Those for whom the upside of Christmas is to enjoy some tasty festive food and drink will be interested in the results of the Tried and Tested survey of this year’s Xmas fare carried out by Good Housekeeping magazine and published in their December issue. These included:-

o Christmas puddings. Winner was Waitrose cherry and almond topped with edible glitter at £14.99 for a 2 lb (907 gms) pud, or £7.50/lb. Runner-up, and also in the Bargain category was Aldi’s orange-topped at £7.99 for 907 gms, or £4/lb. For comparison the cost of ingredients for a home-baked version is around £1.50/lb, plus cost of cooking, and delivering, for some, a lot of satisfaction.

o Cranberry Sauce. Winner and Bargain was Tesco’s at £ 1.49 for a 400 gm jar.

o Champagne. Winner was Waitrose Brut Special Reserve V2004 at £29.99. Runner-up was Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Premier Cru V2005 at £25.99. Bargain was Tesco’s Premier Cru Non Vintage at £19.99. (Many find that they prefer sweet sparkling wine, for a lot less)

o Stilton cheese. Winner was M & S stilton at £3.99 for 454 gms (1 lb) or £8.78/kg. Runner-up and Bargain was Lidl’s Valley Spire Mature at £1.69 for 220 gms, or £7.68/kg

o Mulled wine. Winner was Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference at £6.49. Runner-up was M&S at £6.99. Bargain was Asda’s at £2.48, though thought “a bit watery” by Good Housekeeping’s cognoscenti, an aspect that could be corrected, along with raising the ABV, with a good slug of Asda’s own French brandy at less than £10 a bottle, or some cheap sweet sherry. In fact mulled wine is so easy and so much fun to make oneself……..

The survey also featured smoked salmon, stuffing, Christmas cake, mince pies, brandy butter, crackers (the ones you pull, rather than eat) Christmas trees and the Christmas lights to go on them.

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