BBC Good Food Christmas Taste Awards 2021

About the BBC Good Food Christmas Awards 2021

From smoked salmon and stollen, to Christmas cake and cranberry sauce, our expert panel blind-tasted more than 175 products to find the best UK supermarket buys to grace your table this holiday season.

We love finding the best Christmas supermarket buys for you, from turkey to mince pies. Find our full winning results at our Christmas Taste Awards 2021 winners page.

Who was invited to enter?

Supermarkets with more than 25 branches or a comprehensive e-commerce offering, which sell own-brand, fresh, frozen and dry goods are eligible to enter these awards. 13 supermarkets were contacted to enter.

How we did it

We invited 13 supermarkets to enter their best Christmas products for consideration across 23 categories. All food was prepared and cooked following pack instructions, then presented to our panel by two independent home economists. Packaging was removed and judges tasted all items blind. Judges submitted their comments and a score out of 10 for each product in the category via anonymous online forms.

In addition to the winning products here, the judging team also awarded ‘highly commended’ status to high-scoring favourites that they felt also deserved recognition.

Our judging panel

Christine Hayes, group editor-in-chief; Anna Glover, food editor, video; Barney Desmazery, skills & shows editor; Miriam Nice, projects editor; Liberty Mendez, recipe developer; Emily Lambe, digital assistant.

Categories

  1. Mince pies

Your best classic mince pies with a traditional fruit filling (please specify whether vegetarian when packaging is unbranded), and a lid. Pies without a pastry lid can have an alternative (for example nuts, fruit or crumble), as long as the pie filling is fully enclosed. We look for quality tasting, full-flavoured mincemeat and perfect pastry.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, M&S, Ocado, Spar, Lidl, Iceland.

  1. Flavoured mince pies

Your best non-traditionally flavoured mince pies. They must have a lid (either made from pastry or an alternative such as nuts or crumble). Focus is on impressive flavour, whether that’s salted caramel, creative use of fruit or chocolate versions of this festive favourite, as well as excellent pastry. This product should still be sold as a ‘mince pie’, but should have a twist.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Spar, Lidl.

  1. Gammon:

Your best joint of ham that comes either semi-cooked (to be finished off in the oven or on the hob) or ready-cooked (to serve cold). The ham can come with a glaze made from other flavourings.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Booths, Lidl, M&S, Ocado, Iceland.

  1. Christmas pudding:

A basin pudding that can be cooked in a pan, oven or microwave. This should be a fruit-based pudding (please specify on unbranded packaging whether it is vegetarian). Please send a full-sized pudding.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Booths, Lidl, M&S, Iceland.

  1. Smoked salmon:

Your best sustainable smoked salmon, served sliced or as a whole piece.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, M&S, Ocado.

  1. Stollen:

A whole stollen log or individual pieces, served dusted or iced, with traditional marzipan flavours.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons, Lidl, M&S.

  1. Pigs in blankets

Pre-prepared sausages wrapped in bacon, ready to cook in the oven. Variations of pigs in blankets, for instances flavours, coatings or unconventional shapes, are permitted.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Booths, Lidl, M&S, Aldi, Iceland, Asda.

  1. Cranberry sauce

A pre-made cranberry sauce, ready to spoon onto turkey or use in sandwiches. The sauce should come in a jar and can be flavoured, as long as the primary flavour is cranberry.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, M&S, Aldi.

  1. Gravy

The ultimate corner-cutting Christmas buy – gravy that tastes like it’s homemade but takes only minutes to prepare. We’re looking for a fresh gravy that requires heating. The gravy should complement the traditional festive dinner, but a vegetarian option can be submitted if preferred.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, M&S, Aldi, Asda.

  1. Panettone:

Your best festive panettone. Chocolate or alternative-flavoured panettone will be accepted.

Judged entries from: Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S, Aldi, Asda.

  1. Christmas cake:

Your best traditional Christmas cake. The number-one cake to slice and serve at Christmas, the cake should be iced or decorated and ready to present to guests.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, M&S, Aldi, Asda, Iceland.

  1. Yule log

Your best ready-to-eat chocolate yule log cake. The cake can be ambient or chilled, and should be iced or decorated and ready to present to guests.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl.

  1. Turkey centrepiece:

Your best carve-able turkey sharing dish to serve four or more. This can include plain, wrapped or stuffed turkey crowns, parcels or joints. We are not looking for full plain birds.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl, Iceland.

  1. Beef wellington

Your best shareable, ready-made beef wellington. It must be wrapped in pastry and contain a beef fillet to be sliced. Additional flavours are permitted, including new spins on the duxelle and ham wrapping. We are looking for a wellington with perfect golden, crisp pastry, and traditional rare beef.

Judged entries from: Waitrose, Tesco, Aldi, Booths.

  1. Fish centrepiece

A hero fish dish to rival its meat and veggie counterparts. We are looking for a shareable dish to serve four or more, with fish as its main ingredient. It can include more than one type of fish, as well as additional seafood. Examples include a roast side of salmon or trout, fish wrapped in pastry or fish in sauce. This dish would be served as a main course for a Christmas dinner or throughout the Christmas season and should be a cooked/hot product.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl, M&S.

  1. Alternative Christmas main

Not everybody is a fan of turkey – we’re looking for the best alternative meat to serve up on Christmas Day. This could be venison, a rib of beef, a luxurious spin on roast chicken – show us your best.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl.

  1. Sharing dessert

A traffic-stopping pudding to serve after the main event. This can be frozen or fresh, served iced, warm or cold, and should serve four or more. Focus is fantastic, multi-dimensional flavours as well as visual appeal. Examples include anything from cheesecakes to pavlovas, mousses, hot puddings and more.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Asda, Iceland, Booths, M&S.

  1. Vegetarian main course

Christmas is all about inclusivity, so we want to serve a vegetarian main that’s tantamount to meaty alternatives. The vegetarian main course can be individually portioned or a sharing size, and should serve two or more.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl, M&S.

  1. Vegan main course

Christmas is all about inclusivity, so we want to serve a vegan main that’s tantamount to meaty and veggie alternatives. The vegan main course can be individually portioned or a sharing size, and should serve two or more.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Asda, Iceland, Booths, Lidl, M&S.

  1. Vegan dessert

A traffic-stopping vegan pudding to serve after the main event. This can be frozen or fresh, served iced, warm or cold. Focus is fantastic, multi-dimensional flavours and visual appeal.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S, Aldi.

  1. Gluten-free mince pies

Special-diet mince pies to rival the original. Pies should feature a traditional fruit filling with a lid. Pies without a pastry lid can have an alternative (for example nuts, fruit or crumble), as long as the pie filling is fully enclosed. Please clearly label dietary details.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, M&S.

  1. Best hot canapé

Your best hot canapé to serve at a Christmas party or have with drinks before Christmas dinner. This could be anything from mini mac and cheese, to pakoras, pies or sliders. Must be served hot – either microwaved, pan fried to reheat or heated in the oven.

Judged entries from: Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op, Morrisons, Iceland, Booths, Lidl, M&S, Booths.

  1. Best cold canapé

We’re looking for the best canapé to serve chilled or at room temperature – no reheating or cooking required – to make hosting easy. This could include cold skewers, mini terrines, topped blinis or croutes, chilled seafood, savoury mousse etc.

Judged entries from: Tesco, Booths, Aldi, Asda, Co-op.

Advertisement