IT turns out you really can Taste the Difference when it comes to Sainsbury’s pigs in blankets – the supermarket has earned top spot in a taste test of the festive favourites.
Meanwhile, Aunt Bessies home style roast potatoes took the accolade of best roasties.
The bargain spuds cost just £1.80 for 800g and won over pricier luxury alternatives such as Waitrose’s goose fat roast potatoes with garlic and sage, which cost almost double at £3.50 a bag.
The annual awards from Good Housekeeping Magazine sees taste testers sample hundreds of products from Christmas ranges to find the best of the best.
A winner and runners-up are awarded in categories including turkey, mince pies, prosecco and Christmas pudding.
And while many of the top spots this year have gone to extravagant luxury items, a number of bargain treats managed to beat their pricey rivals to earn the crown of winner in their category.
Some 470 products were tasted this year, the 22nd year that Good Housekeeping has run its Christmas taste tests, with samples from 75 different retailers and brands.
This included 24 different proseccos, 37 types of mince pie, 29 Christmas puddings, 12 yule logs, and 13 types of roast potato.
Also tried were 10 meat-free mains, and for the first time both frozen and fresh turkeys were pitted against each, with 13 whole turkeys and 10 crowns all tested.
Here we round up some of the winners.
Top Turkeys of Christmas 2021
Pipers Farm got the top gong for both whole turkey and turkey crown – but the pricey birds will be out of reach of many families this Christmas.
Pipers Farm Free Range Bronze Turkey scored 81/100 but is a hefty £16.30 per kilo, while the Pipers Farm Properly Free Turkey Crown starts at a staggering £71.
For a more budget option, we say hats off to Iceland's Luxury Extra Tasty Turkey Crown which only scored one point less than the Piper's Turkey, and was runner-up with 75/100. And it's a much more pocket friend £17 for a 2kg joint.
COOK's Portobello Mushroom Wellington was the winner of the meat-free main category, scoring 82/100. The pastry-encased dish is £10 for 360g.
But Morrisons Vegan Vegetable Wellington and Tesco's Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown are half the price at £5, and both scored 78/100.
And if you're looking a yummy side dish, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Truffle Pigs in Blankets took top spot out of 13 of the sausagey treats that were tested.
A 210g is just £3.50 and scored 84/100, beating runner up Jolly Hog Outdoor Bred Pigs in Blankets, which are at the same price and scored 81/100.
Sweet treats for your festive feast
No Christmas would be complete without a mince pie or two (or three!), but you might have to stick to just one if you're sampling Betty's Classic Mince Pies.
The mince pies came in top spot out of 23 tested, but they're a whopping £13.75 for a pack of 12.
Runner-up Morrisons The Best Mince Pies is a far more budget-friendly options at just £2 for a pack of six.
For the rival mince pies with a twist category, it was the M&S Sticky toffee PudPie was crowned winner with an incredible 94/100. A pack of four costs just £2 too.
For families looking for something a bit different for their Christmas dessert, the Tesco's Finest Blackforest Christmas Pudding might be an options.
Crowned best alternative Christmas pud, the 800g sweet treat comes in at £10. It beat runner-up Aldi's Specially Selected Damson Plum & Pink Gin Pudding, priced at £8.99.
Elsewhere, the M&S Sticky Toffee Crown beat the Heston Giant Chocolate Penny in the dessert centrepiece category.
And Sainsbury's Taste the difference Chocolate Fudge Yule Log narrowly missed out on winning its category, to the M&S Collection Triple Chocoalte Yule Log.
However, you could buy five of the £4 Sainsbury's choccy treats for the same price as the £20 M&S version – though the latter is almost double the size.
Top of the Pops
The Good Housekeeping taste testing team kept it fancy when it came to fizz, sampling the likes of Dom Perignon and RARE Champagne which cost £155 and £210 a bottle respectively.
The winner champers was Perrier Jouet Grand Brut, which is a more reasonable £35 and scored 82/100 – a treat if you're pushing the boat out this Christmas.
For prosecco fans, it was Majestic's La Gioiosa Prosecco DOC that took top spot at a reasonable price of £10 a bottle.
If you're more of a cocktail fan, then the pre-bottled cocktails category might be worth a look.
M&S took top spot in the group with its Marksologist Madagascan Vanilla Espresso Martin Cocktail. The tipple is £18 for 500ml and scored 85/100.
It was closely followed by Harvey Nichols Mai Tai Cocktail, which scored 83/100 and is £6 for 125ml – not your traditional Christmas flavour but perhaps one for those dreaming of sunnier climes this holiday season.
The results will be welcome to those already prepping for December, like this mum who has already got her Christmas dinner in the freezer and this mum who finished buying all her gifts in September.
Full list of Xmas taste test winners
PROSECCO (24 TESTED)
Winner: La Gioiosa, Prosecco DOC, £10 for 75cl sold at Majestic 84/100
Runner-Up: Della Vite, Prosecco Superiore DOCG, £25.95 for 75cl sold at Ocado 82/100
CHAMPAGNE (23 TESTED)
Winner: Perrier Jouet, Champagne Grand Brut, £35.00 for 75cl sold on Amazon. 82/100
Dom Perignon, 2010 Vintage Champagne, £155.00 for 75cl sold a Selfridges. 81/100
RARE, Champagne Millesime 2006, £210.00 for 75cl sold at Selfridges. 81/100
PIGS IN BLANKETS (13 TESTED)
Winner: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Truffle Pigs in Blankets, £3.50 for 210g. 84/100
Runner-Up: Jolly Hog, Outdoor Bred Pigs In Blankets, £3.50 for 210g sold through Ocado. 81/100
SMOKED SALMON (20 TESTED)
Winner: London Smoke & Cure, Sashimi-grade smoked salmon, £14.95 for 200g sold directly through London Smoke & Cure. 78/100
Runner-Up: Tesco’s Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon, £4.80 for 120g. 77/100
FLAVOURED SMOKED SALMON (10 TESTED)
Winner: Morrisons The Best Smoked Salmon with a Twist (orange & clementine, £4.00 for 120g. 79/100
Runner-Up: Tesco Finest Smoked Scottish Salmon with Maple and Rum £4.80 100g. 82/100
MINCE PIES (23 TESTED)
Winner: Betty's Classic Mince Pies, £13.75 for 12. 84/100
Cutter & Squidge Mince Pies, £10.20 for 6 sold directly through Cutter & Squidge. 77/100
Morrisons The Best Mince Pies, £2.00 for 6. 77/100
MINCE PIES WITH A TWIST (!4 TESTED)
Winner: M&S Sticky Toffee PudPie, £2.00 for 4. 94/100
Runner-Up: Betty's Speciality Mince Pies, £16.75 for 12. 86/100
CHRISTMAS PUDDING (20 TESTED)
Winner: Harvey Nichols Classic Christmas Pudding, £9.50 for 454g. 88/100
Runner-Up: Cartwright & Butler’s Traditional Christmas Pudding (with Marzipan Centre), £18.00 for 454g sold directly through Cartwright & Butler. 85/100
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS PUDDING (9 TESTED)
Winner: Tesco’s Finest Blackforest Christmas Pudding, £10.00 for 800g. 79/100
Runner-Up: Aldi Specially Selected Damson Plum & Pink Gin Pudding, £8.99 for 800g. 73/100
PRE-BOTTLED COCKTAILS (19 TESTED)
Winner: M&S, The Marksologist – Madagascan Vanilla Espresso Martini Cocktail, £18.00 for 50cl. 85/100
Runner-Up: Harvey Nichols, Mai Tai Cocktail, £6.00 for 12.5cl. 83/100
ROAST POTATOES (13 TESTED)
Winner: Aunt Bessies, Home Style Roast Potatoes, £1.80 for 800g sold at Waitrose. 80/100
Runner-Up: Waitrose & Partners Babylon Goose Fat Roast Potatoes with whole garlic cloves and fresh sage £3.50 for 800g. 77/100
DESSERT CENTREPIECE (11 TESTED)
Winner: M&S Sticky Toffee Crown, £20.00, 1.4kg. 85/100
Runner-Up: Waitrose & Partners, Heston Giant Chocolate Penny, £20.00 for 700g. 84/100
YULE LOG (12 TESTED)
Winner:M&S Collection Triple Chocolate Yule Log, £20.00, 900g. 85/100
Runner-Up: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Chocolate Fudge Yule Log, £4.00 for 442g. 81/100
TURKEY CROWN (10 TESTED)
Winner: Pipers Farm Properly Free Turkey Crown, £71, 3-4kg. 76/100
Runner-Up: Iceland, Luxury Extra Tasty Turkey Crown, £17.00, 2kg. 75/100
WHOLE TURKEY (13 TESTED)
Winner: Pipers Farm Free Range Bronze Turkey, £16.30/kg. 81/100
Runner-Up: Tesco Finest British Free Range Heritage Narragansett Whole Turkey, £10/kg, 5.26-6.51kg. 79/100
MEAT-FREE MAINS (10 TESTED)
Winner: COOK’s Portobello Mushroom Wellington, £10.00 for 360g. 82/100
Morrisons Vegan Vegetable Wellington (Vegan), £5.00 for 460g. 78/100
Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown, £5.00 for 500g. 78/100
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