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UPDATED Taste Test: Christmas Puddings
IT has fruit, it has nuts, it has booze – it is not that much of a surprise that not everyone likes Christmas pudding, but it is no less of a travesty.
Here at News Shopper, we don’t want you to serve up a lacklustre pudding and everywhere sells one, so we boldly took it upon ourselves to set up a tasting panel to put them through their paces.
The Ultimate Plum Pudding, 454g £6
Go to bromleymencap.org.uk or call 0208 466 0790
What they say: A very special, light and delicious Christmas pudding full of luxury fruits and nuts soaked in plenty of brandy and dry sherry. Winner of a Gold Great Taste Award.
BEFORE we get down to what this pudding tastes like, let’s all applaud it for raising cash for Bromley Mencap, working with and providing services for disabled people, families and carers. Competing with some the very best puddings, this one held its own. It cut well, had decent flavour and was moist. Its slightly cloying, stodgy texture was the only downfall for our testers who felt it would have been great with cream.
In short: Tasty but a bit stodgy.
Marks and Spencer
Collection Sugar Plum Pudding, £14.00, 907g
What they say: A rich, fruity pudding with a hidden centre of mulled plum sauce and Armagnac soaked plums, hand-decorated with sun-dried angelino plums. Ready to finish with a sprinkling of golden 'fairy dust'. Serves 8.
MARKS and Spencer have a reputation to uphold as a great choice for Christmas, and they appear to have done it. This pud scored highly for its pretty gold glitter and fruity looks with lush plums on top. The taste team loved its slightly different flavour and moistness, though there was the odd grumble that with its sweet gooey mulled plum sauce, it was not so much a Christmas pudding. Still, if that’s what you’re after, M&S has more traditional options. It’s packed with lots of fruit, but our tasters reckoned it could have done with more nuts and boozer.
In short: A show-stopper with a twist on the original theme.
Specially Selected Luxury Champagne Christmas Pudding, £9.99, 907g
What they say: A blend of vine fruits, almonds, pecans, steeped in Marc de Champagne, brandy and Champagne. Topped with a trio of Marc de Champagne soaked black, red and blonde cherries and whole almonds.
IT is well known these days that the less glamorous shops punch above their weight when it comes to Christmas. Aldi once again proves that to be true. With big chunks of fruit and nut, a sweet taste and a good whack of booze, this covers all bases. Another good-looking pudding with gold glitter and large hunks of fruit on top, it backs that up with a nice bite courtesy of glace cherries and nuts. The champagne is a quirkier, luxurious but altogether gorgeous addition. Some tasters noted inconsistencies in flavour and booze between mouthfuls, but overall they thought it was probably the strongest overall.
In short: It is no longer a surprise that Aldi makes one of the best, but is does. So there.
Six Month matured wonderfully Fruity Christmas Pudding with Brandy and Cognac, £5, 454g
What they say: Matured Christmas pudding laced with brandy and cognac, packed with fruit and nuts.
IT may not be our winner, but this is a good pudding at a decent price. Consistent all round, traditionalists will love its good blend of fruit and nuts. It is perhaps a little currant heavy, but it is densely packed and satisfying. Some tasters felt it wasn’t very rich in flavour – a few thought this was great because they could eat more - but it did have a distinctive tang and the bonus of whole nuts. Oh, and it’s blooming boozy. Some of us felt a little squiffy at our desks for a while after.
In short: Traditional and boozy, just not quite special enough.
Ultimate Christmas Pudding, £16, 1.2kg
What they say: Our rich and indulgent pudding is packed with juicy vine fruits steeped in Brandy and Port, and topped with glacé cherries, walnuts and candied apricots
IT is impossible to argue that Tesco’s pudding is rich and indulgent. It is a bit of an operation to even microwave (defrost is involved for a bit) but it rammed with huge bits of juicy fruit and nut. The flavour is sumptuous and it feels like real old-fashioned luxury. Some complained that the orange peel round the edge was too much, but it also gave a nice tang. The biggest stumbling block for this beast was it was so packed with mammoth fruit and nut that it didn’t really hold together too well as a pudding.
In short: Full of flavour and soft, juicy fruit but it fell apart.
Snowy Lodge Christmas Pudding 750g £2.99
What they say: A rich Christmas pudding packed with plump vine fruits, glace cherries, crunchy walnuts and almonds, laced with sherry, brandy and whisky.
THE cheapest in our test by a long, long way but by no means a loser; yet again, the smaller brands hit big. This one scored a lot of points for being a traditional, rich Christmas pudding with not much in the way of frills. If this was served up after a big blow-out, everyone would be happy. Some tasters thought it was not boozy enough and some felt it was dry in places. It holds its shape well ad would be excellent with custard.
In short: Solid and moreish but a little unspectacular
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