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OFM’s Christmas taste test 2015


Turner & George Copas Bronze Turkey
£15 per kg,
Not too dry. Smells lovely. Not a punchy turkey, but a good flavour.

Asda Extra Special Corn-Fed Bronze Turkey
See in-store for price,
The texture of the breast meat is fantastic, but the leg is a bit tasteless.

Rumburgh Farm Dry Hung Bronze Turkey
4kg-5.99kg, £44.99 each,
Moist, I can see the juices. As a whole it’s not bad. On first slice, it had potential but…

Waitrose Dry Hung Bronze Turkey
£12.99 per kg,
Tastes more like chicken! It eats well, but doesn’t have the flavour I’m looking for. ★★★

Nut roasts

<strong>Asda Spiced Pumpkin &amp; Nut Loaf with Maple Shallot Gravy</strong>

Marks & Spencer Roasted Butternut, Almond & Pecan Nut Roast
600g, £7,
Christmassy flavours. Lovely textures. That’s a killer.

Artisan Grains Country Veg Nut Roast
200g, £2.50,
Could do with sauce. Almost tastes like stuffing. Not bad – some flavour.

Asda Spiced Pumpkin & Nut Loaf with Maple Shallot Gravy
400g, £2.50,
Looks like cooked concrete. Very dry. The sauce is sour.

Iceland Luxury Parsnip & Chestnut Roast with Mulled Wine Sauce
400g, £1.99,
Not impressed. I’m not getting any nuts, just root veg.


Waitrose Sage &amp; Onion Stuffing

Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing
190g, £1.20, The texture’s about right – not too wet, not too firm. Could do with more seasoning.

Marks & Spencer Sage & Onion Stuffing
680g, £6,
Quite garlicky, slightly over-seasoned. It could be a little wetter.

Waitrose Sage & Onion Stuffing
225g, £2.69,
Very, very dry. Really salty. The flavour isn’t bad, but it doesn’t have any punch.

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Asda Chosen by You Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix
170g, 40p,
It smells awful. I can taste sage and it’s moist, but pretty horrible.
No stars


Tesco Finest Turkey Gravy

Truefoods Turkey Gravy
250g, £2.99,
Slightly bitter. It pours well. I’m getting a meaty, roasted flavour.

Deluxe British Turkey Gravy with Thyme, Sage & Madeira Wine
500g, £1.49,
It has a true turkey-gravy taste, but pale in colour.

Tesco Finest Turkey Gravy
350ml, £1.50,
Almost tastes burnt. Very thick. You’ve got meat, but too much flour.

Heston from Waitrose Turkey, Sage & Onion Gravy
200g, £2.69,
No, no, no… Why would you have onions? I’d never have that in my gravy. Incredibly sweet.
No stars

Bread sauce

Tesco Finest Bread Sauce

TrueFoods Bread Sauce
250g, £2.49,
I can taste the bay leaf, which is nice. The bread flavour is coming through.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Buttered Bread Sauce
300g, £2,
Very creamy. High level of salt. I can’t really taste the bread… it’s a bit more floury. ★★★

Tesco Finest Bread Sauce
300g, see in-store for price,
A deep bread flavour. The texture is OK. Very salty.

Aldi Specially Selected Bread Sauce
300g, £1.49,
The texture isn’t great – it’s coarse. I can’t taste any aromats; an oniony aftertaste.

Redcurrant jelly

Tesco Redcurrant Jelly 340g, 85p,
Not too solid or too sweet. I could eat that with my turkey, easy.

Tiptree Red Currant Jelly
340g, £2.19,
Set well – it has a good wobble. I can actually taste the currant in there.

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The Bay Tree Redcurrant Jelly
227g, £2.99,
Looks more like blackcurrant. Quite acidic. More solid than a normal jelly.

Marks & Spencer Redcurrant Jelly
215g, 95p,
Far too much sugar – you wouldn’t know it was redcurrant.


Rated by Patricia Nicholson of La Fromagerie


Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference English Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Godminster Vintage Organic Cheddar
200g, £4.99,
The perfect stocking filler. Good cheddar taste. Nice tang at the end.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference English Vintage Reserve Cheddar
250g, £2.75,
Salty and sharp, lacks chewiness. A little bite to it.

Waitrose Cornish Cheddar Vintage, Strength 7
350g, £4,
A pleasant simple cheddar. Quite sharp. Nice with chutney.

Tesco Finest Vintage English Cheddar
250g, £3,
It’s got sharpness and acidity, but it doesn’t taste like cheddar. Quite unpleasant. ★★


Asda Extra Special Camembert de Pays.

Asda Extra Special Camembert de Pays
250g, £1.94,
Nice and soft at the edges, but its heart is just holding together. Classic flavours. ★★★

Reflets de France Camembert de Normandie
250g, £4.20,
I like the rind – it’s staying nice and close. A very flat flavour. Verging on being OK. ★★★

Harrods Xavier David Camembert
250g, £7.25,
Very soft throughout. Smells of cow’s bottom. Some may like it, but I find it a bit too much.

Tesco Finest Camembert
250g, £2.25,
Peculiar… It smells like bacon. Too creamy, too melty, it just tastes of rich butteriness.

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<strong>Waitrose </strong><strong>Colston Bassett Blue Stilton, Strength 5</strong>

Asda Extra Special Tuxford & Tebbutt Blue Stilton
200g, £1.80,
Lovely yellowness. That’s a classic. The blue goes all the way to the edge. The best by far.
BEST BUY ★★★★★

Paxton & Whitfield Cropwell Bishop Stilton
£24 per kg,
Nutty, very salty. I can see this satisfying the blokes. A bit too overpowering.

Morrisons M Signature Mature Blue Stilton
200g, £2,
There’s a bitterness to the flavour. Very mediocre, but it’s not bad…

Waitrose Colston Bassett Blue Stilton, Strength 5
£18.99 per kg,
Aggressive in flavour. A sad case.
No stars

Goats’ cheese

Neal’s Yard Creamery Ragstone Log

Neal’s Yard Creamery Ragstone Log
200g, £6.95,
A classic. The rind adheres to the cheese. Eat the rind for more taste. Let down a bit by the end.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference French Goats’ Cheese
120g, £2,
A very nasty peel-away rind. At least it’s got some goaty taste. Not bad… a bit lardy.

Marks & Spencer Kidderton Ash Goats’ Cheese
130g, £3.90,
It doesn’t have any of that goaty gaminess. Quite dense. Middle of the road.

Petit Chebra French Goats’ Cheese
180g, £1.49,
Inside it’s still quite wet . There’s a bitterness which isn’t helped by the rind.
No stars


Selfridges Selection Artisan Boxing Day Chutney

Selfridges Selection Artisan Boxing Day Chutney
220g, £6.99,
Quite elegant. A Christmassy feel, but not overpowering with spices.

Tracklements Christmas Spice Chutney Le Parfait
300g, £5.45,
Very mustardy. It could be nice with cold cuts.

Fortnum & Mason Christmas Cranberry & Apricot Chutney
325g, £5.95,
Overpowering. It tastes like there’s too much spice in it.

Marks & Spencer Winter Warming Chutney
300g, £2.50,
Tastes like they’ve put a herb in it that doesn’t work at all. Not to my taste.

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Biscuits for cheese

Selfridges Selection Savoury Biscuit Collection

Fortnum & Mason Biscuits for Cheese Selection Box
300g, £4.95,
Traditional. Hints of sweet or salt. They go with everything. ★★★★

Marks & Spencer Biscuits for Cheese Tin
450g, £9,
Quite cheesy already. The roasted onion might go with a cheddar. Delicate flavours.

Co-operative Truly Irresistible Biscuits for Cheese
300g, £3,
I don’t see the point of having a rosemary biscuit with cheese. A biscuit shouldn’t overpower.

Selfridges Selection Savoury Biscuit Collection
520g, £15.99,
Some of these are too salty. They look pretty, but aren’t giving me anything.


Rated by Sweetheart Laboratory’s Hideko Kawa


Marks &amp; Spencer Belgian Cocoa Dusted Truffles

Marks & Spencer Belgian Cocoa Dusted Truffles
152g, £6,
Really chocolatey – nutty and fruity. The ganache is firm, but smooth. High cocoa content.

Waitrose Seriously Milk Chocolate Truffles
200g, £5.99,
Some alcohol taste. Very, very thin chocolate shell. The cocoa powder is a nice contrast.

Tesco Finest Swiss Milk Chocolate Truffles
180g, £3.50,
Milky, caramelly taste, not too sweet. Really soft ganache inside.

Thorntons Irresistible Belgian Chocolate Truffles
220g, £6,
Sweetness dominates. Shame – it’s not bad chocolate.

Luxury salted caramels

Fortnum &amp; Mason Sea Salted Caramel Truffle Drum.

Artisan du Chocolat Sea Salted Caramels
140g, £15.25,
The strong bitter chocolate cuts through the sweet caramel. Well balanced.

Paul A Young Salted Caramels
£15.50 for 9 pieces,
Amazingly thin shells. Full of caramel … it’s a bit grainy. Some air bubbles in the chocolate.

Selfridges Selection British Artisan Salted Caramel Chocolate Collection
76g, £14.99,
Chocolate has a nice bitterness. Not salty enough.

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Fortnum & Mason Sea Salted Caramel Truffle Drum
250g, £25,
It’s really runny. Very thick shells, very sweet chocolate.

Clotted cream fudge

<strong>Tesco Finest Cornish Clotted Cream Fudge.</strong>

Hope & Greenwood Clotted Cream Fudge
150g, £3.49,
Caramelised milk taste. A little crystallisation, sandy sugar texture.

Highgrove Clotted Cream Fudge 100g, £2.95,
Smooth texture. Tastes of sugar more than clotted cream … overly sweet.

Crabtree & Evelyn Handmade Clotted Cream Fudge
150g, £5,
There’s a fudginess from the cream. Looks crumbly, but it’s not too dry.

Tesco Finest Cornish Clotted Cream Fudge
150g, £1.99,
I thought this would be less sweet as it’s darker caramel, but it’s very sweet – overpowering.

Rose and lemon Turkish delight

Marks &amp; Spencer Rose &amp; Lemon Turkish delight.

Favorina Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight
300g, £1.59,
The lemon has a lot of flavour. The rose, a rose-tea taste. Texture-wise, it’s the best.

Waitrose Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight
400g, £5.35,
The rose tastes very strong and a bit like honey. The lemon is nothing special.

Marks & Spencer Rose & Lemon Turkish delight
350g, £2.70,
Neat. This sticky texture is nice – chewy. Both flavours have quite a flat taste. It’s OK.

Harrods Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight
325g, £7.50,
Really dry on the outside. The lemon tastes strange. The texture is unusual – stretchy.

Selection boxes under £10

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Belgian Chocolate Assortment.

Co-Operative Truly Irresistible Chocolate Selection
170g, £5,
They look like Christmas tree ornaments. All milk. Soft; thick shells. Not such good chocolate.

Aldi Swiss Chocolate Selection
300g, £4.99,
So many! Such value! Very pretty. Inventive shapes. The dark rose is the best.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Belgian Chocolate Assortment
400g, £10,
Not fantastic. Some strange flavourings but incredible value.

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Waitrose Christmas Signature Spice Chocolate Collection
110g, £7,
Some are good, others – oh so sweet! Not evenly made.

Selection boxes over £10

Chococo Large Selection Box

Rococo Round Box No. 1 200g,
A lot of work in the different components and finishing. Clean and very elegant.
BEST BUY ★★★★★

Selfridges Selection Edited Chocolate Collection
£24.99 for 27 pieces,
Very pretty. This feels handmade. A lot of detail and variety flavour-wise.

Chococo Large Selection Box
£18.95 for 25 pieces,
Quality of chocolate is OK, but not well tempered. Wacky flavours. A surprise …

Prestat Red Christmas Chocolate Box
325g, £26,
Shells are too thick. The actual chocolate work isn’t great.

Cakes and puddings

Tested by Bread Ahead’s Justin Gellatly

Selfridges Selection Speciality Mince Pies.

Mince pies

Selfridges Selection Speciality Mince Pies
£7.99 for 4,
Good bake, homemade looking. Lovely biscuity pastry. Packed with fruit.

Asda Extra Special Luxury Mince Pies
£1.89 for 6,
Smells buttery. There’s a roundness of flavour, a little spice. A good bit of fruit in that.

Tesco Finest Mince Pies
£2 for 6,
The pastry is bland. The incemeat has a heavy flavour of mixed peel. Extremely sweet.

Harvey Nichols Large Mince Pies
£5.95 for 4,
Very thick pastry. The pastry is biscuity (not a bad thing), but the filling is awful – a disgrace.
No stars


Asda Extra SpecialItalian Classic Panettone.

Tesco Finest Panettone
750g, £8,
Nice singe. A good weight to it. It’s moist and there’s a gentle hint of spice. Delicious!
BEST BUY ★★★★★

Flamigni Panettone Artigianale Milano Basso
1kg, £22,
Lots of chunks of peel. Lovely and buttery.

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Asda Extra SpecialItalian Classic Panettone
750g, £4,
Mean on the fruit and there’s a lack of spice. Very bland, but still moist.

Carluccio’s Panettone Tradizionale
1kg, £16.95,
A sort of amaretti topping. Why? Lots of fruit; lacks character.
No stars

Christmas cakes

Iceland Luxury Christmas Cake.

Waitrose Christmas Signature Spice Rich Fruit Cake
1.3kg, £15,
Looks great; love it. Lots of fruit, moist, gentle spicing.

Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Christmas Cake
1.5kg, £9.99,
Glamorous. BIG aroma of booze – overpowers a bit. Moist and crumbly.

Iceland Luxury Christmas Cake
1kg, £6.49,
Simple, pretty. Underwhelming in flavour. Mean on icing; a little dry.

Harrods Christmas Cake Infused With Courvoisier VSOP Cognac
1.3kg, £24.95,
I’m not getting any booze, just bitterness. Good icing.


Marks &amp; Spencer Raspberry Sherry Trifle.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Amontillado Sherry Trifle
900g, £8,
Nice toasted nuts. The sponge is well soaked with sherry and the custard is thick.

Waitrose Seriously Raspberry and Sherry Trifle
1.1kg, £9.99,
Rich delicious cream on top. Pleasant flavour of raspberries. Lacking nuts and booze.

Marks & Spencer Raspberry Sherry Trifle
1.1kg, £10,
A little aroma of sherry. Quite bland. The fruit is more like jam than compote.

Asda Extra Special Sherry Trifle
850g, £3.50,
Untoasted nuts. Good layers but anaemic custard. Can’t taste sherry; watery sponge.
No stars

Chocolate yule logs

Aldi Specially Selected Chocolate Praline Yule Log

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chocolate Bûche de Noël
800g, £10,
Glossy, Christmassy. I like the biscuit bottom. A mousse rather than a log.

Marks & Spencer Collection Tree Trunk Yule Log
880g, £20,
I love the look of this. Very sweet. Good ratio of sponge, but disappointing flavour.

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Aldi Specially Selected Chocolate Praline Yule Log
944g, £5.99,
Like a traditional Swiss roll. All a bit overly sweet. No punch of nice chocolate.
No stars

Tesco Finest Chocolate Yule Log
Serves 8, £3,
That sponge is like eating carpet. Very bland, no real chocolate taste.
No stars

Christmas puddings

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 18 Month Matured Pudding.

Iceland Luxury 9 Months Matured Christmas Pudding
454g, £2.99,
Good booze flavour. Dark, rich, moist, full of plump fruit.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 18 Month Matured Pudding
450g, £6,
Lovely aroma, but chunks of nuts overpower. A bit sweet, sickly.

Daylesford Organic Christmas Pudding
900g, £20,
I like the traditional shape. Smells gorgeous – orangey. Way too much cinnamon.

Co-Operative Truly Irresistible Christmas Pudding
454g, £3,
Quite dull and unappealing. It’s very sweet, while lacking in spice and zest.


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