The festive season is almost upon us and the supermarket shelves are quickly being filled with treats to tempt us. I really love a mince pie and before I had to change to a gluten free diet, I favoured Greggs each year. Luckily I found that there are loads of gluten free options out there with supermarkets all stocking their own range Not knowing where to start, it was only right that I rope in my colleagues to road test them for you. It was tough, but we have done the hard work for you.
I bought what was widely available – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and M&S. All come in packs of 4 for £2.50, except for Sainsbury’s which are just £2.00. I purposely excluded Asda as the mince pie I tried last year is still memorable, for all the wrong reasons. I was not going to inflict them upon my colleagues. Waitrose didn’t have any gluten free mince pies in stock. Waitrose – you snooze, you lose!
We tested these blindly. No one (except me of course) knew where they were from and how much they cost. We considered appearance, the pastry and the filling, then marked each out of 10 so that there was a total of 30 points up for grabs per pie.
The top scorer was (insert drumroll…..) M&S. These had a crisp buttery pastry, the star on top was pretty and the filling was fruity and generous. I’ll agree that these were my favourite, but note that the pastry isn’t “long life” so check the expiry dates before storing. These also come in small packs of two in some stores which is great for singles, like me, who would otherwise have to eat the whole pack and have party dresses to consider.
In second place we have Aldi. It was accepted that the appearance was lacking, though I think they could be passed off as homemade with a dusting of icing sugar. They had a thick but crisp pastry, they were generously filled, though we noted a bit of an artificial aftertaste. Personally, I wouldn’t buy again given the price is the same as M&S but I think these would be a good candidate if you like your mince pie oven-heated.
In third place is Sainsbury’s. Now, the pastry here scored pretty highly with many noting they could not differentiate between a regular mince pie and its gluten free counterpart. But, Sainsbury’s have really let themselves down with their filling – artificial, too sweet and well, I won’t buy again. For non-traditionalists, these are also available with an icing topping.
In last place is Tesco. Tesco, what has happened here? One of my favourite supermarkets for “Free From” products, really innovative and forward thinking, but these were just plain awful. I don’t think anyone finished what I gave them. What must the office cleaner have thought when emptying half-eaten mince pies from 8 different bins? Very low marks for pastry and filling, average for appearance. These will be joining Asda on my “never again” list.
So there you have it, an honest run down of what is out there. Thank you very much to my colleagues for their help!
On a final note I will mention another mince pie contender that I urge you all to try- the Costa Coffee gluten free mince pie. Individually wrapped and available near the counter, these are oversized, labelled as a tart rather than a pie and are very hefty on calories. But soooo worth every calorie. They have a pretty star on top, are vegan and are better than Greggs.
Let me know if you have tried any or suggest any other brands you think I may like. I’ll be adding new finds to my instagram often leading up to Christmas, give me a follow @sionedldn