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Best supermarket xmas buys

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Hello fellow Chounds...I found some amazing florentines in Aldi this week...only 1.99 a box (packaging is nice, too)
Anyone started stocking up on Xmas goodies and who can recommend nice foodie things I'd otherwise miss?

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  1. I will be seeking out the new Stone's alcoholic ginger beer - has anyone seen it in a shop? I also just bought Crabbie's Black extra-gingery alcoholic ginger beer, £1.99 for 330ml in Tesco. Haven't tried it yet though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gembellina

      The Crabbies Black was delicious: less sweet and more ginger-spicy than the original. But at 6% alcohol I felt the effects quite quickly!

    2. Our local Lidl isn't a tremendously large one, but it's pretty decent. I saw a lot of interesting Christmasy biscuits and other things when I was there today. For a long time, they've been selling small boxes of panetone for 99p - very tasty and diet-sized.

      1. I think simple things like a nice pack of Carr's melts with your cheese is always good. & on the ginger front, I think Crabbies ginger wine, which is now available in Tesco's, is far superior to Stones. I agree on the Aldi/Lidl front. You really can get some nicely packaged, tasty, unusual bits & bobs in there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: psycho_fluff

          Is that ginger wine or ginger beer?

        2. Tesco has some Dow's LBV Port at about £7/bottle, which is 1/2 price, so I bought a couple.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robin Joy

            They also have a Rivesaltes Ambre at half price, £4.50 for 37.5cl, which is perfectly nice for serving to family at Christmas.

            1. re: Robin Joy

              Sainsburys are now doing 2003 Vintage Port for £17.50 rather than £35.
              So I bagged myself a bottle.
              Here's the link to Tim Atkins website which reviews this (more expensive price quoted on the site)
              he also reviews other offers.

            2. TK Maxx Has some nice little bits. I Got a stunning, massive sugar & almond coated Galup panetone in a lovely tin for £19.99. Smells out of this world, cant wait to tuck in! http://www.galup.it/en/catalogo_natal... Got this one.

              1. Forgot to say that Tesco have a lovely Pandoro (the ones you can cut to look like a crimbo tree) classic Italian sponge cake at the mo. Very nice & totally worth the money. Its with the Panettone. I served mine with a blueberry, raspberry & brandy couli.

                1. Aldi is releasing some 40 year old whisky at £50 per bottle (compared w/£300 -- their words not mine) which is apparently very good according to the caskstrength blog (excellent blog if you like whisky), and have already released some 24 year old at approximately £24 a bottle which is alleged to be putrid. The 40 year is limited to 3000 bottles so expect lineups on Dec 6th when it is released.

                  More attainable is the Heston by Waitrose Spiced Mulled Cider. I had some the other night and found it extremely sweet with zero indication of it being alcoholic (its 5.5%), but that said, was quite pleasant and will finish the rest of my stash.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: brokentelephone

                    Here are some tasting notes on the 24-year-old Aldi whisky (not by me — I don't like whisky — but by a friend of mine): http://bbblog.org.uk/2011/11/aldi-whi...

                    1. re: Kake

                      Thanks for the link -- your friend sure knows his whisky. Too bad that he concurred w/caskstrength -- I love a deal.

                  2. Anyone have opinions on the various mince pies and mulled wines on offer?

                    Tried the M&S and Tesco pies and really like the latter - can taste the cognac in the mincemeat, and the cherries add a bit of sweetness, very, very rich. unfortunately the pastry is just too sugary. M&S are good, though they only had the one type for sale when i went in last week.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: johnnypd

                      The Guardian has a 'christmas taste test' up today: they seem to be very keen on the Asda mince pies.

                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      1. re: johnnypd

                        I like the Lidl or Aldi mulled wine. I've also bought the mulling syrup from Lakeland this year so will give that a go.

                        Can't help you on the mince pies as I am a mince pie snob and will only eat homemade ones as shopbought ones tend to be too sweet.

                        The Independent did a Xmas pudding taste off last week. They rated "The Proof of the Pudding" one with Alnwick Rum which is available online. Of the supermarket ones, the Lidl mature one did well for price/taste ratio.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I like to go to school and church Christmas fetes and sample the mince pies there. Have found some really good ones that way. I am also a mince pie snob. Tis the season for the fetes around here!

                        2. re: johnnypd

                          Delicious Magazine rated Morrison's mince pies very highly. I don't know how they compare to others, but I've enjoyed the Tesco and M&S ones. Sainsbury's is making a vanilla ice cream with mincemeat (plus pastry crumbs) for this season. That sounds a bit tempting.

                          1. re: johnnypd

                            My opinion on supermarket mince pies?

                            Generally poor quality with fairly tasteless pastry and overly sugary sweet mincemeat.

                            Much better to make your own. I've used a Joclyn Dimbleby recipe for years that uses ornage zest and juice in the pastry. I did make my own mincemeat one year but can't be arsed now - so I buy the best I can find and feed it with sweet sherry a couple of times to perk it up.

                            Can;t help on the mulling issue as I don't drink alcohol and my partner despises mulled wine.

                            1. re: Harters

                              greedygirl's mince pie recipe has been split off and moved to Home Cooking: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/819948

                              1. re: Harters

                                Heston's by Waitrose makes a mean mince pie.

                                1. re: brokentelephone

                                  but puff pastry. come on, that's not right.

                                  1. re: johnnypd

                                    I'm with johnny. Puff pastry mince pies are not "proper"

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      If we were still having 'proper' mince pies they would still have 'proper' meat in them! I much prefer puff, its a matter of personal taste.

                                      1. re: psycho_fluff

                                        Ohh. There's an idea. Does anyone make mince pies with meat in them? Time for a revival!

                                      2. re: Harters

                                        I like flaky pastry myself. I find that the puff pastry pies are usually lacking in the filling department.

                                        1. re: cathodetube

                                          Not when you make them yourself & certainly not mine. :0)

                                          1. re: cathodetube

                                            A 16th century recipe

                                            Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced & seasoned with pepper and salte and a lytel saffron to colour it / suet or marrow a good quantitie / a lytell vynegre / pruynes / great reasons / and dates / take the fattest of the broath of powdred beefe. And if you will have paest royall / take butter and yolkes of egges & so to temper the floure to make the paest.
                                            (Pie filling of mutton or beef must be finely minced and seasoned with pepper and salt and a little saffron to colour it. [Add] a good quantity of suet or marrow, a little vinegar, prunes, raisins and dates. [Put in] the fattest of the broth of salted beef. And, if you want Royal pastry, take butter and egg yolks and [combine them with] flour to make the paste.)

                                          2. re: Harters

                                            I agree that puff pastry is controversial. For my mind the pastry needs to be thin, and very short. And a mince pie should be eaten in two bites, three at the most.

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              Completely agree on the size. The oversized puff pastry ones on the supermarkets are far too large & mostly filled with air & cheap, nasty mincemeat. The only mince pies I'll eat are my own.