Sunday Times Food Awards 2018

Which supermarket's dips & snacks are the best buy for a party platter?

Ready-made snacks and dips makes entertaining so much easier. To help you buy the best for your guests, we put all sorts of party food — from smoked snoek pate and hummus to cheese straws and mini chicken pies — to the taste test

04 November 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
South Africa certainly is a nation who enjoys snacking, considering the large variety of ready-made snacks available on the supermarket shelves.
South Africa certainly is a nation who enjoys snacking, considering the large variety of ready-made snacks available on the supermarket shelves.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

What’s not to like about a good selection of snacks — especially if it’s free? It was easy to persuade a group of tasters at The Old Shanghai Firecracker Factory, an advertising agency, to participate in this tasting, especially since it was lunchtime and they were peckish.

The tasting included a selection of dips and snacks from leading supermarkets, which would be perfect for putting together a party platter. This included hummus, chicken liver pate, smoke snoek pate, pesto, cheese straws, mini chicken pies, mini quiche Lorraine and beef meatballs/frikkadels. 

All the products were purchased, stripped of packaging and preheated, if necessary, according to instructions. The tasters were divided into two teams, placed in different rooms and presented with the samples that were judged according to aroma, appearance, taste and whether they would consider buying the product.

Auditor Jade Craig checked the results, added all the scores and declared the winner and runners up in each category.


From top: cheese straws from Woolworths, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
From top: cheese straws from Woolworths, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

THE RESULTS

CHEESE STRAWS

FIRST PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

3 Cheese Straws

Price: R49.99 for 125g

What the judges said:

  • Courtney: Cheesy, lovely texture, crispy, light and fluffy.
  • Margie: Love the crunchiness, I would definitely buy it.
  • Leanie: Looks good and tastes really good.

SECOND PLACE: CHECKERS

Bites of Love | Cheese Sticks

Price: R29.99 for 12 

What the judges said:

  • Cailee: Something different, nice flavour.
  • Margie: I like the cheesiness and would buy it.
  • Denny: It looks good but taste is average.

THIRD PLACE: PICK N PAY

Butter Cheese Straws

Price: R39.99 for 100g

What the judges said:

  • Amy: The bite is soggy, not crispy.
  • Justine: Tastes stale and soft and lacking crunch.
  • Cailee: Looks like artificial cheese, too orange in colour, very soggy texture.

From top: mini chicken pies from Checkers, Pick n Pay and Woolworths.
From top: mini chicken pies from Checkers, Pick n Pay and Woolworths.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

MINI CHICKEN PIES

FIRST PLACE: CHECKERS

Cafe Culture | 8 Chicken & Mushroom Pies

Price: R64.99 for 350g

What the judges said:

  • Justin: Good overall taste with generous filling.
  • Margie: I like the chunky pieces of chicken with the mushrooms. I would buy it.
  • Amy: Filling very generous, however, chicken pieces are too chunky.

SECOND PLACE: PICK N PAY

9 Roast Chicken Cocktail Pies

Price: R54.99

What the judges said:

  • Justin: Healthy taste but not amazing.
  • Robin: Good appearance, golden brown and tasty.
  • Margie: Good amount of filling and saucy.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

8 Mini Chicken Puff Pies

Price: R54.99

What the judges said:

  • Courtney: Just like air pockets and skinnier than a Simba chip.
  • Penny: Looks are deceiving, they're empty inside. Hardly any flavour, it's like eating a bag of pastry.

From top: Quiche Lorraine from Pick n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths.
From top: Quiche Lorraine from Pick n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

MINI QUICHE LORRAINE

FIRST PLACE: PICK N PAY

9 Mini Crustless Quiche Lorraine

Price: R57.99

What the judges said:

  • Janke: Very nice, appearance is good, filling is consistent.
  • Marisa: Looooove these, light and tasty. I would definitely buy them.
  • Talitha: Very flavourful and light.

SECOND PLACE: CHECKERS

Bites of Love | 3 Quiche Lorraine & 3 Spinach and Feta Quiche* 

Price: R34.99 

What the judges said:

  • Glen: Good texture, interesting filling.
  • Janita: Looks ok & palatable but a bit disappointing.
  • Terina: Nice size, looks traditional and tasted ok.

* Panel only tasted Quiche Lorraine.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Quiche Lorraine

Price: R72.99 for 470g*

What the judges said:

  • Eulalia: Quite soggy and mushy.
  • Janita: Pastry a bit thick. Too soggy and soft.
  • Marisa: Not my favourite of the ones we tasted.

* The larger Quiche Lorraine was tasted as individual ones, made to the same recipe, were unavailable.


From top: beef meatballs/frikkadels from Pick n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths.
From top: beef meatballs/frikkadels from Pick n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

BEEF MEATBALLS/FRIKKADELS

FIRST PLACE: PICK N PAY

BBQ Glazed Meatballs 

Price: R54.99 for 300g

What the judges said:

  • Terina: Very tasty, I like the BBQ sauce and smoky taste.
  • Talitha: Beefy, but taste is a bit like a fast-food burger patty. Nice size.
  • Glen: Good BBQ spice and stickiness. It may be a bit too strong as it overshadows the beef.

SECOND PLACE: CHECKERS

Cafe Culture | Beef Frikkadels

Price: R41.99 for 200g

  • What the judges said:
  • Janke: I like the taste, has a good beefiness.
  • Janita: Paler appearance. Not sure of the white bits in the mixture but it tastes good.
  • Glen: It needs more spice, a little bland with little fat.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Our Deli | Beef Frikkadels

Price: R74.99 for 300g

What the judges said:

  • Terina: Very dry and looks like a chunk of mincemeat - where's the balls?
  • Talitha: The parsley tastes nice, the beef is an added extra.
  • Janke: I didn't like the aroma or taste. It's dry and average.

From top: hummus from Checkers, Pick n Pay and Woolworths.
From top: hummus from Checkers, Pick n Pay and Woolworths.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

HUMMUS

FIRST PLACE: CHECKERS

Deli Traditional Hummus

Price: R19.99 for 125g

What the judges said:

  • Courtney: Tasty, great colour, very appealing.
  • Leanie: This one is very nice with good flavour.
  • Margie: Enjoyed the taste and would buy it.

SECOND PLACE: PICK N PAY

Hummus

Price: R19.99 for 120g

What the judges said:

  • Amy: I found taste a little overpowering.
  • Cailee: Nice, tastes like I expected it to because I'm familiar with this product.
  • Penny: Quite flavourful, texture a bit off-putting.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Hummus

Price: R29.99 for 180g

What the judges said:

  • Penny: Muddy texture and taste.
  • Margie: A fair sample of hummus, I don't mind it.
  • Amy: It tastes a bit like an onion dip.

From top: chicken liver pate from Woolworths and Pick n Pay.
From top: chicken liver pate from Woolworths and Pick n Pay.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

CHICKEN LIVER PATE

FIRST PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Price: R35.99 for 125g

What the judges said:

  • Leonie: Not the best looking but tastes very nice and stronger than other sample. Think it's the brandy added to pate.
  • Amy: Tastes great. I can imagine spreading on warm bread.
  • Penny: It's got lots of flavour but chicken liver pate is not the most attractive!

SECOND PLACE: PICK N PAY

Price: R34.99 for 120g

What the judges said:

  • Margie: A bit too grainy for my liking.
  • Courtney: Tastes way better than it looks.
  • Cailee: Dry texture.

From top: different types of pesto from Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Checkers.
From top: different types of pesto from Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Checkers.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

PESTO

NOTE: As different types of pesto were tasted, each product was judged individually and given a score out of 10.

WOOLWORTHS

Basil Pesto

Price: R48.99 for 125

Score: 8/10

What the judges said:

  • Marisa: I'm Italian and it reminded me most of my mom's pesto dish.
  • Chris: Taste is nice. I would snack on this with my eyes closed.
  • Eulalia: I enjoyed it, though a bit oily eaten on its own.

PICK N PAY

Red Pepper Pesto

Price: R42.99 for 150g

Score: 7/10

What the judges said:

  • Terina: Strong tomato taste.
  • Chris: Looks appetising but not as tasty as it looks.
  • Janita: Very sweet tasting.

CHECKERS

Deli Mediterranean Blend Pesto

Price: R34.99 for 125g

Score: 6/10

What the judges said:

  • Terina: Tastes good, colour not great.
  • Glen: Too chewy but taste has a good balance.
  • Eulalia: Doesn't look so appetising but tastes good.

From top: smoked snoek pate from Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Checkers.
From top: smoked snoek pate from Woolworths, Pick n Pay and Checkers.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

SMOKED SNOEK PATE

FIRST PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Our Deli

Price: R29.99 for 125g

What the judges said:

  • Chris: This looks and tastes divine.
  • Terina: Very "snoeky" - tasty and creamy
  • Janke: Blend is good, so is consistency.

SECOND PLACE: PICK N PAY

Smoked Snoek Pate

Price: R29.99 for 120g

What the judges said:

  • Marisa: Light on fish taste, which helps when you're not quite the fish lover.
  • Janke: Snoek ratio is just somewhat too low. Colour not too appetising.
  • Glen: A bit bland, needs more seasoning, and a little watery too.

THIRD PLACE: CHECKERS

Deli Smoked Snoek Pate

Price: R34.99 for 125g

What the judges said:

  • Terina: Artificial aftertaste and a bit bitter.
  • Glen: Very smooth, maybe a bit too smooth and a bit slimy?
  • Janita: Creamy, but not too memorable in taste - a bit insipid.

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