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Testing is complete and the results are in for our first ever Summer Taste Awards. We tasted 110 products across 18 barbecue and picnic categories to bring you our definitive shopping list for summer 2019. Read on to discover which supermarket products came out on top in our five picnic categories.
The best picnic food
Best sausage rolls
Handcrafted Wiltshire ham, pickle & cheddar sausage roll (4-pack, 188g), M&S (£2.80)
Our judges loved the addition of smoky ham, slightly sweet pickle and full-flavoured cheese in this pork sausage roll. Plus, the pastry is golden and flaky.
The best pork sausage rolls (4-pack, 288g), Morrisons (£2.20)
The best overall ‘classic’ sausage roll the judges tried, this has a generous amount of well-seasoned pork filling and golden, flaky puff pastry.
Waitrose 1 dry cured bacon and cheddar sausage rolls (4-pack, 188g), Waitrose & Partners (£2.79)
The judges liked the slightly smoky, cheesy edge in these rolls, which have a good coarse meat filling and buttery, melt-in-the-mouth pastry.
Best pork pie
Large Melton Mowbray pork pie (440g), Tesco (£2.50)
Short, buttery pastry with a lovely even colour, a nicely seasoned filling and just a sliver of jelly made this a clear winner for our judges.
Medium Melton Mowbray pork pie (295g), Asda (£1.88)
This well-seasoned pie has strong pepper flavour and dark, slightly bitter pastry which is crisp, buttery and attractively crimped.
Cheese topped pork pies (200g), M&S (£3)
These mini, picnic-friendly pies were praised by the judges for their smoky, peppery filling which was complemented nicely by the tangy cheese topping.
Best scotch egg
Taste the Difference scotch egg (140g), Sainsbury’s (£1.30)
A clear winner, the meat is well-seasoned, coarse and nicely peppery, while the bread crumbed-coating is a deep golden brown.
Pork and beetroot scotch egg (140g), Waitrose & Partners (£1.59)
Our judges loved the vibrant pink hue and subtle beetroot flavour, which complements the seasoned pork meat with its sweetness. The crumb is also finished with poppy seeds – a nice touch.
Best vegetarian picnic snack
Handcrafted roast butternut & red onion rolls (4-pack, 188g), M&S (£2.80)
The judges thought this was a great example of a veggie roll that ‘isn’t trying to be meat’. The pastry is buttery, deep brown and crisp and the fruity, onion-based filling is generous.
Goat’s cheese & caramelised onion parcels (6-pack, 132g), Asda (£2)
Described by one judge as ‘surprisingly satisfying’, these little pastries, with their fun, pink beetroot pastry have a well-seasoned, balanced filling, featuring caramelised onions and a hint of chilli.
Best potato salad
Taste the Difference Potato Salad (275g), Sainsbury’s (£2.10)
A classic and homemade-tasting potato salad, this is well seasoned and has a bright acidity to its dressing.
Yogurt dressed charlotte potato salad (270g), Waitrose & Partners (£2)
This also has a homemade taste and the judges loved the subtle tang and pungent crunch of red onions and refreshing mint flavour.
Irresistible mint & yogurt potato salad (270g), Co-op (£1.50)
Slightly sweeter overall than our winners, our judges loved the fact that the baby potatoes in this are whole, meaning you can taste the creamy flavour of the potatoes themselves. The dressing is herby, with a mild spring onion hit.
How we tested
All food was prepared, cooked and presented by independent home economists. Packaging was removed and the dishes were blind-tasted and assessed by our team of experts. Tasting took place in silence to ensure the panel didn’t influence each other’s decisions and the entire process was overseen by an independent adjudicator.
The team sampled 113 different entries, looking for a winning product in each category, as well as up to two highly commended products that didn’t win the top spot but deserved recognition. We looked first for the best flavour, but other factors were considered, such as how well burgers and kebabs (particularly vegetarian ones) held together on the barbecue, as well as texture, especially in categories involving bread and pastry.
This review was last updated in May 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.