The Good Housekeeping Institute’s Christmas Taste Test is back! Now in its 23rd year, our expert panel has once again been hard at work, trying over 460 festive products from over 130 brands and retailers, to ensure this year’s Christmas feast is one to remember.
Meet the experts
Based in a state-of-the-art testing facility in central London, the expert panel tucked into 32 categories. From pretty canapes and pigs in blankets, to traditional and flavoured smoked salmon, and fresh and frozen turkeys. A new category for this year also includes ready-made starters, for effortless entertaining.
And with the cost-of-living crisis at the forefront of everyone’s mind this year, we’ve also included an exceptional budget buy in every category, to ensure no one goes without.
We’re pleased to reveal that Marks & Spencer is the overall winner of our 2022 Christmas taste test, scooping the top spot in six categories. These include Christmas puddings with a twist, festive liqueurs, veggie and vegan mains, gluten-free mince pies and, new for this year, meat centrepieces.
Read on to discover the top Christmas food and drink products available for 2022…
The Good Housekeeping Institute tried a mix of fresh and frozen whole birds and turkey crowns. Waitrose came out on top for its Free Range Bronze Feathered Turkey (81/100), as well as coming in joint first place with Tesco for faff-free crowns. (83/100).
For those keen on a change, for the first year we’ve also tested the best Christmas meats, including luxurious beef wellingtons, slow-cooked showstoppers and more.
Catering for a meat-free crowd? Marks and Spencer proved popular for both vegetarians and vegans, scoring 81/100 for both its Collection Rustic Potato, Caramelised Onion & Brie Pie, and Vegan Butternut Squash & Spinach Layered Filo Tart.
This year, we hope to entertain more friends and family than ever before, so our expert panel sampled 49 meat, seafood, vegetarian, vegan and dessert canapés to pair with your festive fizz.
Special mentions go to Aldi’s Argentinian Prawn Skewers, Tesco’s Finest Duck & Pancakes, Lidl’s Vegan Mini Crumble Top Vegetable Pie and ASDA’s Extra Special Mini Praline Tarts.
To make hosting that little bit easier, we’ve also tested the best Christmas starters to buy. ASDA excelled in this new category, with its Extra Special Ultimate Prawn Cocktail with Campfire Charred Tomato Marie Rose Sauce (83/100).
For a special Christmas Day breakfast, you’ll find the best smoked salmon from London Smoke & Cure, who came out top for a second year running with its thick, tender slices of sashimi-grade fish (83/100).
For a subtle festive flourish, Morrisons The Best Orange Triple Smoked Salmon (82/100) is triple-smoked and marinated in orange juice, winning first place in the flavoured smoked salmon taste test.
Christmas dinner isn’t complete without pigs in blankets, and this year they are ultra-decadent. The Jolly Hog scored 85/100 for this premium side dish, while Morrison’s kicked Aunt Bessie's off the top spot with The Best Goose Fat Roast Potatoes (79/100).
Christmas doesn’t really begin until you take your first bite into a warm mince pie. The Good Housekeeping Institute sampled 40 classic, flavoured and gluten-free varieties across this popular category.
Scooping the top spot is Betty’s for a consecutive year, achieving an impressive score of 77/100. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Blondie Gingerbread Pies are our top-rated alternative (84/100). Coeliacs will want to head to M&S where they’ll find the tastiest gluten-free mince pie (82/100).
From classic Christmas cake and puddings to show-stopping dessert centrepieces, the testing team were presented with 67 sweet treats to evaluate.
For a traditional pick, the top-scorer in our Christmas pudding taste test was the Waitrose 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding with a score of 80/100. For a delicious alternative, Marks and Spencer’s Collection Perfectly Matured Cherry and Orange Wreath (83/100) appealed to the panel.
Sainsbury’s scored an impressive 82/100 for its iced Christmas cake thanks to a moist, fudgy centre, thick icing and nutty marzipan.
And for all-out decadence the whole family will enjoy, Waitrose took the top spot in our Christmas dessert categories for Heston’s theatrical Giant Cracking Penny (82/100).
The GHI also tried a selection of panettone, with commendations going to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cherry & Almond Panettone.
Get the party started, without spending a fortune, with our best supermarket fizz.
Taking the top spot in our champagne taste test is the non-vintage Tesco Finest Premier Cru Brut Champagne (84/100). Meanwhile, if you’re looking for inexpensive Italian fizz, Tesco came just one point behind Daylesford, scooping second place for its Finest Prosecco DOC (91/100).
Daylesford’s Organic Port (86/100) is our most highly rated spirit in this category, with super smooth notes of black fruit.
In terms of all-out festive liqueurs and pre-bottled cocktails, M&S came out in first place for both. The decadent Salted Caramel Liqueur, scored an impressive 88/100, while the brand's Vanilla Espresso Martini picked up 85/100.
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