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Taste test:What’s the best Christmas pudding for 2017?

PUBLISHED: 12:46 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 14 December 2017

We taste tested several supermarket Christmas puddings - but which was the best for 2017? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

We taste tested several supermarket Christmas puddings - but which was the best for 2017? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ZAKmac

We tried 12 of the leading supermarkets’ Christmas puddings - but which was the best?

You can keep your salted caramel chocolate bombes, pavlovas and trifles – THE dessert for a festive lunch is Christmas pudding.

Stodgily plump with fruit, dark as a starless sky, and wafting its boozy, orangey steam across the room, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. You might pop a bit of holly on top for effect. Or, if you’re brave, it’ll be drenched in brandy and wooshed with flames.

If you haven’t gotten around to making your own centrepiece for the pud table this year, we’ve tasted a large selection of the local and national offerings available to you, with some surprising results.

Coles Brandy, Port and Walnut Christmas Pudding

4/10

Out of its wrapper this looked almost Dickensian. The smell was of mace and nutmeg, however on tasting the most notable flavour was, weirdly, almond – like marzipan. Odd, as almond oil was the final item on the ingredients list. On the plus side, it didn’t taste too sweet, so if you prefer your puds less sweet and are a marzipan fan, this one’s for you.

Marks and Spencer The Collection 9 Month Matured Christmas Pudding

4/10

Sorry M&S we didn’t like this one very much. The overall impression was that it tasted flat. It didn’t scream of booze, fruit, treacle or citrus. The overriding taste was of dried mixed spice.

Co-operative Truly Irresistible Christmas Pudding

4/10

It yielded nicely under the knife and looked promisingly dense but, much like the M&S pud, was a bit dull, flat and one dimensional.

Co-operative Christmas Pudding

4.5/10

This one looked marvellous – all squishy, deep and dark. But the overriding sensation was of sweetness, and it was a bit spongy. It needed more fruit and spice.

Woodforde’s Norfolk Nog Christmas Pudding

5/10

Unleashed from its muslin wrap, this pudding had a pleasingly authentic, homemade shape. The flavour though, for us, was a bit flat. There wasn’t a great deal of spicing, and the booze added hadn’t brought anything to the party. It would, said Brendan, respond well to a dousing of brandy custard.

Tesco Finest 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding

6.5/10

Tesco’s pud promised Courvoisier, cider, sherry and Port. We could smell the brandy coming off, and the pudding was moist with plenty of nuts and a good amount of fruit. It was a nice middle-of-the-road dessert.

Pudd’Eng Christmas Pudding

7/10

Made in Norfolk using local sourdough breadcrumbs, local beer, organic flour and other high quality ingredients, there was no denying this pudding had good calibre. It was almost black in colour, and the texture and ratio of fruit was spot-on, however the flavour didn’t match the depth of the shade of this one. We expected molasses and richness, but the pud was mouth-puckeringly sharp and bright with citrus. It almost tasted like a cross between Christmas pudding and lemon tart. Not at all unpleasant but not what we expected from appearances. It would definitely cut through the richness of Christmas lunch.

Asda Extra Special Christmas Pudding

7/10

A fab boozy hit on the nose. The pudding was nicely dark with a good dose of the treacly, molasses richness that you want from this kind of dessert. It had a fair few large chunks of nuts in it – so one for those who like a bit of crunch.

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference 18 Month Matured Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding

7.5/10

Aesthetically this one was pleasing, with a domed top and a bit of a glisten. It was lighter in texture than many of the others, but was dominated by orange rather than Cognac, so it’s one for those readers who prefer a citrusy pud. It would work very well with a Cointreau-infused custard or cream.

Lillypuds Traditional Christmas Pudding

7.5/10

Made with Chockwork Orange beer from Brentwood Brewing Company, and lots of fruit and apple, the maker of this pudding prides it on being a lighter, fruitier end to Christmas lunch. It’s certainly a juicy little number, and not too heavy. Ginger was a dominant taste so if you don’t like the spice it’s not for you. However, ginger loather Brendan gave it the thumbs up.

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference 18 Month Matured Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding

7.5/10

Aesthetically this one was pleasing, with a domed top and a bit of a glisten. It was lighter in texture than many of the others, but was dominated by orange rather than Cognac, so it’s one for those readers who prefer a citrusy pud. It would work very well with a Cointreau-infused custard or cream.

Heston From Waitrose Persian Spiced Christmas Pudding

8/10

A bling dessert with a sheen of gold. This one wasn’t for Brendan who’s a traditionalist, but Dave and I thought the warm spicing of the lighter sponge, and the perfume of the honey and rose butter centre were exquisite. It had an elegant, refined finish and was sticky without being prohibitively heavy. We could taste the quality of the ingredients.

Aldi Specially Selected 18 Month Matured Christmas Pudding

8.5/10

Looked good this one. It was dark, and this translated to the eating of the pudding, which had a great deal of body. It was heavy with bitter orange, which didn’t detract from its depth, instead bringing a pleasant tang to the palate, alongside the booze.

STAR BUY

Deluxe 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding, Lidl

10/10

Simply superb. We were blown away by the quality of this large pud, made for the budget supermarket by the pros at Matthew Walker. It’s the first commercially made product of this type matured for such a length of time, and the proof, really is in the pudding.

The first thing that hit us was the alcohol. There’s a lot of it. French brandy. Guyanese rum. Courvoisier VS Cognac. Amontillado sherry from Montilla. You could smell it from across the room. And as soon as we bit into it Brendan exclaimed “that is delicious”. It was everything you could want a pud to be. The texture, citrusy flavour, lingering heat of alcohol, richness and spicing were all on point. Easily head and shoulders above the rest.

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