With Christmas fast approaching, we thought that here in the office it would only be right for us to start the annual mince pie testing…all for the benefit of those reading this of course! And, with such a wide range of mince pies on offer, it is good to know which ones to buy and which ones to avoid, so selflessly we have worked our way through fourteen different boxes - trying each variety with our morning cups of tea (and with our afternoon tea as well if the mince pie was particularly nice!) – judging them in terms of the following criteria:
- Filling Taste
- Filling amount
- Overall rating out of 10
Not so extra special…..We kick started the testing with the Co-op’s regular mince pies along with their ‘Truly Irresistible’ range - both of these had a very average overall rating of 5/10 whereby the filling in the regular mince pies was actually preferred to the filling in the more expensive ones. That said, the pastry was slightly better when it came to the more expensive of the two. We concluded that the Co-op would have been better off combining the mince meat from the regular mince pies with the pastry from the ‘Truly Irresistible’ range and yet, felt that even then, they wouldn’t have achieved more than a 6/10. Sainsbury’s Deep-filled Mince Pies were another disappointment amongst us office folk; only attaining a collective 5/10 - the taste of the pastry and mince meat proving very bland, plus there was very little content. ASDA’s ‘Extra Special’ version wasn’t much of a hit either; especially compared to their ‘Chosen By You’ range and scored rather mediocre 5 or 6/10. Though the filling amount was good, the taste of the pastry and mince meat was just not up to scratch – a far cry from the ‘Chosen By You’ alternative which was rich-tasting and fruity, thus, given an impressive 8 or 9/10 all round. Naturally we had high expectations for the ‘Extra Special ‘mince pies after being so taken with ASDA’s ‘Chosen By You’ variety – though unfortunately they were not met.
One of the most disappointing mince pies that we sampled was Morrison's ‘Deep-Filled’ six-pack which were in fact, only two-thirds full with mince meat (if you were lucky!) Furthermore, the pastry was very bland; the sugar-crusted lid specifically, which encouraged an almost stale disposition rather than the soft, buttery taste that the pastry of a mince pie should possess. Tesco’s range was slightly above average; each pie suitably full to the brim with mince meat which was a big thumbs up within the group. On the other hand, the flavour of the mince meat wasn't that special and its viscosity was poor; resulting in a run-down-the-chin disaster.
To try something a little different we tested Marks and Spencer's puff pastry mince pies which were notably abysmal, especially given the usual standard on offer within the M&S food hall. Here, there was very little mince meat to speak of - probably about one tea spoons worth in each - so it was essentially like eating puff pastry on its own which wasn’t particularly appetising and definitely not worth the £4-for-two-packs price tag!
|Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' Brandy Rich Mini Mince Pie|
|Maple and Pecan Mini Mincemeat Pie|
So to sum up the results of the office mince pie testing, the average ratings out of 10 are as follows, (starting with the most popular):
ALDI Deep-Fill Mince Pies - 9/10
ALDI Luxury Mince Pies - 8.5/10
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Tart Selection - 8.5/10
ASDA Chosen By You - 8.5/10
Marks and Spencer All Butter Mini Mince Pies - 8/10
Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Brandy Rich Mini Mince Pies - 7.5/10
Lidl Deep-Fill Mince Pies - 7.5/10
Tesco Mince Pies - 7/10