Slumming it today, it’s time for a review of some budget mince pies.

I’ve been lording it recently with the John Lewis pies and considering buying some more of the Fortnum & Mason pies, literally just for the hell of it…but instead, here I am, doing this public service for you all at £1 for 6…

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Packaging

You know what, I know there is no window in the box, I know it’s probably a bit generic and all that…but I quite like this box.

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The picture of the pies is really quite attractive and grey is definitely the colour of the minute, well, it is according to my people I talk too.

8/10 – Not a lot to say, it’s just good at what it is

Presentation

This is one of the areas where cheap pies can fall down, often thrown about and not well secured in the generic sized trays and boxes.

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There is no plastic covering, they are loose in the box so I absolutely can’t vouch they’ll all come out like this, but you know what, that’s really not bad. These are a smidge less than 17p a pie, and they’re really not bad looking.

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I’m really liking the crimping on the edges, not seen as often these days, it’s a bit out of fashion. The star is boring, but fine. A tiny bit of sugar on top looks pretty nice too, but maybe could do with some more.

The pastry is super pale though, looks very thin in places and you can see it starting to crack. It’s just on the edge really, but stays on the good side of the line.

7/10 – Not bad, very generic, obviously not premium, but not bad

Filling

These are super normal sized pies. The very definition of generic. And the filling is the very definition of normal.

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One thing though.

There is no smell. None, nada, zipola! It’s might as well be an apple pie. I very much doubt the filling has even been in the same post code as an alcoholic beverage. That said, it’s chunky, and there are sightings of fruit here and there. It’s also a bit wet in places so I’d fully expect some soggy bottoms closer to the use by date.

The pies are about as full as you might expect, I don’t feel short-changed here.

6/10 – Lacking any aroma, but decent amount and fruity with it

Taste Test

You know when you all get corralled into the staff canteen, queue for 20 minutes to grab a barely clean plate, get a dollop of gravy, one soggy sprout, 4 baby carrots, 1 bit of very dry broccoli, turkey thats been on a hot plate for 4 hours drying out even more, 2 boulders that try to fool you into thinking they are roast potatoes and the tiniest bit of cranberry sauce. Then you pull a cracker while Slade play on the Sony Discman plugged into some PC speakers. Then you queue a bit more for some Christmas pudding that tastes like feet with some kind of tasteless brandy sauce on top.

Then they bring round a coffee in a plastic cup along with a big plate of mince pies, one for everyone. You’re full right know, you’ll have food poisoning later, but right now, you’re pretty content…you look at the mince pies and you think, why not, I could really use some brandy-flavoured fruity pastry with my sickeningly horrid coffee.

And you regret it, and your life, immediately afterwards.

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It might look fine, but when you bite in and realise there is no taste, you’re considering if you carry on or not.

It’s like eating pure calories with no flavourful reward. It puts to bed the myth of calories equaling flavour. These are the epitome of food for the sake of it.

There is no smell at all, that’s a clue. The pastry is fine by the way, pastry is generally tasteless anyway, but this isn’t sweet, there isn’t enough sugar for that and it’s not buttery. It’s just pastry. The filling genuinely hasn’t seen alcohol at all.

I mean they’re not awful. They’re just not…anything at all.

7/20 – Hard to score, a lack of flavour is better than actively disgusting at least

Overall

What to say then? Let’s go with this…

If you’re planning a party for Christmas and plan on having some mince pies around for desert or for nibbles after the mains are done. If you don’t like the people you’re hosting, then these are a good shout. They’re super cheap and totally inoffensive.

On the other hand, if you do like the people and want them to enjoy their food that you serve…just buy something else, literally spend £2 instead of £1.

28/50