In its 24th year, the Good Housekeeping Christmas Taste Test requires a panel of expert and consumer testers to blindly taste and rank products from over 129 brands and retailers in order to find the best quality food and drink for shoppers this festive season.
Each product is scored out of 100, and assessed for its appearance, aroma, flavour, and texture. With the cost of living crisis affecting homes and families across the UK, affordability was also high on the agenda this year, with the panel looking out for great-tasting, budget-friendly options.
New categories this year include dessert wine, sherry, sweet stollen, and Christmas crisps.
Waitrose has been crowned the overall winner of the 2023 Christmas Taste Test, winning a whopping six categories – Whole Turkey, Flavoured Salmon, Roast Potatoes, Prosecco, Meat Centrepieces and Christmas cake.
It was a good year for the green and white supermarkets as ASDA finished in second place, winning the categories for Starters, Dessert, Christmas Pudding, Champagne, and Festive Liqueurs.
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The main event
The focal point of a Christmas dinner, the testers for Good Housekeeping tried a mix of fresh and frozen whole birds and turkey crowns. Waitrose’s Medium Free-Range Bronze Feathered Whole Turkey with Giblets scored impressively (87/100), sharing joint first place with Tesco’s Faff-free Two Bird Ballotine (87/100).
But if you fancy mixing things up a bit, the panel also tested the best alternative Christmas meats – with Waitrose and Tesco once again finishing in joint first place, this time for their respective pork entries (84/100).
Tesco took home first place for its vegetarian offering – Finest Roasted Butternut Spinach & Sage Galette (82/100). While Aldi had the best vegan option, the Specially Selected Vegan Festive Wreath (80/100).
The best place to grab your sides is Sainsbury’s, as their Premium Pigs in Blankets scored incredibly well (86/100). Waitrose’s Herby Roasties were loved by the panel for their rich garlic and sage flavour and irresistible crisp texture.
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Canapes and starters
For those with hosting duties this Christmas, canapes can be a lifesaver. The Panel sampled 44 meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan canapes. Lidl’s Deluxe Chip Rosti Baskets with Mushy Peas and Battered Fish get a special mention (91/100), as do Marks & Spencer’s Rosti Pulled Beef Tower (89/100), and another offering from Lidl – their Deluxe Mini Soufflette Selection (83/100).
The best Christmas starter was deemed to be ASDA’s Scallop & Prawn Vol au Vents with Spiced Rum & Brown Butter sauce – excelling in the category (93/100).
An incredibly important category, the festive season isn’t in full swing until you take your first bite in a warm mince pie. The panel sampled 44 classic, flavoured and gluten-free varieties in this popular category. The award for best mince pie goes to Iceland for their Luxury All Butter Mince Pies (85/100), meanwhile Cartwright & Butler Cranberry & Orange Mini Mince Pies were the top-rated alternative (85/100). Costa is the place to be if you live a gluten-free diet, with their Coeliac-friendly mince pies taking the top spot (88/100).
ASDA’s Extra Special six-Month Matured Jewelled Topped Christmas Pudding wins the prize for best Christmas Pudding (86/100), and Meg Rivers’ Gin Christmas Pudding appealed to the panel as a delicious alternative (84/100).
The No.1 Rich Fruit Cake was another victory for Waitrose (86/100), while its fruity festive bread also took home first prize in the brand-new stollen category (77/100). A more decadent offering, ASDA took the top spot in the Christmas dessert categories for its Extra Special Chocolate % Honeycomb Avalanche Dessert (87/100). Amazon was commended for its budget-friendly, own-brand yule log, while Ocado’s Marie Panettone Capolavoro Noir was ruled the best panettone with a seriously impressive score (94/100).
ASDA’s extra special Louis Bernard Champagne Vintage Brut was the pick of the champagnes (81/100), while Waitrose had the best prosecco offering with their Blueprint Prosecco DOC (80/100). Morrisons retained their crown as having the best mulled wine, and Ocado is the go-to for their Stellar Organics Heaven on Earth dessert wine.
The full results are as follows:
- Winner: Fortnum & Mason Fortnum’s Farmed Scottish Smoked Salmon, £14 for 200g, 85/100
- Runner-up: M&S Collection Scottish Smoky & Robust Smoked Salmon, £5.75 for 100g, 83/100
- Best budget smoked salmon: Lidl Deluxe Strong & Robust Smoked Scottish Salmon, £3.49 for 100g, in-store only 77/100
- Best flavoured smoked salmon: Waitrose & Partners Old Fashioned Smoked Salmon, £6.65 for 100g, 81/100
- Best budget flavoured smoked salmon: Aldi Specially Selected Beetroot & Orange Flavoured Smoked Salmon, £3.49 for 100g, 76/100
- Winner: Asda Scallop & Prawn Vol au Vents with Spiced Rum & Brown Butter Sauce, £7.50 for 234g, 93/100
- Runner-up: M&S Shallot Tarte Tatin, £6 for 280g, 91/100
- Best budget: Field & Flower Turkey Biryani Scotch Egg, £3.98 for 160g, fieldandflower.co.uk, 80/100
- Winner: Waitrose & Partners Medium Free Range Bronze Feathered Whole Turkey with Giblets, £60-£90 for 4-6kg, 87/100
- Runner-up: Abel & Cole Organic KellyBronze Large Turkey, £125 for 6-7kg, 83/100
- Best budget whole turkey: Co-op Medium Whole Turkey, £35 for 4.75kg, 76/100
Turkey crowns and turkey with a twist
- Winner: Tesco Finest Slow Cooked Two Bird Ballotine, £39 for 1.43kg, 87/100
- Runner-up: M&S Slow Cooked Turkey with all the Trimmings, £45 for 2.93kg, 83/100
- Best budget crown: Aldi Specially Selected British Roly Poly Turkey Crown, £15 for 1.9-2.3kg, 71/100
- Winner: Waitrose & Partners Roasted Potatoes, £4.50 for 800g, 80/100
- Runner-up: Morrisons The Best Goose Fat Roast Potatoes, £2.99 for 800g, 79/100
- Best budget: By Amazon Roast Potatoes, £1.97 for 400g, 70/100
Pigs in blankets
- Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Proper Pigs in Blankets, £4.25 for 294g, 86/100
- Runner-up: ASDA Extra Special Pigs in Blankets, £3.25 for 210g, 82/100
- Best flavoured pigs in blankets: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Truffle Pigs in Blankets, £4 for 210g, 85/100
- Best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Pigs in Blankets, £2.29 for 210g, 80/100
- Winner: Tesco Finest Roasted Butternut, Spinach & Sage Galette, £7 for 500g, 82/100
- Runner-up: M&S Butternut Squash and Brie En Croute, £12 for 400g, 81/100
- Best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Vegan Festive Wreath, £4.99 for 480g, 80/100
Christmas meat centrepieces
- Joint winner: Waitrose & Partners Old Fashioned Glazed Ham, £40 for 2kg, 84/100
- Joint winner: Tesco Finest Crackling Porchetta Pork Joint, from £15 for 1.5-1.8kg, 84/100
- Runner-up: Aldi Wagyu Exquisite Wing Rib, £49.98 for 2kg, 82/100
- Best budget: Iceland Slow Cooked Shin of Beef in Dripping Gravy, £10 for 1kg, 78/100
- Winner & best budget: Our Selection by Amazon Chocolate Yule Log, £5 for 457g, 78/100
- Runner-up: Co-op Irresistible Chocolate Yule Log, £5 for 457g, 77/100
- Winner: Asda Extra Special 6-month Matured Jewelled Topped Christmas Pudding, £12 for 450g, 86/100
- Runner-up: Waitrose & Partners No.1 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding, £12.50 for 800g, 83/100
- Best budget: Co-op Irresistible Christmas pudding, £5 for 400g, 76/100
Best Christmas pudding with a twist
- Winner: Meg Rivers Gin Christmas Pudding, £18 for 800g, megrivers.co.uk, 84/100
- Runner-up: Harvey Nichols Chocolate Christmas Pudding, £10.95 for 454g, 83/100
- Best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Maple Fudge Pudding, £4.99 for 400g, 76/100
- Winner: Waitrose & Partners Our Ultimate Stollen, £10 for 600g, 77/100
- Joint runner-up: Asda Extra Special Spiced Rum and Brown Butter Flavoured Stollen Wreath, £8 for 600g, 76/100
- Joint runner-up and best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Luxury Stollen Loaf, £5.49 for 600g, 76/100
- Winner: Waitrose & Partners No.1 Rich Fruit Cake, £18.50 for 1.5kg, 86/100
- Runner-up & best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Rich Iced Fruit Cake, £8.99 for 907g, 85/100
- Winner: Iceland Luxury 6 All Butter Mince Pies, £2.50 for 6, 85/100
- Runner-up: Asda Extra Special Luxury Mince Pies, £2.50 for 6, 82/100
- Best flavoured mince pies: Cartwright & Butler Cranberry & Orange Mini Mince Pies in Tin, £10 for 6, cartwrightandbutler.co.uk, 85/100
- Best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Mince Pies, £1.99 for 6, 80/100
- Winner: Tre Marie Panettone Capolavoro Noir, £24 for 830g (Ocado), 94/100
- Runner-up & best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Chocolate Panettone, £3.49 for 750g, 88/100
- Winner: Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Champagne Vintage Brut, £28, 81/100
- Runner-up: Waitrose & Partners Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, £26.99, 80/100
- Best budget: Lidl Montaudon Champagne Brut, £13.99, 78/100
- Winner: Waitrose & Partners Blueprint Prosecco DOC, £7.99, 80/100
- Runner-up and best budget: Lidl Prosecco Spumante Valdobbiadene Superiore, £7.49, in-store only, 79/100
- Winner: Morrisons The Best Pedro Ximénez, £7 for 37.5cl, 90/100
- Runner-up: Solera 1847 Cream Sherry, £17.50 for 75cl (Ocado), 85/100
- Best budget: Aldi Specially Selected Pedro Ximénez Sherry, £5.49 for 37.5cl, 78/100
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