Friday, 16 November 2012

Tesco's Finest - Deep Filled Mince Pies with Courvoisier ® VS Cognac

Tesco have been rather uninspiring with their mince pies this year. I'm hoping the Finest range is the game changer - after all, they have brought in Courvoisier to add that bit of quality to the pie.

The Facts

Looking at the box, it appears that Tesco's Finest have pulled out all the stops to make this feel like a quality, European, mince pie. The ingredients list includes, Mediterranean Sultanas and Raisins (each of these were listed separately, so "Mediterranean" was written twice), Greek Vostizza Currants, Italian orange peel and lemon peel (again, "Italian" is written twice) and French Brandy. Let's not forget what is written on the front of the box. It says "All butter deep shortcrust pastry filled with luxury mincemeat, containing Amarena glacé cherries, almonds & walnuts, laced with COURVOISIER ® VS Cognac". Wow that's a mouthful and does anyone know how to pronounce Courvoisier!? With all these quality ingredients, this should be shooting straight to the top of my leader board.

These have 255 calories, 22.7g of sugar and 9.3g of fat. Pretty standard now.

First Impressions

NO! Not again. Whatever company is making these for Tesco, they are using the same machine as their regular Tesco mince pies to place the lid on top. These are all wonky. Fortunately, there has been no filling leakage this time. The pie itself looks well cooked all around and on top. There is a light dusting of sugar on top too. In terms of decoration, there is just a fork mark on top. I was hoping for something a little more, but maybe they are leaving the talking to the taste of the pie.

The Bite

The pastry has a good crumbly texture and you can taste the butter in there. After a bite you can see the pie is still in one piece, unlike its younger brother. The pastry is not too sweet either.

As for the filling, this was rather a let down. I was expecting there to be taste explosion after reading all the fancy ingredients on the box. There are loads of currants and that little white thing you see in the picture above is a piece of almond. I came across a small orange peel too. You can also see that the mixture is quite dry, which, coupled with the pasty made this pie a little too dry. However, it is definitely filled well, and there is little room to stuff more in. The taste was pretty mediocre. It was not too sweet, nor too much and with the pastry, it was pretty standard.

As for the Courvoisier ® VS Cognac, I could taste only a hint of it. From memory, the relationship with this company and Tesco has been pretty strong and in previous years the taste of the cognac was quite overpowering. Tesco have cut this back a lot.


I fear this is a mince pie that has been shrouded in fancy words and names when in actual fact this is just a plain old mince pie, and one that only barely passes as a regular mince pie, let alone luxury. It is a similar marketing strategy used by one well known fruit named company. Currants and Sultanas are all mostly produced in the Mediterranean, there is nothing special about getting your orange or lemon peel from Italy and I cannot see anything that tells me sourcing your brandy from France is any better. There is so little Courvoisier VS Cognac in there that they could have put any brand of cognac and you would never know the difference. The name is just there to make you think it that it must be something nice.

"Of all the cognac joints in all the towns in all the world, it walks into my pie."

  2.7 / 5

Why not share your thoughts on this mince pie in the comments below?