Taste & Tell

Which supermarket's Christmas pud is the best buy for your festive feast?

We went on a quest to find the tastiest of the lot

24 November 2019 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Christmas puddings from, from left, Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Spar, Checkers and Food Lover's Market.
Christmas puddings from, from left, Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Spar, Checkers and Food Lover's Market.
Image: Christoph Hoffman

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

It's free and fair!

It's the most anticipated tasting of the year, the annual search for the best-tasting Christmas pudding from five of the big retailers.

As such, we brought in the big guns, to be on our judging panel:

  • Jane-Therese Mulry, the executive chef of the five-star Saxon hotel in Johannesburg, and her two pastry chefs, Catherine Adonis and Nathan Jacob;
  • Chef Fritz Flatscher of CafĂ© Mozart, a top-notch confectioner;
  • Chef Heinz Brunner and Unilever Food Solutions chef Pinky Maruping, who are seasoned tasters, particularly of Christmas fare.

As with all our tastings, this was a blind taste test, meaning the mince pies were stripped of their packaging, numbered and presented to the judges with no reference to the brand.

As the puddings weren't all the same, they were judged individually and awarded a score out of 10.

An auditor oversaw the entire process and tallied up the judges' score sheets.

THE RESULTS

PICK N PAY

Luxury Christmas Pudding

Price: 900g for R249.99

Rating: 6/10

What the judges said:

  • Chef Mulry: Citrus flavour but quite stodgy, although nice taste.
  • Chef Flatscher: A good-looking pudding.
  • Chef Adonis: Tasty, a bit mushy but good flavour. Nice orange flavour. Juicy.

WOOLWORTHS

Christmas Brandy Fruit Pudding

Price: 900g for R199.99

Rating: 5.5/10

What the judges said:

  • Chef Jacobs: Flavour is OK but there's a bitter aftertaste.
  • Chef Brunner: Very stodgy. Fruit comes through nicely and the spices are evident.
  • Chef Adonis: A bit stodgy but offers a decent flavour.
The chefs on our judging panels: Catherine Adonis, Nathan Jacobs, Heinz Brunner, Jane-Therese Mulry, Pinky Maruping and Fritz Flatscher.
The chefs on our judging panels: Catherine Adonis, Nathan Jacobs, Heinz Brunner, Jane-Therese Mulry, Pinky Maruping and Fritz Flatscher.
Image: Michael Edwards

SPAR

Christmas Pudding

Price: 400g for R119.99

Rating: 5/10

What the judges said:

  • Chef Maruping: Looks too dark and stodgy.
  • Chef Flatscher: A very dark pudding.
  • Chef Adonis: A good texture, nice and spongy but lacks when it comes to flavour.

CHECKERS

Festive Steamed Pudding

Price: 400g for R89.99

Rating: 4.5/10

What the judges said:

  • Chef Maruping: Looks good, fruit is evenly distributed but it leaves a fatty aftertaste and the raisins are burnt.
  • Chef Adonis: Looks good although no taste of spice. Left a lingering unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Chef Brunner: It tastes bitter, leaving not a pleasant aftertaste.

FOOD LOVER'S MARKET

Christmas Fruit Pudding

Price: 400g for R89.99

Rating: 4/10

What the judges said:

  • Chef Maruping: Texture is strodgy/bready. It is unpalatable.
  • Chef Mulry: Dry and crumbly.
  • Chef Adonis: Awful, this pud has not a lot of aromatics.