They say you get what you pay for and most of the time this is right, but in an annual taste test, conducted today by Good Housekeeping, posh retailers Fortnum & Mason held their heads in shame as they were trumped by budget store Aldi in a Christmas pudding taste test. The exclusive department store Fortnum & Mason put forward a version that cost a whopping £24.95, and pitted it against Aldi’s orange topped £7.99 offering.
Discerning judges however decided that Aldi’s version was good enough to claim the runners up crown and described it as ”delicious” and ”a real bargain”, while Fortnum & Mason’s £24.95 version was ”a real disappointment” and they placed it 29th place out of 32 tested. The overall winner was Waitrose with a cherry and almond-topped pudding that came with seasonal edible glitter.
But this was not the only embarrassment for the posh shop, as they also scored a derisory last in the cranberry sauce test, with their jar that retails at a tongue tingling £10.95 per jar, a category won by a £1.49 version by Tesco. Good Housekeeping conducts their annual tests on traditional Christmas food and drink from more than 20 retailers this year.
The lucky testers scoff and quaff their way through samples of champagne, smoked salmon, turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas cake and Stilton.
Their general consensus was that shoppers ”should head to the supermarkets” for the best Christmas cakes, recommending supermarket own brands.
However, when it came to the mince pie category, specialists such as Bettys, Bertinet, Rose Prince, Harrods and Gail’s dominated, with Morrisons being the only shortlisted supermarket. In the champagne category Waitrose won with its Brut Special Reserve Vintage 2004, with Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Premier Cru Vintage 2005 and Tesco’s Premier Cru NV both judged runners-up. Aldi was also judged a runner-up in the smoked salmon category, won by Scottish producer Uig Lodge.
And if you are after a reasonably priced turkey then head for The Co-operative, as they won the title of best turkey supplier with its British Elmwood frozen turkey, with Morrisons named runner-up with its frozen M Bronze free range British turkey.
Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor said: “Shopping for Christmas dinner – one of the most eagerly anticipated meals of the year – can be very stressful. Deciding what to choose when faced with products you may only buy once a year can be hit and miss.
That’s why we’ve done all the hard work for you and tracked down the best options across 11 categories. Our annual Good Housekeeping Tried and Tested special on festive foods proves you don’t need to bust the budget buying expensive names to treat everyone to something special. In most categories, the overall winner is from a high street supermarket. If you’re going to splash out, save your money for the smoked salmon and mince pies.”