Mince Pie Reviews – November League Table Update

Figured it was worth updating the league table and because some people do miss it (it’s linked seperately either in the hamburger menu on a phone or up top on desktop).

Miles away at the top is the Fortnum & Mason pies, but it’s looking like a strong list.

For reference, the columns in order are “Year of Review, Packaging, Presentation, Filling, Taste Test and Overall Score”. The table is ordered by Overall Score, with Taste Test as a tie breaker (then Presentation then Filling and finally Packaging if all of those are equal).

No. Name YR Pa Pr Fi TT OS
1 Fortnum & Mason Traditional 2017 8 9 9 20 46
2 Tesco Finest All Butter 2016 8 8 7 18 41
2 M&S Star 2016 6 10 8 17 41
4 Aldi Specially Selected 2016 4 9 8 19 40
5 Iceland Luxury 2016 6 6 9 19 40
6 Aldi Sloe Gin Mince Tarts 2017 6 7 7 19 39
7 Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter 2017 7 8 8 16 39
8 Aldi Specially Selected 2017 4 9 6 19 38
9 Iceland Luxury 2017 6 6 9 17 38
10 Coop Irresistable Luxury 2016 8 7 7 16 38
11 Lime Tree Pantry Mince Pies 2017 4 9 8 16 37
12 M&S Christmas All Butter 2016 6 5 8 17 36
13 Greggs Sweet 2016 6 6 7 17 36
14 Spar Luxury All Butter 2016 8 8 7 12 35
15 Sainsbury’s Mini Ecclefechan and Mincemeat Tarts 2017 6 9 8 10 33
16 Tesco Mince Pies 2016 9 2 4 17 32
17 Waitrose All Butter 2016 5 5 7 14 31
18 Sainsbury’s Iced Topped 2017 9 5 4 12 30
19 Sainsbury’s Deep Filled 2017 9 4 5 10 28
20 Coop Bakery Shortcrust 2016 5 1 4 10 20
21 Coop Puff Pastry 2016 6 6 1 5 18
22 Heston Spiced with Lemon 2016 3 9 3 1 16

 

2017 UPDATED REVIEW: Iceland Luxury Mince Pies

2017 Update
I find it interesting re-visting things from last year. You have certain expectations. Your views have changed, moulded over another year. These Iceland Mince Pies were a 19/20 in the taste test last year as you can see below, and the main thing that let them down was the size of the pie in comparison to the size of the tray and box. I wonder what’s changed…

So, off Mum went, back to Iceland and picked these up for me.

First of all…the packaging is identical. 100% identical to last year. Even the tray is the same inside, and the Mince Pies look the same too, same pretty design and yes, still sitting very deep in the over-sized tray. I’m not mad about it…just disappointed.

On to taste, and I’m not sure if there is a change now.

The pastry is nice and the filling is the same recipe, but this time it felt like marginally too much pastry. Like, because of the size of the pie and the thickness of the pastry, there wasn’t enough room for the lush filling. I asked for second opinions around the house, all the same, very nice mince pie, a touch too much pastry over filling.

On that basis, I’ve got no alternative but to knock the taste test score down to 17/20. It’s not that these are bad, 17/20 is still a hugely respectable taste score, and right up there with the best pies. Maybe though, if they filled the pie more, made them bigger (and charged an extra 50p for the privilege) we’d be back up to the best taste of all.

2017 Overall score: 38/50

2016 Original Review
So, my mum went to Iceland (that’s the shop, not the country for those at the back)…came back with these very interesting looking mince pies. I’ve heard great things about these from the Internet in general, so my turn to have a go.

1-19

Packaging
Let’s be honest here, they’ve not exactly gone to town on the packaging.

It’s a fairly thick box (promising sign). Nice pictures of the pies on the front, no window notably. The only nod to the party season is the flickery lights in the background, but genuinely, it’s pretty basic stuff here and not a lot to say.

And I know it’s being picky…but why show 5 mince pies on the front for a box of 6…not rocket science is it.

6/10 – An inauspicious start for Iceland here, fairly dull and unimaginative.

Presentation
Box open, the tray is gold…so what you might say, well these are £1.50 for 6 so a gold tray is a statement. Sliding out the tray, and suddenly all becomes clear about the £1.50 for 6 pricing.

2-14

They look pretty good from this angle.

How about this one:

3-12

Ever feel like you’re getting half a pie?

I think this is a pretty slack trick from Iceland to be honest. I feel just a little bit swizzed by this.

Now to be honest, they are very very pretty looking. they remind me a hell of a lot of the M&S Star Mince Pies (which were in an appropriately sized box and tray by the way).

4-10

You can see on close inspection, a nice layer of icing sugar, even bake and they look like a genuine high quality, premium mince pie.

How to mark these though? Just taking the pie on it’s own, you’d definitely go very high, but the swizzle factor here is high too. The thickness of the box and the lack of window really working to make you not realise until later the size differential. I’ll take a middle ground on it though…my feelings are clear on this.

6/10 – I could have got really grumpy about the swizzle in box size versus pie, very naughty from Iceland but the pies, they’re very pretty and a GOLD TRAY!

Filling
At least this bit is obviously not an attempt to trick.

The pies are full to the top with the filling, which looks very fruity and thick. Not much a smell from it so not expecting much booziness.

5-8

9/10 – Considering the size, to be expected, but it looks good here.

Taste Test
How many ways can I find to say, this is the bit that really counts. Well, I guess that’s another way…

Immediately apparent is the quality of the pastry. It tastes a little sweet, but very buttery. It’s not the sticky gloop butter flavour though, this is a melt in your mouth style of munch. It’s not crispy by any means though, so horses for courses, this is soft and luxurious.

The filling tastes very fruity, this not really a hint of booze involved. It’s quite nutty and thick and for the first time in a long time, finishing it all left a “shall we have another one?” open question (for the record, yes, we did).

The key word is balance, and this has a perfect one.

It can’t be over-stated, these are outstandingly nice tasting mince pies.

19/20 – Yes, genuinely lovely in every way.

Overall Score
Although tempting to apply a divide by 2 on the overall score, based on the level of people they use to advertise their shops, I’m better than that.

These are a superb mince pie, but the con job Iceland are pulling with the packaging leaves a nasty taste.

40/50