Mr Kipling has been around forever, I literally can’t remember a time when Mr Kipling didn’t exist. I’m 44 and it was definitely a thing when I was little to get a box of Mr Kipling apple pies when you did the big shop down at Fine Fare. And just remembering Fine Fare, our local one rebranded in the 80s to Gateway, remember them? Gateway actually changed to Somerfield apparently sometime in the 90s although our local Gateway changed to Asda. Somerfield then got bought by the Co-op, who killed the brand it seems and here we are today.
Anyway, diverted off-track a bit there, thanks to Wikipedia, now back to the pies.
So, Mr Kipling, very much an everyday cake maker, but never got a look in at our house for Christmas. We’d always either make our own mince pies or buy from the local bakeries the really nice ones. Or Cooplands amazing brandy butter pies. Fun fact, Cooplands today is not the real Cooplands, it’s just the name. Owned by the new lot who own Asda.
Anyway…this is an exceedingly long intro to this review. Exceedingly good is the promise, are they really or are they exceedingly terrible? Let’s find out…
For such a long-standing brand, you’d expect they’re pretty sharp on packaging. I mean, they clear have standard shapes and sizes of box, they template everything so it’s clear on-brand but it IS a bit bland. This will be a theme.
Objectively though, they’ve nailed the supermarket pie styling here. Lovely Christmassy imagery, a window onto the pies, I love the snow on the logo. The box is sturdy.
There’s even a few snowflakes on the back of the box, along with that funky logo snowfall again.
9/10 – Just missing a bit of glam, but objectively, this is good
Let’s get inside and take a look at the pies themselves, this is the important bit after all…
Now, it’s a bit tricky this. I like the snowflake on the star on the star, it’s way more extravagant than £1.25 for 6 suggests it should be. But look closely, it’s delivered here in a wildly inconsistent way. For such a mass-produced, factory made product, it’s hugely disappointingly messy.
7/10 – A good attempt, a nice idea, poorly executed. A real shame.
So, these mince pies have a bit of doming going on. It’s clever, it makes the pies look a really good size for the £1.25 they cost. But, it’s a bit smoke and mirrors, because, as this picture shows, they’re really only about half full.
The mincemeat looks chunky and fruity though, and is definitely not really wet like some cheaper ones can be. Disappointing though, feel a bit swizzed.
5/10 – Half full, cheaty cheat!
Make or break time…
So first bite, there is a notable crispness to the pastry, these are well baked mince pies. There is probably a lack of flavour to the pastry though, with a real lack of sweetness. They talk about sprinkles of sugar, I think it needs a bit more in the pastry itself.
Next the mincemeat, and let’s be realistic here, it’s an everyday type of mince pie, absolute zero levels of decadence here, so don’t expect miracles. The ingredients are clear too, no booze to be found. And so, how is it? Bland. Incredibly…bland. I mean, there is an initial aroma of fruit and a sense you’re about to get hit by good flavours and then…well, nothing.
It’s the sort of pie you get when you’ve had your work Christmas lunch in the staff canteen with another 100 people. It’s utterly inoffensive and totally unremarkable.
10/20 – Just bland.