Monday, 21 October 2013

Tesco Finest* Mini Mince Pies

As an honorary member of the administration it was vital that I had a benchmark to compare these mince pies when producing an overall score. So… according to the master administrator, Greggs (at time of writing) are the leader of the race, so I had to partake in a little taste test of my own to provide comparison.

Presentation - 6

The Tesco Finest* Mini mince pies are exactly what they say they are on the box, kind of like Ronseal, but without the woodstain effect (thankfully…). A box of 12 mini pies packaged in a new style Finest* presentation box. Nothing to write home about, but when on the shelves with their other christmas cakes, they don’t jump off the shelf at you. The box states that;

mince pies are a favourite food of Father Christmas, and that one or two should be left on a plate at the foot of the chimney as a thank you for stockings well filled. English tradition demands that the mincemeat should only be stirred in a clockwise direction, with each family member taking a turn in stirring the mixture whilst making a wish for the coming year.” 

Now if you are buying these mince pies are we being told that during the making of the mincemeat the production line only stirred in a clockwise direction?! Also, were all members of the production team involved in a stir to get their wishes?! Potentially quite a bold revelation in regards to their production process… however I am sure that this is a load of Christmas waffle...
The pies themselves are cased individually, but are not uniform in presentation. Some lids have sunk, whereas others are not on straight. A small holy leaf on the top is nice, but the astronomical amount of sugar on the top is something that needs to be addressed. It is not the best that when you open the box half of the sugar comes falling out all over you. The box also states that they are made with ‘Courvoisier VS Cognac’ - a claim that we will review later.

Nutritional Content & Price - 6

At £2.25 for a box of 12 they are not the worst priced pies, and considering that they are part of the Finest* range it is not something that we can quibble about. At 155 cal’s, 4.3g Fat and 8.5g of sugar per pie they are slightly higher than average for a ‘half’ (mini) pie, but I think that some of this can be attributed to the pastry.

Pastry - 20

Now this a controversial area. These pies are advertised as “All Butter Pastry”. I would have to agree with the first two words, but replace pastry with shortbread. The consistency and taste of the ‘pastry’ is more akin with a lovely box of Christmas shortbread. Now as a lover of all things biscuit this was not a bad thing when looking at this on its own. However as part of a combination with mincemeat, to create the pie I am not sure that this will be desirable for everybody. Due to this biscuity texture the pie when bitten into stays solid and does not crumble, but as previously mentioned, you will become covered in a vast amount of sugar. Not sure if this is due to the mince pie makers having a shaky hand at the time my pies were made or if this is part of the general production process. Either way, a little too much for a person with my sweet tooth. Overall not too bad but plenty of room for improvement. 

Mincemeat - 10

Now this is where I have major issues with the advertising. These Finest* mince pies are detailed as made with Courvoisier VS Cognac. As a person with reasonable mince pie experience, and someone with extensive alcohol experience, I can categorically say the quantity leaves a lot to be desired.  Actually forget that... it leaves everything to be desired as there is not a sniff of a taste. The lack of alcohol taste is not saved by a great tasting mincemeat. Unfortunately what you are left with is a rather bland attempt at ‘Finest*’ mincemeat. Quite disappointing.

Overall Satisfaction - 6

Overall not a bad attempt at a mini mince pie, and I think I would not be so harsh if it weren't for the fact that these are branded as Finest*, and not mid-range. Less sugar, more alcohol and more fruity flavouring in the mincemeat and I think Tesco might be on to a winner. That said, it does not (x3) so they are not.

Here are the scores from my fellow Mincers. 

Tester 1 
Presentation (7) Nutritional content & Price (4) Pastry (17) Mincemeat (9) Satisfaction Level (3)
"Very dry, with barely any mincemeat. Avoid."
Tester 2
Presentation (7) Nutritional content & Price (3) Pastry (17.5) Mincemeat (10) Satisfaction Level (2)
"Don't bother - dry and dull."


42.5 / 100

Look at where these fit in on our leader board.
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