olive Christmas supermarket awards 2018
With the busy festive period ahead, we could all do with a helping hand in the kitchen – the winners in our fifth olive Christmas Supermarket Awards are sure to make seasonal entertaining that little bit easier
Looking for easy Christmas party food to make the festive season that bit easier this year? Check out the best supermarket Christmas food for Christmas dinner ideas and festive entertaining.
From Christmas cake and mince pies, to easy finger food and show stopping Christmas desserts, we’ve got it covered.
Best supermarket Christmas cake
Gold: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference falling leaves iced fruit cake, £15/1.3kg
With good chunks of nuts and fruit, and a classy decoration, this moist cake also has the perfect proportion of booze.
Silver: Waitrose Entertaining Fiona Cairns chocolate fruitcake, £30
A modern twist on a Christmas cake with a rich cocoa background flavour and bursts of juicy fruit – we love the simple yet showstopping decoration, too.
Best supermarket prosecco
Gold: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Conegliano prosecco, £10/75cl
With delicate bubbles, a smooth mouthfeel and the longest finish of all we tasted, this is a prosecco that everyone will love.
Silver: M&S Nella prosecco, £8/75cl
With strong pear notes, this is a classic-tasting prosecco with big bubbles and buttery notes.
Bronze: Asda Extra Special prosecco Asolo brut DOCG, £8/75cl
We loved the tropical lychee notes from this bargain bottle.
Best supermarket seafood centrepiece
Gold: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference dressed poached side of salmon, £20/700g
Tender poached salmon with a beautifully pure flavour, topped with juicy prawns, smoked salmon and cream cheese, make this a low-maintenance, big-impact centrepiece to serve to a crowd.
Silver: Booths salmon, prawn and dill terrine, £18/600g
We loved the balance of rich cream cheese, dill, juicy salmon and chunks of prawns in this ready-made terrine. Serve with hot toast as a Christmas Day starter or with posh crackers for a Boxing Day buffet.
Best supermarket smoked salmon
Gold: Waitrose 1 chestnut-smoked Scottish salmon, £5.99/100g
With a gentle smoke, silky texture and a nice bit of bite, this smoked salmon will be perfect with a glass of buck’s fizz on Christmas morning.
Silver: Co-op Irresistible beech-and-oak-smoked salmon, £4/100g
This is a great, traditional-style smoked salmon, with a really pleasing thickness and appealing drier texture.
Bronze: Asda Extra Special heather honey and black pepper smoked salmon, £3.99/120g
Something a little bit different – a lovely soft and tender texture, and decent peppery flavour.
Best supermarket Christmas ham
Gold: Waitrose Entertaining sweet-cured tamarind and pomegranate easy-carve gammon, £11.99/1-1.5kg
This impressive joint stood out a mile for our judges, with its sweet, caramelised glaze, well-seasoned and juicy meat, with great pork flavour. It’s a must-buy – just be sure to save some for your Boxing Day sarnie.
Best supermarket pigs in blankets
Gold: Aldi Specially Selected Three Little Pigs, £2.99/288g
Three for the price of one with these juicy sausage bundles! We loved the Christmassy sage and onion flavour, and sweet, caramelised bacon.
Silver: Booths Lakeland pigs in blankets, £4/250g
Classic pigs in blankets with good porky flavour and a great sausage-to-bacon ratio.
Best supermarket vegetarian main course for Christmas
Gold: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference truffled cauliflower cheese en croûte, £9/750g
Crisp, flaky pastry with a deeply savoury, rich cauliflower cheese centre – you’ll have the meat eaters fighting you for it.
Silver: Waitrose beetroot wellingtons, £6.99/2 (585g)
These vibrant vegan beetroot wellingtons – with their dramatic slice-through – are well seasoned with a deep earthy flavour, emphasised by a layer of sliced mushrooms.
Best supermarket Christmas pudding
Gold: Tesco 12-month matured Christmas pudding, £8/907g
With plump, juicy fruit, a boozy kick and dark caramel flavour, this soft pudding is an all-round winner.
Silver: M&S The Collection 12-month matured intensely fruity Christmas pudding, £8/454g
Choose this one if you want a classic, moist, well-rounded pud.
Best supermarket mince pies
Gold: Iceland Luxury mince pies, £1.89/6 (347g)
Plenty of big fat currants, tender peel and shortbread-like pastry with a lovely hint of salt – all that’s left to say about these cracking mince pies is, pass us the brandy butter!
Silver: Morrisons The Best deep-filled mince pies, £2/6 (weight may vary)
A grown-up pie with a brandy kick, a good mix of fruit, and golden pastry.
Bronze: M&S Collection mince pies, £2.50/6 (318g)
A good, traditional mince pie with a jammier filling than some of the others we tasted, and a moreish, buttery pastry case.
Best supermarket panettone
Gold: Waitrose 1 classic panettone, £15/750g
A fragrant, light sponge packed with juicy raisins and a lovely glossy crust. Great fresh or toasted and slathered with chocolate spread.
Best supermarket cranberry sauce
Gold: Asda Extra Special cranberry sauce with port, £1/230g
A sauce with the perfect sweet and sour balance, and boozy kick, we could eat this one straight off the spoon.
Silver: Waitrose chilled cranberry and port sauce, £2.19/300g
If you’re looking for a chunkier sauce, try this one with whole cranberries and a gentle spiced flavour.
Best supermarket cheeseboard
Gold: Waitrose 1 cheese selection, £15/500g
A must on every buffet table this Christmas, this standout cheeseboard includes a strong, crunchy Quartz cheddar, deeply flavoured stilton, sharp goat’s cheese, nutty gruyère and creamy Saint Marcellin IGP.
Silver: Booths award-winning cheese selection, £25/1kg
It’s hard to believe this artisan cheeseboard is from a supermarket and not a cheesemonger, with a ripe, creamy blue, fresh goat’s cheese, Montgomery cheddar, crowd-pleasing Cornish yarg and ripe brie de Meaux.
Best supermarket dessert for Christmas
Joint gold: Co-op Irresistible white Christmas snow globe, £10/690g
With well-defined layers of crunchy biscuit and caramel, this millionaire’s shortbread-style dessert has a well-balanced sweetness.
Joint gold: M&S Belgian chocolate and cherry dessert, £20/1kg
One for the chocolate lovers – cutting through the beautiful decoration reveals pops of cherry and a rich cocoa mousse.
Best supermarket frozen dessert
Gold: Waitrose frozen raspberry and passion fruit meringue wreath, £8/483g
Crunchy meringue filled with fresh cream and topped with sweet passion fruit and tart raspberries – that’s what you call a crowd-pleaser.
Silver: Iceland Luxury black forest layered pavlova, £6/567g
The on-trend black forest flavours in this pavlova are well balanced, with a satisfyingly chewy meringue and an elegant finish.
Best own-brand gin
Gold: Aldi Oliver Cromwell London dry gin, £9.99/70cl
The strong juniper notes meant this was our favourite easy-drinking gin with a smooth, rounded finish.
Silver: Co-op Irresistible London dry gin, £17.50/70cl
Perfect for those with a sweet tooth, this gin has fragrant background notes of vanilla.
Best supermarket Christmas drink
Gold: Tesco Finest PX sherry, £6/37.5cl
Like Christmas pudding in a glass, this sweet sherry bursts with the flavour of juicy raisins. We’ll be sipping on this all Christmas night long.
Silver: Waitrose reserve tawny port from Symington Family Estates, £13.99/75cl
The deep flavour of this port leaves a smooth, lingering finish. Make sure to leave a glass out for an appreciative Mr Claus.
Bronze: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Irish cream liqueur, £12.50/1 litre
Smooth, creamy and super indulgent, this rich tipple is incredibly drinkable.
How we chose the best Christmas product winners
The olive team selected 16 categories (some new for this year) having researched which products you, our readers, would be most likely to buy to make Christmas entertaining hassle-free. The supermarkets then selected the products they wanted to nominate (we only allowed them one entry per category, so they had to choose carefully).
Every product was prepared according to the pack instructions – just as you would at home – and our expert panel of judges blind-tasted them, rating each on taste, texture and appearance. We then awarded gold, silver and bronze awards to our favourites – in one category, where the standard was very high, we agreed to award joint winners.
It’s easy to find the products, just look out for this label in supermarkets