Good Housekeeping has revealed its “tried and tested” guide of 2016 Christmas food - and you won’t have to spend a fortune to impress your guests.
This year the taste testers awarded the title of Britain’s best mince pie to budget brand Iceland.
At £1.50 for a pack of six, the pies beat 24 other brands including luxury offerings from Harrods and Selfridges thanks to their “juicy mincemeat with a rich flavour in a lovely crisp and buttery pastry case”.
Meanwhile Lidl’s Prosecco was hailed the best bargain buy, despite not taking first place in its category.
But it’s not all about the discount goodies, with Marks & Spencer appearing most frequently in the guide’s top five, showing in 10 of the 12 categories, closely followed by Asda and Lidl.
In the quest for the best, the taste test team ate and drank their way through 211 different festive foods from more than 30 stockists across 12 categories: Champagne, sparkling wine for under £10, smoked salmon, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, Christmas cake, mince pies, mulled wine and stilton.
In the sparkling wine under £10 category it was Morrisons’ Wm Morrison Prosecco Spumante that took the top spot at £8.25.But it’s the runner-up, Lidl’s Allini Prosecco Spumante, that’s the real steal at £5.29.
Taking the Christmas pudding crown this year is Marks & Spencer’s £12 The Collection Belgian Chocolate And Orange Star Christmas Pudding.
The judges said this “delicious twist on a traditional pud” just pipped Iceland’s Luxury 12-month Matured Christmas Pudding, £6, to the top spot.
Meanwhile Iceland also picked up the coveted award for best turkey with its Luxury British Whole Brined Turkey with Orange And Thyme Butter.
Commenting on the latest guide, Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor said: “Our expert team and panel of consumer testers blind test an incredibly wide range of Christmas products, so we can be very confident that these results shine a light on the food and drink that tastes the best.
“Everyone loves a bargain and so it’s good to see Iceland mince pies and Lidl Prosecco beating more expensive upmarket brands.”
The results of the Good Housekeeping Christmas Tried and Tested are:
Winner: Champagne Faubert Brut NV, £19.99, Ocado.com (82/100)
Joint runners up:
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve NV, £26.99, Waitrose (80/100)
Veuve Clicquot Brut NV, £39.99, Majestic (80/100)
The Society’s Champagne Brut NV, £28, The Wine Society (80/100)
Pol Roger Brut NV, £39.99, Waitrose (80/100)
Waitrose Brut NV, £18.99, Waitrose (80/100)
Sparkling Wine Under £10
Winner: Wm Morrison Prosecco Spumante, £8.25, Morrisons (81/100)
Runner up: Allini Prosecco Spumante, £5.29, Lidl (80/100)
Best of the rest: Abbazia Fiorino Prosecco DOC, £8.99, Ocado.com (79/100)
Winner: Tesco Finest Smoked Salmon Trio, £6 for 120g (78/100)
Joint runners up:
Asda Extra Special Rich & Intense Smoked Salmon, £4 for 120g (77/100)
Morrisons The Best Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon with a Gold Trim, £6 for 280g (77/100)
Winner: Iceland Luxury British Whole Brined Turkey with Orange & Thyme Butter, £4.95 per kg – 3.5-5.5kg (83/100)
Runner up: Asda Basted Large British Turkey, £17 for 5.3 - 7.2kg (82/100)
Best of the rest: Sainsbury’s Large Whole Basted British Turkey, £19 for 5.3 -6.9kg (81/100)
Winner: Iceland Luxury Outdoor Bred Pork, Honey and Rosemary Parcels, £3 for 300g (80/100)
Runner up: Tesco Finest British Mushroom and Pork Stuffing, £10 for 650g (78/100)
Best of the rest: Marks & Spencer Made With Love Baubles and Hearts Selection, £5 for 474g (76/100)
Winner: Asda Extra Special Cranberry Sauce with Ruby Port, £1.40 for 230g jar (76/100)
Runner up: Asda Cranberry Sauce, 55p for 200g jar (74/100)
Best of the rest: Lidl Deluxe With Love Cranberry Sauce with Port and Orange Zest, £1.49 for 300g (72/100)
Winner: Marks & Spencer The Collection Belgian Chocolate & Orange Star Christmas Pudding, £12 for 907g (77/100)
Runner up: Iceland Luxury 12-month Matured Christmas Pudding, £6 for 454g (76/100)
Best of the rest: Morrisons Jewelled Top Christmas Pudding, £4 for 454g (75/100)
Co-op Courvoisier Brandy Butter VS Cognac, £1.85 for 200g (76/100)
Marks & Spencer Classic Brandy Butter, £2 for 200g (76/100)
Winner: Iceland 6 Luxury Mince Pies, £1.50 for 6 (84/100)
Runner up: Spar Luxury Mince Pies, £2 for 6 (83/100)
Best of the rest: Bettys Classic Mince Pies, £10 for 12 (75/100)
Winner: Meg Rivers Fully Iced Christmas Cake, £25 for 1.2kg, Ocado.com (80/100)
Runner up: Harrods Christmas Cake with Courvoisier VSOP, £24.95 for 1.3kg (77/100)
Best of the rest: Tesco Finest Snowflake Cascade Cake, £15 for 1.5kg (75/100)
Winner: Marks & Spencer Wedge Blue Stilton, £4 for 454g (84/100)
Runner up: Waitrose 1 Colston Bassett Blue Stilton Cheese, £18.99 per kg (82/100)
Best of the rest: Morrisons The Best Mature Blue Stilton, £2 for 200g (76/100)
Winner: Marks & Spencer Red Mulled Wine £6.50 for 75cl (80/100)
Joint runners Up:
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Mulled Wine £6.00 for 75cl (79/100)
Tesco Mulled Wine £3.95 for 75cl (79/100)
Read the full Good Housekeeping Christmas Foods Tried and Tested results in the December issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale 27 October.