Taste & Tell

Which supermarket's berry dessert is best for your Valentine's dinner?

Our taste testers have spoken: here's where to head when you need to pick up a creamy dessert to round off a romantic meal

10 February 2019 - 00:00
The sharpness of a fresh berry coulis is the perfect foil to the rich creaminess of a silky panna cotta.
The sharpness of a fresh berry coulis is the perfect foil to the rich creaminess of a silky panna cotta.
Image: 123RF/baibakova

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

The Taste & Tell series is a monthly feature where the same or similar supermarket items are put to a taste test by a panel; we gather a different group of people to be part of the panel for each tasting. (This one was made up of chefs from Capsicum Culinary Studio in Randburg, Joburg.)

A theme for each tasting is selected by Sunday Times food editor Hilary Biller, who goes out and shops as a consumer would. (In this case, the theme was desserts made with cream, yoghurt or cream cheese that included a berry topping.)

The tasting takes place at a facility that offers a professional kitchen and a room where the panel can evaluate the food.

We work with chefs who assist with any preparation that's necessary;  reheating and cooking is done strictly to package instructions. Items are categorised, numbered and stripped of all their packaging before being served. A food expert in the kitchen oversees the entire process.

The tasters undertake a blind tasting and the food is judged on a score sheet and is rated according to appearance, taste, quality of ingredients and whether the taster would consider buying the product. Each category is judged out of 10 points: 10 is excellent, 5 average and 1 extremely poor.

An auditor checks each score sheet and collates the results.

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: CHECKERS

The Menu Strawberry Cheesecake: creamy cheesecake with crumbly coconut biscuit base, topped with strawberry coulis.

Price: R59.99 for 450g.

What the judges said:

  • Pierre: Very good product, smooth and nice balanced flavours.
  • Ukhonaye: Small amount of berry coulis but enjoyable.
  • Nico: Nice cheesecake, great simple dessert.

SECOND PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Blueberry Cheesecake dessert: Demouldable dessert made with yoghurt and cream cheese, topped with blueberry compote.

Price: R49.99 for 500g.

What the judges said:

  • Andrew: It doesn't match the description and tastes like a panna cotta. Very creamy.
  • Tyrone: Nice, name throws off expectation.
  • Ukhonaye: Lovely creamy taste, but it's not a cheescake.
From left: berry desserts from Checkers, Woolworths, Pick n Pay and SPAR.
From left: berry desserts from Checkers, Woolworths, Pick n Pay and SPAR.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

THIRD PLACE: PICK N PAY

Vanilla-flavoured panna cotta with berry coulis

Price: R39.99 for 500g.

What the judges said:

  • Nico: Lovely topping, great taste and texture.
  • Awande: Not my favourite panna cotta, it's borderline.
  • Tyrone: A bit grainy but nice.
  • Yolanda: Tasteless and bland.

FOURTH PLACE: SPAR

Starland Cheesecake (purchased at Pineslopes SPAR)

Price: R22.99 for 120g.

What the judges said:

  • Andrew: Tastes very synthetic.
  • Tyrone: Artificial flavouring.
  • Awande: Base is mushy and wet. It looks better than it tastes.
  • Ukhonaye: Really artificial flavouring and taste.

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