The lights are up, the weather is (just about) getting there and your out of office assistant is busier than its been all year. Theres just one thing left to decide and it may just be the most important what mince pie will you select to join your exquisite Christmas lunch? Have you forgotten this most vital of considerations? Fear not: for the past couple of weeks, the good folk at CapeClarke have been stuffing their faces with a variety of celebratory treats so that you don’t have to. Below is our verdict:
We start with a staple in the Great British Christmas lunch, beginning our culinary voyage with the humble Sainsbury’s mince pie. Whilst the pastry is quite firm and delightful, the mincemeat leaves much to be desired. A slightly disappointing showing from Sainsbury’s this year.
M&S Red Label
Starting at the ‘basic’ range of M&S, your brave gastronauts sampled what could only be described as a ‘functional’ pie. The pastry, whilst competent, is a little too overbearing for our palet. The mincemeat which is fragrant and well balanced redeems M&S on this occasion.
‘Excited’ would be an understatement in describing Chris Clarke’s demeanour when presented with these pearls of Northern gastronomical prowess. And, understandably so Betty’s pies are every bit as good as you would imagine them to be. An absolute, uncontested winner of this year’s challenge.
Waitrose are famed for their food and, given our dedication to discerning 2015’s best mince pie, it was inevitable that one of us would waddle back with their finest. And we weren’t left short of smug grins and full bellies – an absolutely fantastic pie with a perfect balance of pastry and mincemeat. Second only to Betty’s.
Oh, Ken. When your grandfather William built his grocery empire back in 1899, surely he would have expected a tasty Christmas treat to do his name justice? Well, Ken, I’m afraid that you may have let the side down here. A pie in name only, we found this poorly arranged jumble of pastry and mincemeat to be distinctly sub-par (our opinion only!).
M&S Connoisseur Range
It would be a true affront to pie-lovers the world over if we didn’t give M&S’s Connoisseur range the attention it deserves. A strong step up from their Red Label, these pies have a finer pastry and the added fortitude of brandy and port. A strong step up but not a patch on Betty’s, the CapeClarke Annual Mince Pie Winner.