Boxing up Christmas – The Festive round up: Mince Pies

We’re wrapping things up for Christmas here at Boxed Off and to get into the real festive spirit we have sampled a selection of mince pies available on the high street to give you the essential info to aid your pie purchases this year.

This review is based on the opinion of the Boxed Off team only (Santa’s views may differ). The team tried festive favourites from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Iceland, Marks & Spencer and Co-op and formed their opinions to create a mark out of five, taking into consideration appearance, flavour, texture of the pastry and the filling alongside its retail price.

5th place: Co-op, scoring 2/5

Judging by their unattractiveness on opening the box, these were always going to receive a low score.  However, it was the taste which was the decision maker for last place. A thick paste-like texture was its biggest disappointment which made it more of a cake than a mince pie. One team member described it as having ‘a real synthetic taste’ whilst another said it had an ‘almost chewy texture to the filling’ – overall, not great.

Co-op Deep Filled Mince Pie are priced £1 for 6.

4th place: Tesco Finest, scoring 3/5

A surprising fourth place for Tesco ‘Finest’ with the team describing the mini treats as all pastry and not enough filling with one person stating ‘nice but couldn’t give it more than three because… where is the mincemeat?’. Although the pastry was much tastier than imagined and the Courvoisier addition a treat but just too lacking in terms of filling which is more of a syrupy blend within. The pastry definitely boosted the score of this bitesize treat, crumbly and perfect for those with a sweet tooth with the generous dash of icing sugar.

Tesco Finest All Butter Pastry Mini Mince Pies are priced £2 for 12.

3rd place: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, scoring 3.5/5

An average third place for Sainsbury’s which gave an initial heavy and bulky appearance, followed by a tasty and homely pastry which had a real shortbread flavour and firm texture swaying one members thoughts towards thinking it was a winner – however, this swiftly turned pear-shaped once the taste of the filling appeared. This was also criticised for being completely bland and lacking fruit flavour with a syrup like aftertaste – not a winner! Another thought the filling had the ‘right blend of sweetness and gooiness, similar to the Iceland pie’. Overall, would have scored higher if Iceland hadn’t set the bar so high!

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter Mince Pies are priced at £2 for 6.

2nd place: Marks and Spencer, scoring 4/5

Usually known as a high street favourite, the Marks and Spencer festive addition scored highly because of its perfect mincemeat to pastry ratio and delicate appearance, getting the balance just right. One member of the team said it is ‘not too rich despite the Vostizza currants which apparently are grown and produced only on the hills and mountains, surrounding Aeghion in Greece’. However, other team members were not impressed with the pastry, saying M&S is ‘not up to their usual standard’ and ‘the pastry seemed dry with a lingering spicy vinegar-like aftertaste from the filling’. Letting the score down is the pastry not being up there with the best of this year’s offerings, filling was nice enough, but not memorable apart from a lingering spicy aftertaste. Overall, okay.

Marks and Spencer All Butter Mince Pies are alcohol free and priced at £1.80 for 6.

1st Place – The Winner – Iceland Luxury, scoring 4.5/5

Taking the highly anticipated title of Mince Pie of the year by Boxed Off is Iceland with its Luxury Mince Pies. The retail underdog achieved its high score for being ‘fruity and fabulous’ and having the perfect balance of pastry, mincemeat and hint of brandy – what more could you ask for! The tastiest filling out of the selection, one member said ‘much more flavour in terms of brandy and fruit and a much crunchier texture compared to the others’. Whilst another person said, ‘pastry was much more flavoursome with a more golden homemade look and orangey, cinnamon sweetness– more appealing to the eyes, looks a lot more festive – a definite winner for me!’. Overall, this works fantastically well with a cuppa, we are all pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was, almost home-made.

Iceland Luxury Mince Pies are priced at £1.89 for 6.


Merry Christmas from Boxed Off!