Discover the best supermarket Christmas food in 2020
The delicious. team scoured the (virtual) aisles, tasting and sipping over 100 products to find the very best supermarket Christmas food to get your hands on this year. Bring your appetite and get your shopping list at the ready, our Christmas taste test results are in…
Best Christmas starters 2020
Co-op Irresistible Scottish Smoked Loch Trout with Whisky & Honey
How much? £4 for 100g (available in store from 9 December)
What makes it so great? It has a rounded, savoury sweetness, with a texture just the right side of firm. A real standout.
How much? £7.50 for 200g, serves 5
What makes it so great? This luxury pâté is deeply flavoursome. The truffled mushroom centre is subtle and madeira wine glaze not too sweet. A larger 365g version (£14) is also available from Waitrose’s food to order service*.
How much? £12 for 400g, serves 4 (Christmas food to order only*)
What makes it so great? You can’t go wrong with melting cheese, savoury pancetta and pastry – slice, scoop (the gooey cheese) and serve with a crisp salad. Brie-like Garstang White hails from the Lancashire town of the same name.
How much? £17.50 for 227g, serves 4 (available from Booths, in store from 18 December)
What makes it so great? A restaurant-quality starter in a jar – just add toast. The subtle sweetness and mild heat work well together. Pricey but worth it.
How much? £8 for 6/180g
What makes it so great? These pretty mini crab shells are filled with a layer of Cromer crab pâté and topped with flakes of crab meat. Expect fresh seafood flavour with lemon, chives, pepper and soft cheese. Garnish with more lemon wedges and soft herbs.
How much? £2.50 for 600g, serves 2
What makes it so great? This is a soup you could pass off as homemade: the spices are delicate and maple syrup adds gentle sweetness. Serve with vegetable crisps.
Best alternatives to turkey
Best alternative roast: Redhill Farm Free Range Pork
What makes it so great? The pork shoulder from Redhill Farm in Lincolnshire has the honour of being 2020’s Great Taste Supreme Champion. Praised for its “tremendous character”, this is truly outstanding meat. Read more about how Redhill Farm farm their pigs here.
Best meat-free main: Morrisons The Best Vegan Star Tart
How much? £5 for 392g
What makes it so great? This layered veg pie has real complexity, with a chunky, nut-roast-like texture and a balance of sweet and savoury flavours. Puff pastry is filled with sweet potato, parsnip, mushrooms and cranberries and topped with a crunchy beetroot and pumpkin seed crumble.
Best Christmas desserts 2020
How much? £12 for 790g, serves 8 (available in store from 20 December)
What makes it so great? This decadent hybrid pud was praised for the quality of the cream in its choux buns topped with chocolate sauce, which share a bowl with coffee-soaked sponge, chocolate mousse and marsala/mascarpone mousse.
How much? £4.99 for 1kg, serves 12
What makes it so great? Well-proportioned cheesecake spread with cinnamon sauce and speculoos crumbs – it truly tastes like the spiced biscuits popular in European countries. Defrosts in the fridge overnight.
How much? £8 for 750g, serves 8 (Christmas food to order only*)
What makes it so great? A patisserie-style pud with a chocolate mirror glaze. The combo of sponge, dark chocolate orange ganache, chocolate mascarpone and orange curd works well. Not suitable for vegetarians.
How much? £3.70 for 2 slices (140g)
What makes them so great? Smooth dark chocolate ganache (made with lentil protein) on a biscuit base – classic and gorgeous (but also vegan and dairy-free). Also available to order as a whole tart (£12 for 500g, serves 6*).
How much? £5 for 500g
What makes it so great? This gluten-free dessert has a moist and moreish sponge with a decent kick and a scattering of stem ginger pieces. The sauce is buttery and smooth, but go easy – it’s very sweet! Microwave only.
How much? £12.99 for 700g, available from Ocado
What makes it so great? A simple, frangipane-style tart with thin pastry and a slight chew to the centre from the Spanish food experts Brindisa (some of whose products are available via Ocado). Serve drizzled with amaretto and swoon.
Best Christmas canapés 2020
M&S Star Studded Sausage Roll Garland Stack
How much? £12 for 650g, serves 8-10 (available in store from 18 December)
What makes it so great? Three tiers of quality sausage rolls with handsomely golden all-butter pastry. It really looks (and tastes) the part.
How much? £3 for 250g
What makes them so great? We were fans of these soft-centred mini soufflés when Iceland launched them three years ago. Now they’re back, with improved cheddar cheese punch, and available exclusively at Food Warehouse stores (and online from Iceland, dependent on your location).
M&S 10 Cheesy Crumpets and Marmite
How much? £7 for 205g
What makes them so great? Melty cheddar and savoury Marmite are a winning combo. “I could eat a whole plate to myself next to a roaring fire and be happy as Larry,” said our tester.
M&S Plant Kitchen Mini No Chicken Kievs
How much? £5 for 360g
What makes them so great? These bite-sized vegan kievs are moist inside and the saucy centre means no dip required – very 2020-friendly. Cook from frozen.
Tesco Finest 9 Mini British Ham and Cheddar Toasties
How much? £4 for 180g
What makes them so great? Mini toasties would be a faff to make yourself. These cute customers are filled with Wiltshire ham and West Country cheddar. Also worth picking up: Tesco Finest 10 Mini Ham Hock and Cheddar Topped Crumpets (£5 for 200g), which have a decent hit of mustard and pleasing texture.
Best Christmas sweet treats 2020
How much? £3.50 for 6 (311g)
What makes them so great? Shake up tradition with Heston’s 2020 invention. These pies have beautifully fruity mincemeat with a well browned caraway-spiked pastry (both containing carrot as a nod to Rudolph). A sachet of smoky sugar to sprinkle over adds an outdoorsy, woodsmoke flavour.
How much? £3.95 for 225g, available from Sainsbury’s
What makes it so great? Lusciously smooth with a lebkuchen-like flavour: spread on toast or swirl into porridge to add festive warmth to December breakfasts. Available until January, with 25p from each jar donated to Hackney Foodbank.
How much? £2 for 100g
What makes it so great? Made by third generation sweetmakers in Bergamo, Italy to a recipe from 1925, this toothsome delight is swirled with sour cherry paste and studded with sour cherries and roasted hazelnuts and almonds. Grab some for stockings (or just for yourself).
How much? £2 for 200g, available from Tesco
What makes it so great? A twist on the classic, with chunks of dried apple mingling with raisins and good marzipan, at a bargain price – no need to save for best. Contains palm oil from a sustainable source. Suitable for vegans.
How much? £5.49 for 500ml, available from Ocado
What makes it so great? Italy’s most famous Christmas export meets the pride of its summers with this panettone gelato, which offers hints of orange peel and a toasty, buttery taste not dissimilar to Butterkist popcorn (no bad thing).
How much? £8 for 500g (serves 6)
What makes it so great? Gently boozy, with nuggets of chestnut stickiness and little pieces of pear, this panettone offers something out of the ordinary. Although it requires careful slicing as it’s so delicate and moist, it’s a fabulous panettone.
How much? £2.70 for 750ml, available from Sainsbury’s and Ocado
What makes it so great? “Sophisticated and unusual,” in the words of our tester. Gently sparkling, with true passion fruit flavour and a hint of vanilla, it can be served as an aperitif with an orange slice and cinnamon stick or even as a substitute for dessert wine. Also new is Sparkling Lime and Ginger (see stockists above) with a fresh ginger flavour and subtle citrus.
Best Christmas dinners for two
COOK’s frozen meals look and taste homemade and there’s lots on offer to feed just two. We rate the rich and tender Slow-cooked Lamb Shanks (£13 for two/900g) – serve with couscous as a main – and subtly smoky Butternut Squash Nut Roast Stacks (£10 for two/350g), which are topped with pink onions and would make a great starter or veggie main (supplemented with some side dishes). Finish with the lightly effervescent Gin & Tonic Semifreddo (£8.50 for 475g). It serves 6-8 but can be sliced straight from the freezer and the rest enjoyed later.
Aldi Specially Selected Mediterranean Style Vegetable Potato Rosti Baskets
How much? £2.99 for 550g, serves 2
What makes it so great? Crispy potato on the outside with a saucy centre of aubergine, peppers and lentils – these flavoursome baskets should please vegetarians and vegans. Season with salt and perk up with a squeeze of lemon and some coriander. Cooks from frozen.
GÜ Hot Puds Apple & Salted Caramel Sponge Puddings
How much? £3.30 for 2/170g, available from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s &Tesco
What makes them so great? These warming puds have autumnal caramel-flavoured sponge, apple compote and GÜ’s signature silky caramel sauce and smart glass ramekins.
Best Christmas dinners for four
How much? £17.50 for 1kg, serves 4 (Christmas food to order only*)
What makes it so great? Fish pie gets posh: a generous helping of chunky salmon, cod, scallops and king prawns in a spinach and fennel sauce with dill and prosecco. The filo pie topping is buttered and scrunched at home before cooking for maximum crunch.
How much? £10 for 1kg, serves 4 (available in store and from Christmas food to order*)
What makes it so great? Sainsbury’s saves you nine hours of slow cooking with a result that tastes like you’ve made it yourself: chunks of soft beef, chestnut mushroom slices and lots of whole shallots are enriched with bacon and red wine-flavour.
How much? £10 for 650g, serves 4 (Christmas food to order only*)
What makes it so great? A hearty pie with winter warmer written all over it: beef chuck and black pud in a flavour-packed red wine and pancetta gravy under a puff pastry lid. “It looked and tasted like the best homemade pie you could hope to make,” said our taster.