Christmas is truly the most magical time of the year, but undeniably sends us a little bonkers, too.
The season has me watching films with no real plot and scoffing some pretty odd festive concoctions courtesy of major food brands which look so tempting on the supermarket shelves and in your favourite fast food venues.
This year, I made it my festive mission to offer myself up as the ultimate taste tester to find out which festive food items are well worth you spending your money on and which you should walk away from…
Pigs in Blankets Milkshake, Five Guys, £5.45 Rating: 3/10
I love milkshakes an unhealthy amount. I credit them for curing me from every deadly hangover, and for being the only thing in this uncertain world that I can truly rely on.
However, I’m a traditional girl – although I can of course see the beauty of a Biscoff or Oreo version, vanilla and the occasional strawberry are where my heart truly lies.
Five Guys have launched an unusual flavour of milkshake
So, as you can imagine, when I heard the name of Five Guys’ festive offering I was already nervous. I’m the kind of person who, if I tuck into a packet of crisps followed by a chocolate bar, I have to completely cleanse my pallet in between the two with a large glass of water. I’m that committed to not mixing sweet and savoury.
I reassured myself that it would be a bit like eating Smoky Bacon crisps – in that they’re actually vegetarian but just have meat flavourings. I’m glad it wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered that this drink actually contains full bacon bits.
The milkshake was very ‘interesting’
When I tentatively took a sip I felt relaxed as it tasted like my BAE – vanilla, then oh no…
I felt the lumps coming up through the straw and into my mouth and I had to bite down on them to swallow. Nobody wants to be biting on their milkshake.
It’s a no from me, but I appreciate Five Guys’ desire to want to push boundaries. Plus, I had a lovely beef burger and fries to accompany the drink, so it wasn’t a waste of a trip.
It took me a while to set up this photo after accidentally eating a lot of the food pre-shoot
Boxing day curry tortillas, M&S, £1.50 Rating: 7/10
When I first saw the name of this item I was expecting a ready meal (and M&S are fantastic at ready meals – their Four Cheese Ravioli is unbeatable). I thought it would be a wrap with curry inside it. An idea for next year maybe?
I wasn’t disappointed for too long that it was the other type of tortilla, because who doesn’t love a bag of crisps? My Boxing Day consists of leftover turkey, beans and chips, and not really crisps, but I could be open to some new additions.
The crisps were enjoyable
They were nice, not too out there, which was a relief after the milkshake. I was expecting a little bit of a kick, but these are no Dorito Heatwave – more of a a mild korma level instead.
I wouldn’t be disappointed if I got to eat a bag of these, while watching TV on Boxing Day.
Heinz Christmas dinner soup, ASDA, £2 Rating: 7.5/10
This was giving me flashbacks to when my dad sent me off for my second year of university with a £20 note and a full English fry up in a tin.
My standards were incredibly low as a student, but even I couldn’t get through that tin. Luckily I had my £20 to spend on pasta, cheese and Loyd Grossman Tomato and Chilli sauce and a bottle of Blossom Hill to help me forget about the pain of trying to eat it.
Heinz have two Christmas soups so nobody is left out
I’m pleased to report that Heinz putting a whole meal into a can have fared much better. Having a full Christmas dinner on a Monday lunch is quite excessive, but having a bowl of soup is much more socially acceptable and pretty satisfying too. It was described as “hearty” and “yummy” by Drew Barrymore when she tried it (yes, that happened), and I have to agree with her. Celebrities – they’re just like us.
The brand has a brand new vegan version this year. I found it equally enjoyable. Great job Heinz.
Cookie Cup Mince Pies, M&S, £2.50 Rating: 9/10
Maybe I’ve been living under a rock but I’d not heard of this particular mince pie flavour before.
From November, I’m consuming at least two mince pies per week so I was excited at the prospect of adding a new one into the mix and I throughly enjoyed it.
The cookie cup mince pies remind me of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice-cream
It had all the tradition and mince goodness you can expect of this Christmas delight, but with an extra layer of flavouring that reminded me of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough, which is a top tier dessert.
Buck’s Fizz Salmon, Aldi, £2.99 Rating: 8/10
I find smoked salmon so fancy that I never order it off a menu as I believe that the waiter is going to think, ‘You? Smoked salmon? HA.’
So I felt like I’d reached the peak of my existence eating Buck’s fizz salmon on a cream cheese bagel while watching an episode of the Kardashians in bed.
The gold salmon made me feel fancy
While I applaud the fact that Aldi have taken the salmon up a level by infusing it with Buck’s Fizz, I couldn’t particularly taste the beverage. However, the glimmering golden aspect to the fish was beautiful.
If you can’t eat golden salmon at Christmas, then when can you? That’s what Drew Barrymore says!*
*Drew Barrymore did not say this.
Pigs in Blanket Sourdough Pizza, Aldi, £3.49 Rating: 9/10
If you want to make something festive, and incite excitement there is one golden rule that has been reaffirmed to me since undertaking this eating challenge – get pigs in blankets involved.
Aldi have a pigs in blanket pizza
I am a firm believer anything can go on pizza and count pineapple as a staple (sorry to any Italian readers), so this felt like a good combination.
The sourdough gave it a restaurant vibe, and the cranberry sauce mixed in with the tomato added a real festive feel. It’s Christmas in a pizza!
The only issue I had is that the pigs in blankets were so big they had a tendency to roll around, more than I did whilst performing during my contemporary dance A Level. At times it felt like I was eating a pizza with a side of pigs in blankets. We need some kind of food superglue to be invented.
Cathedral City Festive Cheese Toastie, Iceland, £3 Rating: 8/10
You can’t go too far wrong with a cheese toastie so I had high hopes for this one. It’s filled with turkey breast, cranberry sauce, smoked bacon and pork stuffing, which is combined with the lovely Cathedral City cheese which I only treat myself to when it’s on offer.
You can’t go wrong with a cheese toastie
After four minute, 20 seconds in the microwave – which is my ideal amount of cooking time – I was told to wait three minutes for it to cool. As if I could exercise that type of willpower when the melted cheese was glistening in the afternoon sun!
I’m pleased to report that they haven’t been stingy with the meat filling. You may not think that cheese would be good with turkey, bacon and pork stuffing but actually it weirdly works. I perhaps would have just liked it with less cranberry sauce, which can be quite overpowering. But all in all, these people know what they are doing!
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