So…I ummed and I arrred and eventually, decided to go for it. What am I talking about? Well, buying these bad boys is what…bought from the Fortnum and Mason shop at St Pancras Station as I passed by on my travels…the price, a cool £10.95.
That’s £1.83 per pie!
I mean, there’s premium.
And then…there is this:
The single most frustrating packaging to photograph ever….look, you can see my hands taking the photo…anyway…let’s get on with the review.
The box is heavy, super heavy, 500g. For comparison, the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference pies come in at 370g and the regular Sainsbury’s pies at 355g so there is some real extra here with these.
The packaging is red, reflective and really shiny, hence my hands on the photo above.
There is a lovely looking window, with the branding nicely displayed, showing off the pies, it’s a really attractive presentation of the pies.
The rest of the packaging has a colourful green pattern design, not sure what it is, but it kind of looks Christmassy. It’s maybe a bit of holly and horns and things. Who knows, I think it could do with being a bit more obviously Christmassy and maybe then it’d be perfect.
8/10 – Pretty lovely generally, but just not that Christmassy!
So, you open the packaging and slide out the tray. And it’s not just any tray.
First thing you see is more of the reflective stuff, this time it’s gold coloured.
And then…it’s made of cardboard, none of that plastic tray action here. I figured I’d get a different angle on it.
It honestly feels really special and looks different too. It’s much more interesting than any other box of pies I’ve had for a long time.
On the pies themselves, they are emblazoned with an “F&M” logo. It’s a little bit self-aggrandising I guess, but it’s still quite attractive. I’ve said before, the lack of “christmassyness” does seem to increase alongside the price. The cheaper the pie, the more of the normal Christmas thing you get.
The quality of the bake here is outstanding though as you can see. Extremely even and well presented. Look closely and you can see copious amounts of sugar on top here and just look how deep that pie is. You can see where the extra weight in the box comes from, there is a lot more here than regular pies.
9/10 – Not getting 10 simply because of the me me me thing of adding their logo to the top.
So, getting to the real meat of the matter now, what’s the filling like.
Well, the ingredients list is something to behold and it’s all on show when you get into this monster.
It might not look chock full, but it is a bit mis-leading on this picture. This is very high quality stuff here, massive chunks of fruit, but it’s not the look, it’s not the amount, it’s all about the smell. It smells like sweet apples, brandy, and cinnamon. Genuinely astonishing!
But you know what, if there is a complaint, there could be a smidgen more, although when you taste these, you probably won’t think so.
9/10 – Almost perfect, just needed a tiny bit extra to fill that air gap!
Well so far, this review could really have been any more complimentary could it? What is the taste test going to bring…
Let’s just say, these are the single greatest mince pie I’ve ever had. Full stop, hands down they are incredible.
The F&M website describes them like this:
There is nothing quite like a traditional mince pie, warm from the oven and eaten on a crisp, winter’s afternoon. To make ours especially good, we put quite a lot of butter in the pastry, and we make each pie extra-deep, to hold generous helpings of mincemeat. And, of course, we use our own mincemeat, made with plenty of brandy. Serve warm with a spoonful of Fortnum’s Cognac Brandy Butter or Rum Butter eased gently under the lid.
Everything about that paragraph is entirely accurate.
Let’s start with the smell. When you slide them out of the box it hits you, as described above, that sweet alcoholic flavour. It’s an amazing smell that engages your taste buds before you even taste them.
Then you bite into the pastry and it’s genuinely unlike anything you’ve had before. It’s buttery, flakey and very slightly “cakey”. It’s also very sweet, all of that sugar is right there, available to taste.
Then you tuck into the filling and the warmth of the brandy really comes through, there is cider, brandy and cognac in here, with fruits and spices. Oh my, it’s wonderful.
So, where does that leave us?
Perfection is where!
20/20 – Does not get better than this.
Right, so these are clearly not for everyone. The cost is pretty eye-watering when you consider some of the alternatives. Even Harrods are only asking £8.95 for their mince pies, so these are genuinely decadent.
Luckily, I don’t actually consider the price in these reviews, if I did there would probably be a negative multiplier in there. They are by far the nicest mince pies I’ve ever had.
Should you buy them?
If you can afford to go down the pub and spend eleven quid on a pint of ale and a white wine for the wife, and you think that’s worth it, then why can’t these be worth it too?
It’s Christmas, treat yourself!
46/50 – I will be buying more in December for certain.