Christmas taste test: the best party food and booze – The Guardian

Restaurant News



Champagnes

Waitrose Blanc de Noirs NV Champagne, 75cl, £23.99, waitrose.com
Loads of bubbles. The smell has a balance between the fruity and the biscuity – reminiscent of an older champagne. Fresh, fragrant – I can drink another glass.
★★★★

Co-op Les Pionniers Non-Vintage Brut Champagne, 75cl, £18.99, coop.co.uk
Pear and creme patissiere coming through on the nose – pleasant. It’s taking me back to my grandma’s – she used to make this dessert. I’ve got her face in front of my brain now. Very fresh, very green. Fragrant, young and fruity.
★★★★

Tesco Finest NV Premier Cru Champagne, 75cl, £20, tesco.com
Feels slightly older… It’s reminiscent of a vintage champagne, more biscuit and oak on the nose. Has some depth. Not my favourite style but well made.
★★★

Morrisons The Best Premier Cru NV Champagne, 75cl, £21, morrissons.com
Actually, a very light nose. Very appley, very sharp. Too sharp. I don’t really like this. Urrgh… Sharp!
★★

Smoked salmon



Smoked salmon

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Hebridean Smoked Salmon, 100g, £4.35, sainsburys.com
Meaty, cut pretty thick. I quite like it. Medium smokiness. It’s fairly rich. The best we have tried.
★★★★

Aldi Specially Selected Smoked Scottish Salmon, 100g, £2.99, aldi.co.uk
Strong smoky flavours, quite strong actually. I think I would like to eat this on Christmas Day, I like the level of smokiness.
★★★★

Selfridges Selection Smoked Salmon, 100g, £6.99, selfridges.com
This one looks good. Light and delicate flavour. It probably has the lightest smoky taste of them all. Very, very light smoke.
★★★

Iceland Luxury Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon, 100g, £3.50, iceland.co.uk
Fishy, smoky… I like this one. This fillet looks like it’s breaking up a bit.
★★★

Pork pies



pork pies

Taste the Difference Pork, Bacon and Turkey Pie with Gold Leaf, 840g, £12, sainsburys.com
Looks nice. I like the cranberry jelly and the pork, proper pieces of meat. I like the freshness of the pastry, too.
★★★★★

Marks & Spencer Collection Large Cranberry Topped Pork Pie, 1280g, £5, marksandspencer.com
The cranberry and pork work well. Feels like quite a fatty filling – not a bad thing. I’d buy this for Christmas.
★★★★

Adams and Harlow Cranberry Topped Pork Pie, 1360g, £19.99, ocado.com
Very meaty filling, very tasty. Feels like a good quality pie. I’m not fond of the fresh cranberries on top.
★★★★

Waitrose Pork, Duck & Orange Pie, 440g, £7, waitrose.com
The orange flavour doesn’t come through so well, it’s very subtle. There’s a lot of pastry on top – it’s actually thick all around, too.
★★★★

Mushroom patés



Mushroom patés

Daylesford Mushroom & Truffle Paté, 200g, £7.99, daylesford.com
Pieces of mushroom in this, it actually tastes of mushrooms. It feels luxurious and more artisanal. I’d happily eat this.
★★★★

Fortnum & Mason Mushroom Paté with Mixed Beans and Paprika, 110g, £8.95, fortnumandmason.com
This tastes all right. It has a nice mushroom flavour. I would eat it if this was around at Christmas.
★★★

Waitrose Mushroom & Chestnut Paté with Red Onion & Balsamic Chutney, 140g, £2.50, waitrose.com
It doesn’t taste of anything. It’s vile. I spit it out. The huge thing at the top… it doesn’t do it for me.
No stars

Granovita Mushroom Paté With Herbs & Spices, 2 x 125g, from £6.50, amazon.co.uk
Inedible. It’s like a paste; feels like cat food … Sorry.
No stars

Negronis



Negronis

The Handmade Cocktail Co The Negroni Cocktail, 50cl, £25.95, masterofmalt.com
Strong! It’s got flavour and spices. It has a very particular smell, they might be using a different kind of vermouth?
★★★★

Harvey Nichols Negroni, 70cl, £35, harveynichols.com
A bit light in colour, but has all of the characteristics of a negroni; the combination of three spirits coming together well. It has depth.
★★★★

Psychopomp Negroni, 70cl, £28.95, masterofmalt.com
I do really like the smell of this one and it is also quite aromatic in taste.
★★★

Tails Cocktails Negroni, 1l, £23, ocado.com
Feels very weak, both in flavour and alcohol. Not my cup of tea. Too orange, the colour is not for me, it’s not negroni colour.
★★

Sloe gins



Sloe gins

Marks & Spencer Sloe Gin, 50cl, £10, marksandspencer.com
Distinctive cherry flavours. Pleasant. It’s like one of those liqueurs I used to drink at my parents’ house. My favourite.
★★★★

Ableforth’s Bathtub Sloe Gin, 50cl, £25.95, masterofmalt.com
A deep colour. Balanced on the nose: red fruit and spices. The flavours on the nose are there in the mouth. Big and bold.
★★★

Berry Bros & Rudd Sloe Gin, 70cl, £26.50, bbr.com
Lacks depth in the colour, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. It has a syrupy smell, but actually quite a subtle flavour.
★★

Sloemotion Sloe Gin, 70cl, £28.95, sloemotion.com
Light red. A little overpowering… a bit too sweet for me. The nose is not great.
★★

Source: Thanks https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/dec/08/ofm-christmas-taste-test-party-food-drink-fred-sirieix