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We’ve completed our annual Christmas Taste Awards and 166 blind-tasted products later we’ve found the very best buys for Christmas 2018. Eleven nationwide supermarkets sent entries which our expert panel whittled down to 18 category winners, as well as highly commended products. To make the results as practical as possible, we’ve arranged the winners by supermarket, so you can easily add our top recommendations to your shopping list. Read on to discover how each brand performed…
The scores on the doors: How did your supermarket perform?
Aldi: 5 (2 winners, 3 highly commended)
Asda: 5 (2 winners, 3 highly commended)
Booths: 3 (all highly commended)
Co-op: 1 (highly commended)
Iceland: 1 (highly commended)
Lidl: 5 (2 winners, 3 highly commended)
M&S: 7 (5 winners, 2 highly commended)
Morrisons: 6 (3 winners, 3 highly commended)
Sainsbury’s: 2 (highly commended)
Tesco: 4 (all highly commended)
Waitrose & Partners: 7 (4 winners, 3 highly commended)
The best Aldi Christmas food
Specially Selected snowflake tiffin honeycomb & orange bites (£3.29)
Specially Selected Exquisite mince pies (£2.99)
Specially Selected souflettes (£2.99)
Specially Selected Exquisite Rumburgh farm British free range whole turkey (£9 per kilo)
Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite panettone (£5.99 – buy now)
WINNER Panettone This was velvety, buttery and golden, with strong notes of vanilla, and was fluffy and moist when we cut into it.
Aldi Specially Selected snowflake tiffin honeycomb & orange bites (£3.29 – buy now)
WINNER Sweet canapé These easy-to-pick-up chunky snowflake bites were chocolatey and indulgent, with chewy marshmallow and crunchy biscuit.
Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite mince pies (£2.99 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Mince pies If you like a higher proportion of fruit to pastry, you’ll love these star-topped pies. The filling has a deliciously distinctive citrus tang. The judges also commended the fact that this pack of four pies came without the usual foil cups, which got an eco-friendly tick.
Aldi Specially Selected souflette (£2.99 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Vegetarian canapé Considering these are light and squidgy little soufflés, we were impressed by how well they held up on the plate and stayed warm. Both flavours (red pepper and wild mushroom) are distinctive, with a great cheesy flavour. You could easily assume they were homemade.
Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Rumburgh farm British free range whole turkey (£9 per kg – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Turkey A large turkey with compact legs. The brown meat tasted a little like duck, while the breast meat was full of flavour.
The best Asda Christmas food
Extra Special Christmas pudding (£4.50)
Extra Special heather honey & black pepper smoked salmon (£3.99)
Extra Special chocolate, hazelnut & Amaretto stollen loaf (£5.50)
Extra Special pork & caramelised onion stuffing with bacon wraps (£3)
28-day matured beef rump joint with a portobello, porcini & truffle duxelle (£20 per kg)
Asda Extra Special Christmas pudding (£4.50 – buy now)
WINNER Christmas pudding A good-size pudding with a nice, glossy exterior. Plenty of nuts and plump cherries gave this moist, dense pudding a great texture, and the kick of booze really developed after each mouthful.
Asda Extra Special heather honey & black pepper smoked salmon (£3.99 – buy now)
WINNER Smoked salmon This sweet-smoked salmon came in neat, thick slices, edged with herbs and black pepper. It would look great on a buffet table.
Asda Extra Special chocolate, hazelnut & Amaretto stollen loaf (£5.50 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Stollen The judges loved the chocolate twist in this stollen, which is perfect for families who don’t like marzipan. Very moist with a generous amount of chocolate and lots of fruit.
Asda Extra Special pork & caramelised onion stuffing with bacon wraps (£3 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Stuffing Generously sized individual parcels of stuffing, wrapped in smoky bacon with a rosemary sprig. Our judges really liked the combination of festive flavours.
Asda 28-day matured beef rump joint with a portobello, porcini & Truffle Duxelle (£20 per kg – pre-order now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Alternative meat centrepiece This looks festive and neat with the pancetta wrapper and is easy to carve. An umami bomb on the taste front – really savoury with flavour going all the way through the tender meat.
The best Booths Christmas food
Whisky & marmalade gammon (£25)
Chicken panang cups (£7)
Festive stollen bites (£3.25)
Booths whisky & marmalade gammon (£25 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Ham A great family ham that is mild but still with plenty of personality. Our tasters liked its sweet and salty flavour and good texture. For a smaller joint it was good looking too with its crown of orange slices and bay and neat shape.
Booths chicken panang cups (£7 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Savoury canapé Pretty purple pastry flower cases – a great use of beetroot. The filling has excellent flavour – Thai spices, a nice level of chilli, fish sauce and lime leaf/lemongrass.
Booths festive stollen bites (£3.25 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Stollen We loved that these little bite-size chunks of stollen have been dusted all over with icing sugar – they’d be great at a canapé party as in two bites they are gone. The fruit in them is plump and juicy while the almond flavour in the marzipan is nice and strong.
The best Co-op Christmas food
Irresistible Scottish smoked salmon (£5)
Co-op Irresistible Scottish smoked salmon (£5 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Smoked salmon If you like your salmon strong and smoky with a salty edge, this is for you. One judge said they would be very happy to serve this as they loved the dry texture and strong lasting smoky flavour that develops in the mouth.
The best Iceland Christmas food
Luxury Black Forest layered pavlova (£6)
Luxury Black Forest layered pavlova (£6 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Centrepiece dessert You could easily pass this dessert for homemade, distinctive layers of meringue, cream and cherry with a flavour of kirsch and large flakes of chocolate. Tasty and well balanced.
The best Lidl Christmas food
Deluxe luxury stollen with Jamaican rum (£3.99)
Deluxe apricot & white stilton stuffing (£2.39)
Silverslate turkey (under £9 per kg)
Bone marrow pie (£14.99)
Chicken & chorizo cup canapés (£3.49)
Lidl Deluxe luxury stollen with Jamaican rum (£3.99 – buy in-store)
WINNER Stollen Attractive with its heavy coating of almonds and icing sugar, we loved that we got a mouthful of marzipan in every bite. A nice soft enriched ‘flakey’ dough that is almost like a panettone with plenty of almond flavour and generous fruit.
Lidl Deluxe apricot & white stilton stuffing (£2.39 – buy in-store)
WINNER Stuffing These stuffing balls were hugely popular with our tasters. They liked the neat fruit studded appearance and sweet and savoury flavour. The meat part was slightly coarse with a great texture while – the overall flavour was juicy with sweet apricot and a tangy hint of stilton that was savoury rather than cheesy.
Lidl Silverslate turkey (under £9 per kg – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Turkey Golden and glossy with delicious brown meat from the legs, the flavour was gamey, but not too much. The meat overall had a nice close texture and was juicy.
Lidl bone marrow pie (£14.99 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Alternative meat centrepiece One judge claimed ‘I love this showstopper!’ Mouths will drop when you bring this to the table! Unctuous gravy with melting beef – we were impressed with this suet crust pie.
Lidl chicken and chorizo cups (£3.49 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Savoury canapé A great flavour combo and appealing to look at too. Good to have a canapé that is low carb, so not based on pastry or bread. Quite saucy to pick up, but worth it for the lovely smoky and tomato flavours.
The best M&S Christmas food
Pembrokeshire Bronze free range turkey (£10 per kg)
Belgian chocolate & cherry dessert (£20)
British sirloin of beef with Shallot stuffing topped with porcini & truffle butter (around £45)
Baked ricotta stacks with creamy white wine sauce (£7)
20 spicy pulled pork tacos (£14)
20 goat’s cheese tartes tatin (£14)
9 mini cheesecakes (£5)
M&S Pembrokeshire Bronze free range turkey (£10 per kg – buy now)
WINNER Turkey This plump bird roasted to a lovely golden colour with great crisp skin. The breast meat was moist and succulent while the legs were savoury and gamey.
M&S Belgian chocolate & cherry dessert (£20 – buy now)
WINNER Centrepiece dessert Festive and retro, this little beauty is a practical shape to slice and serve. This dessert has a great texture with rich silky mousse, bitter chocolate and cherries with a slightly boozy twist.
M&S British sirloin of beef with Shallot stuffing topped with porcini & truffle butter (around £45 – buy now)
WINNER Alternative meat centrepiece The cooking instructions are spot on for this. The meat is soft and tender while just the right amount of the very delicious truffle butter and mushroom topping provides bags of flavour.
M&S Baked ricotta stacks with creamy white wine sauce (£7 – buy now)
WINNER Vegetarian main course Attractive presentation, and great to see a veggie dish without pastry! Smart with a nice mix of layers and textures.
M&S 20 spicy pulled pork tacos (£14– buy now)
WINNER Savoury canapé Just scatter over some coriander and you could claim these from your own kitchen said our judges! Nice and colourful with well cooked tacos (soft yet with crunch), smoky and flavoursome meat and ‘fresh’ additions from the cool soured cream and salsa.
M&S 20 goat’s cheese tartes tatin (£14 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Vegetarian canapé Inviting with their sticky shiny tops, gorgeous filling and crisp puff pastry, this amazing combo is hard to beat. A good balance of flavours that is not too goaty.
M&S 9 mini cheesecakes (£5 – in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Sweet canapé Light and dainty with a punch of fruit. These are just the right size for a sweet canapé. A nice sharp lemon and creamy raspberry flavours on a buttery crunchy base.
The best Morrisons Christmas food
The Best mince pies (£2 for six)
The Best poinsettia Christmas cake (£12)
Free From mince pies (£2 for four)
The Best Free From jewelled Christmas pudding (£6)
The Best chocolate orange and brandy panettone (£8)
Thai vegetable filo tartlets (£2.50)
The Best mince pies (£2 for six – buy now)
WINNER Mince pies Out tasters loved the pastry on these, saying it was thick and buttery almost shortbread-like, but it still crumbled nicely when you bit into it. The design and dusted sugar made it stand out from other pies in the tasting too. These have juicy whole raisins and sultanas with a nice balance of sweetness and booze.
The Best poinsettia Christmas cake (£12 – buy now)
WINNER Christmas cake Very elegant with its sugar-work and gold and shimmery sparkles, this cake will please modern-stylish and traditional tastes. The cake has a delicate gingerbread flavour, with very almondy marzipan. This held together when cut too, as some crumbled.
Free From mince pies (£2 for four – buy now)
WINNER Gluten-free mince pies These had a nice crumbly texture to the pastry with a good ration of pastry to filling. The filling is distinctive and zesty with a complex flavour and juicy fruit.
The Best Free From jewelled Christmas pudding (£6 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Gluten-free Christmas pudding Luscious, well balanced and sticky sweet with a very pretty topping of syrupy citrus slices and cherries, in fact our tasters thought this was the most visually appealing. A great texture with buttery flavours.
The Best chocolate orange and brandy panettone (£8 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Panettone If you like chocolate, this will be your winner. Our judges thought this less traditional take on a panettone looked amazing with its dark chocolaty top. It had a lovely soft texture with lots of chocolate chips and peel studded throughout – a great idea.
Morrisons Thai vegetable filo tartlets (£2.50 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Vegan canapés The pretty little open tarts with flecks of red pepper look like little flowers. Crisp filo pastry with a moist yet aromatic Thai filling that gave a warm heat from the chilli, and gorgeous lemony flavours from lime leaves or lemongrass. Others in the category that were similar were dry by comparison.
The best Sainsbury’s Christmas food
Taste the Difference rich & buttery falling leaves iced fruit cake (£15)
Taste the Difference 18 month matured cognac laced Christmas pudding (£9)
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference rich & buttery falling leaves iced fruit cake (£15 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Christmas cake There’s lovely gold ivy-leaf detail on this pretty and original design while the cake itself has loads of chunky plump fruit with whole cherries and almonds, gentle spice and a healthy kick of booze. The thick layer of marzipan and icing, is sweet and almondy, and a good ratio on this deep cake. It’s on a proper cake board that could be used again too.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 18 month matured cognac laced Christmas pudding (£9 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Christmas pudding A good all rounder, well balanced, lots of fruit and just the right amount of cognac and zest. Lovely caramelised flavour with good crunch from the almonds too. An ideal sized pudding for a family of four.
The best Tesco Christmas food
Finest 12 month matured Christmas pudding (£8)
Free From cranberry and orange Christmas pudding (£3)
6 chocolate cookie cups (£3)
Festive Christmas tree stuffing (£4.50)
Tesco Finest 12 month matured Christmas pudding (£8 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Christmas pudding We awarded this pudding for it’s crumbly texture and chunky pieces of nut. It’s boozy, and traditional tasting with pleasing bitter caramel notes. Free From cranberry and orange Christmas pudding (£3 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Gluten-free Christmas pudding Juicy and sticky, with marmalade flavours, and a luxurious glossy appearance. A slightly chewy texture, but pleasantly so, and with a lovely sweet caramel flavour.
Tesco 6 chocolate cookie cups (£3 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Sweet canapé These attractive warm canapés have a crumbly biscuit case enclosing a rich melty chocolate middle. The judges liked that fact that these are served warm.
Tesco festive Christmas tree stuffing (£4.50 – buy in-store)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Stuffing A fun and festive stuffing with its Christmas tree design – a great concept. Good meaty flavour with plenty of herbs, fruit and texture.
The best Waitrose & Partners Christmas food
Your Waitrose & Partners shopping list at a glance:
Waitrose & Partners juniper smoked bone in spiral cracking gammon (£12.49 per kg)
Waitrose & Partners vegan jackfruit tacos (£7)
Waitrose & Partners feta, spinach and pine nut spanakopita (£7)
Waitrose & Partners Free From richly fruited Christmas pudding (£5)
Waitrose & Partners 1 all butter mince pies (£2.50 for pack of six)
Waitrose & Partners gluten-free star topped mince pies 2’s (£2.50)
Waitrose Entertaining Fiona Cairns Chocolate Fruitcake (£30)
Waitrose & Partners juniper smoked bone in spiral cracking gammon (£12.49 per kg – buy now)
WINNER Ham This was our favourite product of the entire taste test – an all out winner! This is a bone-in joint, so large and imposing with an unusual crisp and delicious, pork scratching style of crackling. The meat is a little on the salty side, but not in an off putting way as the moist meat has bags of flavour too.
Waitrose & Partners vegan jackfruit tacos (£7 – buy in-store)
WINNER Vegan canapés We loved the open design of these mini tacos, it really showed off the filling yet they were easy to eat in one bite. An inventive use of on-trend jackfruit, that gave a great texture, complimented by the herby crumble topping and sweet smoky flavour.
Waitrose & Partners feta, spinach and pine nut spanakopita (£7 – buy in-store)
WINNER Vegetarian canapé The irregular sizes make these pretty green pinwheels look homemade. Full of savoury spinach, pine nuts and cheese these well seasoned pastries were loved by all our judges and received very high marks.
Waitrose & Partners Free From richly fruited Christmas pudding (£5 – buy now)
WINNER Gluten-free Christmas pudding A lovely, buttery and delicious homemade flavour. This nut free pudding didn’t seem like a gluten free product so would appeal to everyone in the family. A light texture, and plump juicy fruit this held together well. A good balance of mellow sweet and bitter tones.
Waitrose & Partners all butter mince pies 6’s (£2.50 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Mince pies If you love pastry, this attractive snowflake design has a lovely golden, buttery and crisp texture while the fruit filling is jammy and not too overwhelming. Tastes traditional.
Waitrose & Partners gluten-free star topped mince pies (£2.50 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Gluten-free mince pies These large pies look special and Christmassy with its lovely star lid. Good, light pastry that held its shape.
Waitrose Entertaining Fiona Cairns Chocolate Fruitcake (£30 – buy now)
HIGHLY COMMENDED Christmas cake This looks expensive and classy. If you don’t like traditional Christmas cake with icing this is a wonderful alternative. The chocolate works beautifully in the cake giving a lovely aroma and while blending well with the orange tones and dried fruit.
Christmas buyer’s guides
The BBC Good Food ultimate foodie gift guide
The best books for cooks 2018
The best foodie baubles 2018
Best Secret Santa gifts for foodies
Browse our interactive Christmas gift guide
The best Advent calendars 2018
This review was last updated in November 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.