option for a special occasion get-together. They liked the crispness of the pickles and the balance of savory and sweet flavors. "These are classic-looking medium rounds with a good yellow-green color," said one judge. "They have an excellent crunch with bold flavor — but not too sweet." A couple judges said the pickles were a bit thick for their preference, but they would work well on an appetizer platter paired with crackers and dip.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.48 for a 24-ounce jar from Walmart.$2.98 for a 26-ounce jar from Walmart.$6.99 for a 33-ounce jar from the Fresh Market.

Also Sampled: Wickles ($2.78 for a 16-ounce jar from Walmart, 50 points); Miss Jenny's ($3.97 for a 16-ounce jar from the Fresh Market,

31 points); Gordy's ($6.97 for a 16-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 26 points); Tony Packo's ($6.49 for a 24-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 44 points); Natural Pickled Pink Sweet Gourmet Pickles ($5.47 for a 16-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 11 points); McClure's Sweet and Spicy ($8.99 for a 32-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 45 points); Farm Ridge Foods Pickle Chips ($3.99 for a 32-ounce jar from Winn-Dixie,

41 points); Grillo's "Hot" ($5.99 for a 32-ounce container from Publix, 51 points); Ba-tampte Sweet Bread & Butter Chips ($4.19 for a 32-ounce jar from Publix, 45 points); Heinz Spicy Garlic Chips ($2.99 for a 16-ounce jar from Publix, 28 points) and Nathan's Famous Gourmet Sweet Horseradish Pickles ($3.69 for a 16-ounce jar from Publix, 34 points).

Panelists: Laura Reiley, Times food critic; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size1 ounce1 ounce1 ounce
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g0g / 0g0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium5g / 160mg0g / 34mg4g / 110mg
Carbs/Protein6g / 0g1g / 0g5g / 0g

Taste test: Artisan pickles 07/17/17 [Last modified: Monday, July 17, 2017 10:26am]
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