Well, the Iceland Christmas advert is banned, everyone loves them because they’re leading the way on banning palm oil…Iceland are literally on the crest of a wave right now, what could go wrong…

Packaging

So the packaging is nice enough, let’s get that out of the way. It’s really not changed over the last few years to be brutally honest, but it’s stylish and I quite like it.

There is something different this year though…making a clear point on the front of the box:

Fair enough, the guilt I get to feel here is calorie-based!

6/10 – Not actually Christmassy, but stylish enough and look expensive

Presentation

Regular readers may know I had a serious beef with Iceland when I last reviewed them. Their packaging is a lie…

See the pies look pretty, the box is pretty, but they are half the height of the box. I swear if they did it right, you could squeeze 12 pies in the box they are using for 6. And it’s all very well banging on about Palm Oil, but when you’re using more plastic and more cardboard than you need to in the packaging of these things, you’re just a hypocrite!

Let’s take a positive view though:

They are quite pretty and they do look good on a plate. The design is attractive enough, they are evenly baked, the icing sugar is dusted to perfection…all this just leaves me torn.

When it comes down to it though, I’m actually annoyed by Iceland here with the packaging size versus the contents. Oh and the gold tray has gone from previous years too…so going in two footed.

2/10 – Pretty pies cannot excuse the hypocritical sizing inside against the positive palm oil messaging

Filling

Harsh? Let’s see how the filling does…

So the filling on these is quite limited because they’re halfway to mini mince pies, but it is quite fruity and fairly well loaded within the pie. They have a very fruity and slightly boozy aroma, it’s not unpleasant but honestly, you do have to get close to smell it.

7/10 – It’s loaded full, but there is not a lot of space to fill.

Taste Test

This is the key test, the one that really counts…so far these pies have actually fallen quite short. Previous years, the pies have stood up quite well in this category, can they do the same this year?

No.

Not even close frankly.

I actually found these quite distasteful to the point where I have given away the second half of the box because nobody in the house likes them!

It’s hard to describe too, the filling is nice enough. it doesn’t give you any sort of heavy boozy taste, it’s subtle and that’s not a bad thing. I’m relatively satisfied with the filling flavour.

Where these fall down though, is the pastry. The pastry is a kind of plastic strangely textured artificial mix. It’s hard to describe, but it is unpleasant. Mixed together, the flavour of the filling is not potent enough to distract from the pastry and overall it’s a grim mix.

I can’t work out if the palm oil has actually been removed to create this flavour, or if they never used it before anyway. I hope this is not how palm oil free pastry normally tastes.

3/20 – Only because the filling itself is ok

Overall

A shocker this. The palm oil campaign is clearly laudable, but the pies are horrible and Iceland need to also reduce their use of plastic and cardboard if they’re truly trying to make a point.

18/50