Review of Lidl Mince Pies

On a recent trip to Lidl I found myself in their Christmas section. Now, if I’m honest I didn’t expect to find anything suitable for a dairy free diet. I was proved wrong as their own brand mince pies were indeed dairy free. There was only one thing for it accidentally place them in my shopping basket to try later on as a sweet treat.

I liked the simplicity of the white and gold colour of the packaging. To front of the packaging is a picture of the mince pies pies, one of which is open with the mincemeat cascading out. I just wanted to dive in and give them a try. Onto the ingredients list wheat, sodium metabisulphite, sulphur dioxide are barley are highlighted as allergens. There is also a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by an aroma that I associate with apple pies. I thought that this was little strange as they were mince pies. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. I was the therefore a little confused as to what I was about to eat. The mince pies are a good size. To the top you have a slightly crunchy burnt looking short crust pastry topped with a little dusting of sugar. This becomes thinner towards the bottom. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. I always check this as I don’t like a soggy bottom. So this was a positive.

On biting into the mince pie I got a slight crunch from the pastry followed by crumbliness then a slight doughiness as I reached the bottom of the pie. To be honest I would rather have a soggy bottom rather than the doughiness that I experienced. Onto the filling there was a good quantity of mincemeat coated in what I would describe as a slightly seasoned syrup. The mincemeat filling was slightly crunchy and worked well with the syrup. Sadly the flavour of the mincemeat filling was quiet bland. The only real flavour that I could distinguish was apple. The other flavours from the rest of the fruit and mixed spice just seemed to be lacking. It was not really the mincemeat flavour that I had hoped for.

So would I recommend these Lidl mince pies if you follow a dairy free diet? I am afraid not I just didn’t enjoy anything about these mince pies from their aroma through to the flavour and texture. Sorry Lidl but these mince pies just weren’t for me.

DIY Daddy

Review of Marks & Spencer Festive Classic Tea

I know that it’s a tad early for a Christmas review but I decided to start very early this year. Whilst on a day out shopping at Bluewater my mum and we decided to pop into Marks & Spencer food hall to pick up a few treats. I’ve not tried any Christmas teas so far this year so when I saw a packet of festive classic tea in Marks & Spencer I grabbed a box to try.

Onto the packaging I liked the deep colour of the box red. I found the picture with a single Christmas tree branch above a cup with a teabag hovering above a tad dull. Onto the ingredients Kenyan and Rwandan teas are listed. No allergens are highlighted and there is a no may contain warning.

On opening the box I was greeted by a sealed foil package containing the teabags. I like this as it keeps the tea nice and fresh. On opening the packet I got an aroma of an everyday black tea, nothing special. It certainly didn’t remind me of Christmas. The aroma did not change on my close up sniff test. I placed the teabag in my teacup and added freshly boiled water. The teabag soon infused with the hot water and it changed a medium / dark brown colour. I let the tea infuse for 3 minutes as instructed despite normally having my tea medium weak and milk free. The aroma from the teacup was pretty non descript it smelt like an everyday black tea. On sipping the tea it tasted like its aroma and I was unable to distinguish between the two elements to this tea. It just tasted like an everyday black tea. I was a tad disappointed by this to say the least.

So would I recommend this Christmas tea? As a festive tea definitely not. It lacked any ingredients that you associate with a festive tea. It was just like regular tea in a festive themed box. A bit of clever marketing which I sadly fell for. Sorry Marks & Spencer but this tea just wasn’t for me.

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Review of Chocologic Free From Christmas Chocolate Lollies

This year I decided that I should make it my mission to start my Christmas reviews early. So when I discovered that Tesco’s had launched their Christmas free from range I had to pop in store and find out more. Sadly, a lot of the section was already out of stock. However, there was chocolate and I love chocolate so I decided to grab some to try. The first festive chocolate I decided to try was Chocologic free from lollies.

I personally liked the packaging, simple clear cellophane which means you can tell exactly what you are going to eat. To the back is a white label with the ingredients list. It is clearly labelled as being dairy free and suitable for a vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list with regards to allergens soya is highlighted. There is a may contain warning for peanuts and nuts.

On opening the packaging I was immediately greeted by a subtle aroma of sweetness that I associate with free from the chocolate. I was looking forward to trying this chocolate Santa. The actual chocolate is made up of one piece which was impossible to break into pieces. On biting into the chocolate my taste buds were first hit by the sweetness from the chocolate. Onto the chocolates texture. The chocolate was slightly hard to initially bite into. This soon became smooth in texture and melted slightly in the mouth. I ate this chocolate in one sitting and confess to licking the stick it was on to make sure that nothing was left behind.

So would I recommend this chocolate Santa? Yes I would It is a great value festive chocolate with the right balance of flavour and texture. So if you like chocolate and follow a dairy free, gluten free and or vegan diet give this festive treat try. So thank you Chocologic for producing festive chocolate that I can enjoy.

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Review of co-op Turkey & Stuffing Christmas Tree Tortillas

I popped into my local co-op yesterday to pick up a few essentials to tide us over until the New Year. Whilst picking up my essentials I noticed a stand of festive tortilla chips. I had a quick glance as so often flavoured tortillas are not an option with my dairy free diet. I saw suitable for vegans so grabbed a packet and popped it into my shopping basket. I have to admit to being a tad excited Christmas may be over but I could try these festive savoury treats.
Onto the packaging I liked the purple colour scheme subtle Christmas decorations and the small bright star to the centre of the front of the packet. Onto the ingredients list no allergens are highlighted ingredients and there is no may contain warning. Oh they are also labelled as being suitable for a vegan diet.
On opening the tortillas I noted a faint aroma which I would describe as Paxo style stuffing that I associate with Christmas. This didn’t change on my close up sniff test. The tortillas are Christmas tree shaped and had an even distribution of flavouring noted on them. On biting into the tortilla there was a nice crunch noted. The texture is what I would describe as a regular tortilla chip. This was slightly different to what I expected as they do not contain any wheat and this can often result in a tortilla having a slightly different texture. Onto the flavour to be fair I wasn’t sure what to expect when I purchased these tortillas but after opening the packet I expected them to taste like stuffing. I could definitely taste the stuffing element to these tortillas. It was spot on the flavouring was subtle and not to strong or artificial tasting. I didn’t experience any flavours relating to turkey. This didn’t matter at all. The flavour of these tortillas exceeded my expectations. Onto another positive note the tortillas didn’t leave any greasy or powdery residual on my fingers. This is personally a big bonus for me.
So would I recommend these tortillas? Yes I would. The flavour was spot on. They were not greasy, had a good crunch and didn’t leave a powdery residual on my fingers. Most of all it was great to have a flavoured packet of tortillas that I can enjoy. I know they are marketed as being a Christmas snack, but they have a good best before date and can be enjoyed at any time of the year. It’s just a shame that they are a seasonal treat. So if you follow a dairy free or a vegan diet why not give these tortillas a try. So thank you co-op for producing a flavoured packet of tortillas that I can have.

Review of Marks & Spencer Free From Christmas Pudding

Now I am trying to be more organised with my Christmas reviews this year. As I was in Marks & Spencer I thought I would grab something from their free from range. I opted for one of their Christmas puddings to try.
I personally liked the green packaging not at all Christmas themed but in their usual style of their free from foods. It is clearly labelled as being gluten free and dairy free. Onto the ingredients list egg and almonds are highlighted as allergens. It is also suitable for a vegetarians. There is no may contain warning. It is labelled as not being suitable for nut allergy sufferers.
On opening the packaging I was greeted by the delightful aroma of a rich Christmas pudding. It was stronger than I had anticipated. The aroma of the fruit intermingled with a hint of the combinations of the three alcohols was spot on. I had high hopes for this little pudding. I microwaved my pudding and let it rest exactly as per the instructions on the packet. I placed the plastic tub upside down and gently removed the tub. The pudding had disintegrated slightly to one side and did not keep its round consistency. I was also given one of these puddings by a friend. So I had a second one at a later date and the exact same thing happened. A little disappointing to put it politely.
Onto the aroma of the pudding this seemed to remain the same as before it was heated. This was not a bad thing as it was a lovely rich indulgent aroma combining the rich fruit and alcohol. This also didn’t change on my famous close up sniff test. On placing the pudding onto my spoon it just seemed to disintegrate and loose its structure. The fruit seemed to separate from the pudding. It just didn’t seem to hold its consistency. Onto the positives the fruit was nice and juicy. As for its flavour this was very pleasant. The flavours of the fruit, the lightly spiced sponge and the alcohol worked well together.
So would I recommend this free from Christmas pudding if you follow a dairy free and or gluten free diet? I’m afraid not. Yes it had a lovely aroma and a nice flavour but it’s crumbling texture just let it down. Sorry Marks & Spencer but I’m afraid I have tried nicer free from Christmas puddings.

Review of Sainsbury’s Free From Mince Pies

Well, I’m afraid I’ve been a bit late with my Christmas reviews this year. So my last sweet treat this year is the free from mince pies from Sainsbury’s. So what did I think and how did they compare?
I found the packaging to be a little bland if I’m honest. Yes it stuck to the Sainsbury’s free from style but it wasn’t anything special and didn’t jump out and say it’s a festive treat and give me a try.
Being free from they are gluten free but more importantly for me dairy free. The only allergens listed are sulphur dioxide and almonds. They are also suitable for a vegetarian diet.
Onto the mine pies themselves. On opening the packet I was a tad disappointed they looked pale and unappetising. On positive note there was a nice subtle sprinkling of sugar to the top.
On biting into the mince pie it just crumbled into pieces. You couldn’t eat it on the go as you would end loosing some. The pastry was a little bland in flavour and didn’t compare to the others that I have tried. Onto the filling there was a reasonable amount of mince meat inside. I didn’t really have any festive aroma coming from the filling. The taste of the filling was nice I could clearly taste the different elements of fruit.
I tried these mince pies both hot and cold. I personally felt they worked better once warmed in the oven. I left them for a while to slightly brown the pastry. Would I recommend these, probably not if I’m brutally honest. Sorry Sainsbury’s but I have tried nicer free from mince pies.

Review of Tesco’s Free From Deep Filled Mince Pies

Well Christmas is rapidly approaching and I have been a tad slow with my food reviews lately. One of my favourite naughty treats at the time of year is mince pies. The rapid expansion of the free from market has meant that it is certainly easier to find minces pies that are not only gluten free but are also dairy free, or marketed as milk free. The fist mince pies I got hold of this year were from Tesco. They are also one of the cheapest on the market.

I was immediately drawn to dark purple packaging with a picture of a bear ice skating and the yummy looking deep filled mince pies. The only allergen highlighted in the ingredients list are eggs and they are suitable for vegetarians.

On opening the packet there was a slight aroma noted but not really festive it was a more sweet sugary smell. The actual mince pies looked like they were made from short crust pastry. The pies seemed to have a two coloured tone the top and bottom were slightly brown yet the sides were paler in colour and looked as if it was undercooked. On a positive note there was a nice scattering of sugar to the top of the pies.
On biting into the mince pie there was a slight crunch followed by a crumbling to the pastry noted. I personally found the pastry to be slightly dry but I would personally rather have this than a soggy bottom. There was a generous portion of filling inside. I was able to taste and enjoy the spice elements from the fillings ingredients.
I really enjoyed the flavour of these mince pies but I wasn’t so keen on the pastry. That said overall they make a nice sweet treat and can be equally enjoyed either hot or cold. Would I recommend them to anyone who follows and dairy and or gluten free diet, yes. They make a great value Christmas treat.