The best Christmas food to buy in the shops

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  • The woman & home Christmas taste tests are an annual event where our expert Test Kitchen taste test hundreds of food and drink products to find the best of the best in everything festive. This year the competition was tough, with numerous outstanding contenders for every category. Our expert panel of judges whittled down the entries to the creme de la creme of Christmas buys. And we are delighted to share with you our results.

    Best Christmas Party Food

    Best Canapés

    Even when celebrating in a smaller group it’s fun to have an array of party food. This year we have seen trends emerge for grazing platters and spicy flavours. Delight your guests with these splendid nibbles.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners Canapés

    • Extra Special Sicilian Giarraffa Olives with Lemon, 150g, £2.20, Asda

      • These special green Giarraffa olives are not overly brined giving them the perfect balance of salt enhancing their great fruity flavour. The perfect nibble for when you’re feeling peckish!
    • Wensleydale Creamery Seasonal Truckles, 200g, £3.00

      • Top marks to the Wensleydale Creamery for their impressive variety of flavoured Wensleydale. Who would have thought that Orange & Champagne or Stem Ginger would be such a scrumptious treat in cheese.
    • 10 BBQ Pork Cornbread Stacks, 210g, £7.00, M&S

      • Perfectly seasoned with chunky corn pieces and a touch of spice, these moreish morsels are very impressive on taste.
    • Extra Special Gran Antipasto, 120g, £3.00, Asda

      • This generous selection contains three delicious Italian cured meats. They all have great flavours and the salami is satisfyingly chunky. Wrap around a chunk of cheese and secure with a cocktail stick for an easy party bite, or serve as an accompaniment to the latest party food trend, a grazing platter
    • Waitrose Pork & ‘Nduja Croquettes 10 pack, 300g, £6.00, Waitrose

      • These scrumptious spicy pork meatballs are coated in a pleasing breadcrumb crunch and would certainly appeal to meat fans who can handle the heat!

    Best Christmas crisps and nibbles

    We are on board in a big way with the truffle flavoured crisp trend. They are the perfect bougie nibble to accompany a glass of bubbles, but have you tried the latest fancy thing? Move over truffle, caviar is in town!

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners Christmas crisps and nibbles

    • Torres Caviar Crisps, 110g, £3.95, souschef.co.uk

      • For the ultimate crisp luxuriousness, we recommend Torres Caviar Crisps. You have to experience them once!
    • Peter’s Yard Sourdough Bites, 90g, £2.00, Sainsbury’s

      • A wonderfully versatile crisp/cracker hybrid. They come in three flavours: Sour Cream & Chive, Cyder Vinegar & Sea Salt and Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper.
    • The Best Steak and Black Truffle Crisps, 150g, £1.00, Morrisons

      • A rather pungent but enticing whiff, truffle is seemingly the crisp flavour of 2020, finally something good to come out of this year!
    • Espelette Luxury Nut Mix, 1.35kg, £39.95, belazu.com

      • Enough to keep them going all Christmas! This is a mammoth bag of truly luxurious nuts.
    • Waitrose Black Truffle Hand Cooked Crisps, 150g, £2.00, Waitrose

      • These had a more authentic mild truffle flavour than others we tasted meaning that the lovely potato flavour could shine through too. But it was the good crispy crunch that won us over!

     

    Best Christmas sweet treats

    Best Christmas cake

    This was a highly contested category this year, our panel tried so many greats. But these six blew us away.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners Christmas cake

     

    Best Christmas pudding

    The proof is in the pudding, you will not be disappointed with these. All excellent choices for the finale to the festive feast.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners Christmas pudding

     

    • Christmas Pudding, 907g, £9.99, Aldi (top, right)

      • Rich and boozy with a generous quantity of fruits and nuts. Perfect served with a greedy helping of cream but custard would be just as good. Specially Selected 30 Month Matured Christmas Pudding, 907g, £9.99, Aldi (top, right)
    • Bettys Classic Christmas Pudding, 360g, £11 (left)

      • In three sizes, this pudding delivers with huge chunks of booze-soaked fruit. This luxurious pud is a Christmas staple for Food Director Elisa Roche, she orders one every year.
    • Organic vegan Christmas pudding, 450g, £12.55, Riverford (bottom, right)

      • This luxurious pudding is the perfect balance. It’s packed to the brim with fruit, without being overly sweet.

    Best pannetone

    The classic Italian Christmas bread is becoming increasingly popular. We love it as a breakfast bread, but it’s also a fantastic dessert and great with a cuppa. Contemplate using any leftover pannetone in trifle or tiramisu.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners Pannetone

    • Battistero Panettone Gift Tin, 1kg, £7.50, Booths (left)

      • A showstopper of a panettone in its huge festive tin. The perfect gift to bring to the relatives.
    • Waitrose Apricot and Peach Bellini Panettone, 750g, £10.00, Waitrose (bottom, right)

      • Two of our favourite Italian things, Peach Bellini and Panettone, rolled into one. Great taste and texture. Toast it or toast with it!
    • The Best Classic Fruit Panettone, 750g, £7.00, Morrisons (top, middle)

      • The perfect fluffy texture and just the right amount of fruit. We’ll be heading to Morrisons again for our panettone this year.
    • Loison Panettone Albicocca e Zenzero, 500g, £19.99, Lakeland (bottom, middle)

      • We really enjoyed this light, fluffy panettone. It’s flavoured with apricot and ginger. It wasn’t too sweet, so perfect for an opulent festive breakfast.
    • Crosta & Mollica Apricot Panettone, 500g, £13.49, Ocado (top, right)

      • The chic retro packaging won us over on first sight, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. So under the vibrant packaging, we were delighted to discover a light, fluffy panettone bestrewn with a generous amount of sweet candied apricot.

    Best mince pies

    The perfect festive treat. These are guaranteed to convert even the mince pie scrooges out there.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners mince pies

    Best Christmas Dinner

    Best ready-made Christmas starters

    Because frankly, Christmas is already busy enough, save yourself the hassle of rustling up another course with these gorgeous ready to go beauties!

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners starters

    • Specially Selected Pate Bowls, 280g, £3.49, Aldi (bottom, middle)

      • Generous, rich-tasting pates in veggie or meaty options, in real china dishes that can be reused.
    • Irresistible Scottish Smoked Loch Trout with Whisky & Honey, 100g, £4.00, Co-op (right)

      • Why not mix it up and try smoked trout for something a little different this year. We loved the sweet honey and subtle whisky flavour of this one from Co-op.
    • Champagne and scallop crowns, Iceland (price to be confirmed) (bottom, left)

      • Scallops bathed in a rich creamy sauce with a good wine flavour and lovely pastry.
    • Higgidy Very Merry Parsnip Pie, 250g, £3.70, Waitrose and Ocado (top, left)

      • This perfect pie has a fantastic festive flavour and the ideal pastry to filling ratio. Great as a starter or a veggie main.
    • Tesco Finest Four Coquille St Jacques, 520g, Serves 4, £12.00, Tesco (top, middle)

      • Sumptuously creamy with a subtle chilli kick. Not only do these taste amazing, but they also look incredibly impressive on the plate.

    Best smoked salmon

    It’s a Christmas classic, great as a luxury starter or for fancy canapes. However, you plan on serving it, this lot gets our vote.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners salmon

    • Bleiker’s Bucks Fizz Smoked Scottish Salmon, 100g, £6.00, Booths

      • Marinaded in champers and orange oils, this delicate salmon has a beautiful scent and real gold leaf for added luxury.
    • Loch Fyne Bradan Orach Smoked Salmon, 200g, £9.99, Ocado

      • When we say smoked salmon this is what we’re dreaming of, a wonderful smoky flavour and a melt in your mouth texture. It’s pure smoked salmon perfection.
    • Tesco Finest Smoked Scottish Salmon With Malt Whisky, 100g, £4.80, Tesco

      • If you are a whisky fan then this is the salmon for you. Nice chunky slices mean this would look excellent on canapes.
    • Iceland Luxury Frozen Smoked Salmon, 300g (price to be confirmed)(bottom right)

      • A very generous portion ideal for a buffet platter. We were pleased by the lovely thick slices that would work beautifully with a sauce. Don’t be put off by the fact this is frozen. Because of the increased demand at Christmas, much of the supermarket smoked salmon has been frozen and defrosted before it reaches the shelf.
    • Heston from Waitrose Citrus Gin Smoked Salmon, 100g, £6.99, Waitrose (top left)

      • We loved the distinctive citrus flavour and the gold finish that makes this salmon instantly more special and will add decadence to your Christmas breakfast or canapé in a matter of seconds. Good firm texture, fairly heavy on the smokiness.

    Best cranberry sauce and Christmas condiments

    It’s Christmas, pull out all the stops. These tasty sauces will elevate your meal.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners condiments

    Best Christmas desserts

    Drop it all! These elegant desserts are designed to impress. But they taste as good as they look.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners desserts

    • Specially Selected Chocolate and Salted Caramel Layered Bar, 350g, £5.99, Aldi

      • Another elegant dessert, perfect around Christmas. We enjoyed the rich chocolate flavour.
    •  Golden Balls, 620g, £12.00, M&S

      • A pudding with a name to get them all giggling. This impressive, glittering stack of profiteroles is super sweet but, hey, it’s Christmas!
    • Waitrose Queen of Trifles, 360g, £12.00

      • We were pleased to discover that all of the flavours associated with a trifle were present with the inspired additions of a crunchy light feuilletine base.

    Best Christmas food gifts

    Best food stocking fillers

    We adore these cute tasty gifts, perfect as a little thank you to give to those who have helped you this year.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners little presents

    • Waitrose Salted butterscotch mallow, 100g, £3.00, Waitrose

      • Utterly delicious. These were so good they converted even the marshmallow sceptics on the panel.
    • Tracklements Rhubarb & Apple Chutney, 220g, £3.60, www.tracklements.co.uk

      • Tasty and goes very well with cold cuts. Neither too sweet nor too tart as some chutneys are. It would make an ideal gift for a savoury fan.
    • Doisy & Dam Vegan Truffles, 144g, £4.99, Holland & Barrett

      • Deliciously rich and silky smooth, everyone will be fighting over these chocs, not just the vegans!
    • Lindt Teddy Jumper Edition, 200g, £4.99

      • Loving the jumper design for Christmas, a lovely new twist that will update your stocking filler.
    • Tesco Finest Sticky Toffee Pudding Filled Cookies tin, 200g, £4.00, Tesco

      • These moreish biscuits would make for a lovely gift, they come in a fun reusable tin. It’s almost impossible to just have one, with a gooey caramel centre these didn’t hang around long!

    Best Food hampers

    Really spoil them this year with these fabulously indulgent hampers.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners hampers

    Best food advent calendar

    No longer just for the kiddies. Advent calendars are a lovely way to spoil yourself or your loved ones in the runup to the big day!

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners advent cals

    • OffBlak 24 Days of Tea Calendar, 24 x 60g Tea Pyramid Sachets, £19.99, Holland & Barrett

      • Packed with refreshing natural herbal and fruity teas, it’s the ultimate gift for a loved one who is cutting back on the booze.
    • Lindt Pick & Mix Advent Calendar, 325g, £12.00, Lindt

      • A decadent chocolate selection. A brilliant option for anyone who loves the classic Lindt truffles but wants some variety. We are obsessed with the mint flavour.
    • That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar, 72cl, £49.95, Master of Malt

      • With a different gin nestled behind each door, this calendar is such a fun way to sample an array of gins without committing to the whole bottle.
    • Love Cocoa Advent Calendar, 261g, £20.00, Ocado

      • Filled with 24 delectable chocolates and an exciting extra surprise behind door 24. And if you need more convincing: three trees are planted for each purchase.

    The best Christmas drinks

    Christmas is a fantastic time to discover new drinks and indulge in some old favourites. At this time of year, there are many opportunities to raise a glass and toast good tidings. We have included a range of spectacular non-alcoholic options too for those avoiding the alcohol.

    Wine to pair with Christmas dinner

    Don’t let your dinner down! If you’re finding it hard to choose between them, any of these bottles could take pride of place at your festive feast.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners wine

    Non-alcoholic Christmas drinksWoman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners non alcholic

    There are now so many amazing No and Low options out there that’s it’s tricky to know which to pick! These are all great choices.

     

    Best Christmas spirits

    These festive spirits would all make magnificent gifts. We are enchanted with the M&S Light up Gin Globe, it’s bound to be a sell-out this year. Our panel also discovered some surprising drinks this year, including our latest addiction: Figgy Pudding Gin!

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners spirits

    Best Christmas Champagne and fizz

    It doesn’t always have to be champers, we were impressed with how many excellent English sparklings are out there. But this year the latest trend is swapping grape-based bubbles for an elegant cider at celebrations. These excellent festive fizzes are all brilliant.

    Woman and Home Christmas taste tests 2020 winners bubbles and champagne

    • Danebury sparkling ‘Cossack’ Brut Vintage 2015 75cl £25.00 danebury.com

      • Citrusy and delicate with a pleasing effervescence, this is the one to enjoy with a salmon starter.
    • Leckford Brut 75cl £26.99 Waitrose

      • In a lovely gift box, this appley, nougaty English fizz tastes classy and the bubbles last well. Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve English Sparkling Wine 75cl £30.00 hattingleyvalley.com
        Incredible value for an award-winning English sparkling wine. It has a rounded flavour with aromas of brioche and hazelnuts with a hint of peach.
    • Les Pionniers NV Champagne, 75cl, £19.00, Co-op

      • This champagne has a wonderful secret: it comes with a Co-op price tag but in actual fact, it is created by an extremely well known and revered French champagne house.
    • Bouvet Saphir Sparkling 75cl £16.99, Majestic

      • Nice and light, very drinkable. Great for parties or ideal paired with a fishy/seafood starter or with canapes.
    • Gospel Green Brut 2017, £12.95

      • A lovely alternative to prosecco, quite dry and very fizzy. We would happily drink this with our Christmas dinner, it certainly looks the part.

     

    Now all that’s left to say, we wish you and yours a very tasty Christmas and a delicious New Year!

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