Award winning supermarket Christmas food 2020: Smoked salmon, party, turkey & alternatives
What’s good to buy for Christmas dinner this year? There’s plenty available in the supermarkets for December, catering both to traditional get togethers and smaller gatherings and appealing to more diverse tastes and lifestyles, so there’s something for just about everyone. There are some real bargains out there too.
In normal years I get to go to all kinds of showcases and taste tests, but unfortunately the coronavirus situation has put a stop to just about every event throughout 2020 so it’s mostly been samples getting sent to the big in-house magazines and the major awards panels. With this in mind I’ve collated some of the various award winners to give you a good all round idea of what’s available, although the usual Penny’s Picks are not here for once.
Here, without further ado, are the best supermarket festive food finds. Enjoy.
The classic Christmas starter or breakfast treat. Here’s the best of what the supermarkets have to offer this time around.
- Co-op Irresistible Beech & Oak Scottish Smoked Salmon, £5.00 for 100g, in store only from 9th December. BBC Good Food awards winner, Olive magazine winner, Good Housekeeping 6th place 73/100. Appealing fresh aroma with delicately smoked undertones, hint of sweetness and nice firm texture.
- ASDA Mild and Delicate Smoked Salmon, £4.00 for 120g. Good Housekeeping 2nd place 84/100. There’s a mild smoky aroma, while the flavour is a good balance of salt and natural sweetness.
- Tesco Finest Smoked Scottish Salmon, £4.80 for 120g. BBC Good Food awards highly commended, Olive magazine highly commended, Good Housekeeping 4th place 77/100. Sweet and buttery flavour, with aromatic smokiness, good with eggs.
- Morrisons The Best triple-smoked tsar cut salmon with soy dressing, £8.00 for 283g. BBC Good Food awards highly commended, Olive magazine highly commended. Satisfyingly soft, triple-smoked salmon comes whole, to be sliced at home to your desired thickness.
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Smoked Hebridean Salmon, £4.35 for 100g. Good Housekeeping 3rd place 81/100. Melt-in-the-mouth texture, well-balanced aroma and woody smokiness.
Flavoured smoked salmon
- Booths Scottish Gravadlax, £6.00 for 100g. Good Housekeeping winner 95/100. Rich smoky aroma and flavour, and plenty of fragrant dill. Also in their 3 for 2 offer.
- Lidl Deluxe Beetroot Smoked Salmon Selection with a Touch of Gold, £TBC for 100g, in store only. Quality Food Awards winner. Great texture and a festive gold leaf finish.
- Lidl Deluxe Smoked Salmon Scottish Gravadlax, £3.49 for 100g, in store only. Good Housekeeping 3rd place 80/100. Fresh and light, with a peppery kick and plenty of herby dill.
- Asda Extra Special Hand Finished Muscovado & Sea Salt Cured Smoked Salmon, £4.00 for 120g. Quality Food Awards highly commended, Good Housekeeping 4th place 78/100. Attractive rim of crushed peppercorns, sweet honeyed aroma and gentle smoky notes.
Deli and buffet food
Big parties are definitely out this year, but you might still want some nibbles for a smaller gathering, or deli foods for snacking on before or after the big day.
- Sainsbury’s 16 Taste the Difference Mini Fillet Beef Wellingtons, £11.00 for 540g, from their Food To Order. Good Housekeeping winner. Large golden puff pastry bites with an enticing layer of mushroom Duxelle with Madeira on a chunk of fillet beef.
- Asda Extra Special Pork, Chicken & Stuffing Layered Pork Pie, £5.00 for 440g, serves 6. Quality Food Awards winner from Asda Food to Order.
The pie offered great taste with a good crunchy pastry, along with great value.
- Waitrose & Partners 12 Pork and N’duja Croquettes, £6.00 for 300g. Good Housekeeping 3rd place. Juicy pork lollipops coated in a red, crispy crumb with rich and smoky aroma.
Vegetarian & vegan canapes
- Aldi Specially Selected Thai Roses, £2.99 for 170g, in store only. Good Housekeeping winner, Quality Food Awards winner. Attractive crisp purple and yellow coloured filo-style pastry roses with ginger & lemongrass and turmeric curry flavoured fillings.
- M&S Plant Kitchen 12 No Chorizo Pigs in Duvets, £5.00 for 324g at Ocado. Which? magazine winner. Small sausage rolls with vegan pastry and ‘impressively convincing’ sausages.
- Morrisons 10 No-Pigs in Blankets, £2.40 for 270g. Quality Food Awards highly commended.
- Co-op 10 No Duck Spring Rolls, £2.25 for 180g, in store only. Good Housekeeping 2nd place. Juicy and moist, packed with 5-spice jackfruit filling. In 2 for £4.00 offer.
Turkey, whole or crown
The best reasonably-priced offerings for Christmas 2020, most of which won’t overstretch the average household budget (I’ve excluded the £85+ ones).
- M&S British Stuffed Oakham Turkey Crown, approx £17 per kg at M&S Food. [ONLY LARGE SIZE LEFT] Good Housekeeping winner 92/100. Perfectly golden, deliciously moist turkey topped with crisp bacon. Not exactly a budget option, but just in case you feel like pushing the boat out.
- Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite British Hand-Finished Chesham Bronze Turkey, £8.99 per kg, feeds 8 to 12, in store only. Quality Food Awards winner, Which? magazine best in shop. The white meat is tender and the dark meat is succulent with good flavour.
- Aldi Specially Selected Stuffed Turkey Crown, £16.99 for 1.8 – 2.3kg, in store only. Good Housekeeping 2nd place 88/100, Which? magazine best in shop. A golden crown with crisp bacon topping and herby sage and onion stuffing.
- Asda Extra Special Free Range, Corn Fed Turkey with Pork, Sage & Caramelised Onion Stuffing, £42.75 for approx 4.75kg, serves 6 to 10. Quality Food Awards highly commended.
- Morrisons The Best Bronze Free Range Frozen Turkey, £23.00 for 3.5 to 5kg, serves 7 to 10. Good Housekeeping 4th place 78/100. whole, golden turkey with rich and full flavour.
Smaller turkey options
As most festive gatherings will be different this year, the supermarkets have catered well for smaller tables.
- Morrisons British Turkey Breast Bacon & Stuffing Parcel, £5.00 for 1.1kg, serves 6 to 7. Quality Food Awards highly commended. From their Food To Order service.
- Tesco Two Pork, Bacon & Leek Stuffed Turkey Parcels, £10.00 for 410g, serves 2. Which? magazine recommended.
- Sainsbury’s 4 Turkey Parcels, £18.00 for 1.2kg, serves 4, from their Food To Order. Which? magazine recommended. Pork, sage and onion stuffing, with bacon and butter topping.
- M&S Slow Cook Turkey Legs with Gravy, £12.00, serves 4, in store only from Dec 2nd. Which? magazine recommended. Easy dish with rich flavours.
For some reason I’ve only been able to find one award winner this year, possibly because the panels weren’t sent too many for consideration due to Covid restrictions. Anyway, here it is, and it’s on offer right now too.
- Asda Extra Special cranberry and port sauce, £1.57 for 230g. BBC Good Food awards winner. sticky sauce with chunks of cranberry has a sharp tang and isn’t sickly sweet. Currently on offer for just £1.00.
Pigs in blankets
These seem to get fancier every year, in case you don’t feel like making your own.
- Waitrose No.1 12 free-range pork chipolatas wrapped in bacon, £8.50 for 516g. BBC Good Food awards winner, Which? magazine winner, Olive magazine highly commended. Succulent pork sausages tightly wrapped in crispy bacon, with a fresh sage leaf tucked in.
- Aldi Specially Selected Truffle Pigs in Blankets, £2.99 for 6, in store only. Quality Food Awards winner, BBC Good Food awards highly commended, Good Housekeeping 7th place 77/100. Feels and tastes special, nice truffle flavour, good amount of bacon.
- Asda Extra Special Pig in Blanket Festive Feast, £5.00 for 694g, from Food To Order service. Quality Food Awards winner. Brings a bit of theatre to the table. Includes stuffing too.
- Co-op Irresistible British pork and truffle pigs in blankets, £3.30 for 220g, in store only. Olive magazine winner, Which? magazine 2nd place. Good quality chipolatas wrapped in plenty of crisp, flavourful bacon.
- Marks & Spencer British Outdoor Bred Pork 12 Pigs in Blankets Wrapped in Oak Smoked Bacon, £3.50 for 282g at Ocado. Good Housekeeping 2nd place 84/100. Juicy British sausage meat and crispy smoky bacon, with peppery, woody notes.
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Pig in Blanket Christmas Tree, £6.50 for 330g. Good Housekeeping 3rd place 83/100, Olive magazine highly commended, Which? magazine 3rd place. A large pig in blanket twisted into a festive Christmas tree shape, studded with cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.
Other centrepiece meats
- Tesco crackling gammon joint with maple & bourbon glaze, £16 for 2.8kg. BBC Good Food awards winner, Olive magazine winner. Large bone-in gammon joint with sticky glaze, crisp crackling and soft meat. Good value for money.
- Aldi Specially Selected British Beef Wellington, £19.99 for 1kg, in store only. Quality Food Awards winner. Good texture and good flavour with tender beef, and crispy pastry.
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Beef Wellington, £45.00 for 1kg, from their Food To Order. Olive magazine winner. British beef fillet with chicken liver pâté and sautéed mushrooms in crisp butter puff pastry
- Asda Extra Special Lamb Guard of Honour with sea salt and juniper rub and cassis, £21.40 for approx 1.1kg. Quality Food Awards winner. Good quality meat, moist and tender with great flavour.
- Aldi British XL Pork Crackling Leg Joint, £TBC, on sale in store only from 19 Dec. Quality Food Awards winner. Succulent, tender pork with crispy, flavoursome crackling.
Main course fish
Er, sorry about the picture of the winner from Aldi. Your eye sees whatever it wants to see. Don’t @ me.
- Aldi Specially Selected Lobster Tails with Thermidor Butter, £4.99 for 100g, in store only from 21st Dec. Quality Food Awards winner. A well-presented product with nice chunks of lobster tail. ‘Delicious taste and texture at a fabulous price point.’
- Booths oak roasted salmon centrepiece, £30 for 750g. BBC Good Food awards winner. aromatic, smoky cold salmon side is dressed with beetroot-cured smoked salmon for a touch of sweetness, as well as soft cheese, king prawns and dill.
- Tesco Finest Salmon Joint with Stuffing & Cranberry Glaze, £20.00 for 904g, serves 4. Which? magazine recommended. Scottish salmon fillets stuffed with mushrooms and caramelised onions.
- M&S seafood rockpool, £25 for 794g, at Ocado. Olive magazine highly commended. This hot seafood centrepiece in herby broth makes an easy oven-to-table crowd-pleaser.
Vegetarian and vegan main course
It’s a bumper year for tasty vegetarian and vegan main courses. Feast your eyes on all of these.
- M&S Mushroom, camembert and parsnip pie (vegetarian), £18 for 1kg at Ocado. BBC Good Food awards winner, Olive magazine highly commended. A truffle-like mushroom filling, offset by a sweet parsnip and camembert centre, encased in crisp pastry.
- Lidl Deluxe 2 Caramelised Onion & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets (vegetarian), £1.69 for 220g, in store only. Good Housekeeping winner 82/100. Flaky, buttery puff pastry tart sprinkled with red onion chutney, topped with a thick slice baked goat’s cheese.
- Asda Vegan Yule Log with Chestnuts & Cranberries, £4.00 for 390g. Quality Food Awards winner. Crispy pleasant flavoured filling with a distinctive hit of cranberry that would work well with other Christmas trimmings. Judges also praised the price point.
- Tesco Plant Chef meat-free festive roast (vegan), £6.00 for 476g. Olive magazine winner. A herby, flavour-packed meat alternative with a sweet, shiny glaze to serve with all the trimmings.
- Morrisons The Best 2 Nut Roasts with Cheese Melting Middles (vegetarian), £5.00 for 450g. Quality Food Awards winner. Moist and flavoursome inside with indulgent melting cheese filling.
- Asda Vegan Stuffed ‘Turkey Joint’, £5.00 for 520g, serves 4, from Food To Order. Which? magazine winner. The ‘meat’ has bite and the tasty herby stuffing makes a ‘perfect substitute for turkey’.
- M&S Plant Kitchen mushroom, chestnut and pumpkin wreath (vegan), £10.00 for 720g. BBC Good Food awards winner. Made with chestnuts, mushrooms, pumpkin and grains, this hearty wreath is well-seasoned and has a mellow sage flavour.
- Waitrose & Partners Vegan Festive Filo Swirls, £15.00 for 4 / 968g. Good Housekeeping 2nd place 79/100, BBC Good Food awards highly commended, Which? magazine 3rd place. Golden brown filo pastry with Moroccan-style flavour and caramelised, tangy tomatoes and peppers in the filling.
- Morrisons The Best vegan vegetable star tarte, £5.00 for 390g. Olive magazine highly commended. Herby breadcrumbs and sweet cranberries give this puff pastry, veg-filled tart a noticeable festive edge. In the 3-for-2 offer.
- Morrisons The Best Beefless Wellington (vegan), £5.00 for 460g . Quality Food Awards highly commended. Also in 3 for 2 offer.
What are you looking for at the supermarket this year?
The next article in this supermarket foods series will include Christmas puddings, showstopper desserts, Christmas cakes and alternatives, mince pies, cheeses, sweets and chocolates. After that, hopefully some wines etc too if there’s time.