New research by consumer watchdog Which?? has revealed that getting the tastiest food and drink for Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank, with supermarket own-brands awarded top spots in some of its festive taste tests.
This year, Which? expert tasters blind-tasted Christmas puddings, sparkling wine and Champagne.
The Christmas pudding panel comprised food critic and MasterChef guest judge Charles Campion; award winning artisan baker Patrick Moore; The Great British Bake-off 2013 winner Francis Quinn; and Oliver Whitford-Knight, owner of The Pudding Bar. They tested 11 Christmas puddings from major supermarkets and leading brands, marking out of 10 for appearance, aroma, taste and texture. The final scores were converted to a percentage and ranked in order.
The panel awarded Morrisons’ M Signature Jewelled Fruit Christmas Pudding the top spot. At £3.99, it was the cheapest of the puddings tested but scored 85%. It was described as “simply majestic” and having a “great depth of flavour”. It beat premium Christmas puddings including those from London’s luxury department stores Harrods and from Fortnum and Mason. The tasters described the Fortnum and Mason pudding as having an artificial flavour and compared the taste to a citrus bathroom cleaner. The Extra Special Mulled Port and Orange pudding from Asda, costing £5, scored lowest (48%) and was criticised for its unpleasant, chemical flavour.
The Which? wine testers put Champagne and sparkling wines under the spotlight. Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blanc Brut Champagne at £22.50 a bottle came joint top of the Champagnes, scoring 80%, sharing the accolade with Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne (£33).The best-scoring sparkling wine was Co-operative Prosecco, scoring 78%, at £9.99 a bottle. The panel thought it had a good level of acidity and a good balance of bitterness and fruitiness.
Which? editor Richard Headland, said: “Christmas can be an expensive time of the year so it’s satisfying to see our festive taste tests revealed some of the cheapest were also some of the best. Time and again, we find supermarket own labels giving the big brands and high-end retailers a real run for their money.”