Award winning supermarket Christmas food 2021: Smoked salmon, party food, snacks & starters
It’s time to have a good trawl around the UK’s supermarkets and find the best smoked salmon, party foods, festive snacks and starters. Before I really get stuck in, as you may have already realised, it’s been very tricky to get along to Christmas taste testing events this year. Many were cancelled, and others had limited guest lists, or were held much later than usual, or had issues with supply chains and transportation.
As a result, I’m largely looking at the biggest award winners for 2021. Some of the usual award panels didn’t happen this year, and others dropped some of their categories, but this should piece together most of the best-tasting goodies – and I’ve added in prices and where to find them wherever possible.
I should also mention that there have been far more ‘disappearing dishes‘ than usual this year. From time to time, an item will be announced in summer showcases but won’t make it into the shops for various reasons (supplier issues, ingredient price rises, product reformulation or name changes, to mention a few). I’ve included some of this year’s ghost items anyway, and will revisit them over the next few weeks, updating this page if they turn up.
Let’s crack on, shall we? Starting with the traditional roast salmon.
Best supermarket smoked salmon 2021
This is my roundup of the winners for best traditional-style plain smoked salmon, without any additional flavourings added to it. Some awards have separate categories for salmon with unusual extra flavours, which we’ll come to later.
Best of the best:
Morrisons The Best Triple Smoked Scottish Salmon 200g | £6.00. Buy here (collect from 22 Dec).
Quality Food Awards winner, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended, Good Housekeeping 71/100. Available from their Christmas click and collect Food to Order service from late December. In the meantime, smaller 120g packs of their The Best (triple smoked) Scottish Smoked Salmon Slices are already available, priced £4.49.
Tesco Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon 120g | £4.80. Buy here.
Good Housekeeping 2nd place 77/100. A reliable big supermarket buy with robust, balanced flavours.
Best of the rest:
- M&S Collection Scottish Mild & Delicate Smoked Salmon 4 Slices, 100g | £5.00. Buy here. Good Housekeeping 3rd place 76/100.
- ASDA Extra Special Hand Finished Muscovado & Sea Salt Cured Scottish Smoked Salmon, 120g | £4. Buy here. Good Housekeeping 4th place, 75/100. Already very popular with ASDA shoppers.
- Lidl Applewood and Hickory Smoked Salmon 100g | £3.49. In store only. Great Taste Award 1 star (simply delicious).
- Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite (Yorkshire peat) Smoked Salmon 200g| £4.99. More information here. Quality Food Awards commended. Not yet in stores.
Flavoured smoked salmon
This year, most of the taste-testing panels and awards preferred smoked salmon with additional flavourings over the traditional types. Subtle citrus hints fared best, but a more robust flavour normally associated with beef has snuck into 2021’s top three…
Best of the best:
Morrisons The Best ‘Smoked Salmon with a Twist’, 120g / 6 portions | £6.00. Order here.
Good Housekeeping flavoured category winner 79/100. Triple smoked and marinated with orange. Described by Morrisons themselves in a brochure as ‘The Best Orange Triple Smoked Salmon‘, this elusive winner isn’t listed on their ‘Groceries’ or ‘Food to Order’ sites as either ‘with a twist’ or ‘orange triple smoked’ – but they’ve listed their Food to Order ‘The Best Triple Smoked Salmon’ as approved by Good Housekeeping so I suspect this is the same one (although it might not have orange in it any more).
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bucks Fizz Smoked Salmon, 300g | £13.50, Click & collect (pick up 22-24 Dec).
BBC Good Food Awards winner, Olive magazine smoked salmon highly commended, Good Housekeeping flavoured category 70/100. Lightly-smoked slices of salmon with sparkly gold glaze and very subtle flavour from orange and prosecco. Do not freeze. Also available in standard groceries at £4.45 for 100g.
Waitrose Smoked Salmon Pastrami, 100g | £5.50. Buy here.
Olive magazine smoked salmon winner. Scottish salmon cured with salt, demerara sugar, spices and treacle, kiln smoked over oak, with strong peppery flavours. Might be a bit strong for some people, but at least you can actually bloody buy it at the moment so there we are. If this sounds too punchy, look below at some of the best of the rest.
Best of the rest:
- Tesco Finest Smoked Scottish Salmon with Maple and Rum, 120g | No price info yet. Good Housekeeping flavoured 2nd place 72/100. No sign of it on any part of the Tesco websites, but I’ll let you know if it turns up.
- ASDA Extra Special Blood Orange & Gin Scottish Smoked Salmon, 120g | £4.00. Buy here. Good Housekeeping flavoured 70/100. Smoked over oak and applewood chips, then topped with a zesty marinade.
- Aldi Specially Selected Gin Smoked Salmon 100g | £2.99. Coming soon, more info here. Quality Food Awards shortlisted. Juniper cuts through the flavour of the naturally-oily fish.
Canapés (meat & fish)
The cream of the party food crop this year is mostly fish and seafood based, with a not-so-humble toastie proving popular too.
Best of the best:
Co-op 2 Irresistible Salmon Mousse Pots 150g | £3.50.
Olive magazine best cold canapé winner, BBC Good Food Awards best cold canapé winner. Smoked salmon mousse pots with a creamy sauce, topped with salmon roe.
Co-op Irresistible Sea Salt & Chardonnay Vinegar Fish Rosti Stackers, 9 pieces (303g) | £5.00. More info & buy here.
BBC Good Food Awards best hot canapé winner, Good Housekeeping best fish & chips canapé winner, Olive magazine best hot canapé highly commended. Hearty, substantial canapés with stacks of rosti, flaky fish in crisp batter and mushy peas.
Waitrose & Partners 9 Mini New Yorker Style Pastrami Toasties | £5.00. Buy here from 1-24 Dec.
Good Housekeeping best meat canapé winner. Pastrami beef, cheese and mustard toasted mini-sandwiches, topped with bechamel sauce.
ASDA Extra Special hand wrapped Kilted prawns, 112g | £5.00. Buy here.
Good Housekeeping best seafood canapé winner. Generously sized king prawns, wrapped in smoked salmon.
Best of the rest:
- Aldi Specially Selected Mini Battered Sausages with Chip Shop Curry Sauce, 230g | £3.69. More info. BBC Good Food Awards best hot canapé highly commended. Crisp battered sausages in bite-sized portions with a spicy dip, coming soon to Aldi.
Vegan & vegetarian canapés
M&S Molten Cheddar Profiteroles (vegetarian) 220g | £5.00. Buy here.
Olive magazine best hot canapé winner. Rich and gooey on the inside, crisp on the outside, and easy to eat with your fingers.
M&S Plant Kitchen No Pork Bon Bons (vegan) 220g | £5.00. Buy here.
Good Housekeeping best vegan canapé winner. Wheat and pea protein in crispy breadcrumbs, with a tangy BBQ sauce.
Asda Plant Based Vegan Sausage Rolls Selection Pack | No information yet.
Quality Food Awards highly commended. Three flavours: vegan scheese & cranberry, harissa & chickpea, orange & poppyseed. Another snack, still mysteriously out there in the ether somewhere.
Sweet canapés / mini desserts
This category was missing from a number of awards this year, and the QFAs didn’t award a winner or a runner up. This could be due to a low number of submissions, or supermarkets creating fewer new lines, changing levels of customer demand, and so on.
Asda Extra Special 12 Chocolate Cup Selection 212g | £3.50. Buy here.
Quality Food Awards commended. Frozen food. These might be good for a mini dessert if you’re feeling almost-full after a main course, but still hankering after a sweet treat.
Crisps & savoury nibbles
Asda Free From Wensleydale & Cranberry Tortilla Chips 150g | £1.15. Buy here.
Quality Food Awards winner. Red and pale yellow tortilla chips inspired by the Wensleydale with cranberry bits in it. Gluten free and milk free.
First course: fish
Iceland Luxury 2 Smoked Haddock Gratins 200g | £4.00. Buy here.
Quality Food Awards winner, Good Housekeeping approved. Smallish starters with cheese sauce and smoked haddock that won’t spoil your main course by being too heavy.
Aldi Specially Selected 2 King Prawn & Scallop Gratin 240g | £3.99. More information here.
Quality Food awards highly commended. King prawns and Patagonian scallops in a cheese and Veuve Monsigny Brut Champagne sauce with a breadcrumb topping. Order by 15th Dec, for delivery slots 22-23 Dec.
First course: vegan
Morrisons The Best 2 Vegan ‘smoked salmon’ Carrot & Cream Cheese 260g| £5.00. Pre-order here.
Quality Food Awards winner. Smoked carrot and sushi nori, paired with vegan coconut based soft cheese, basil marinated potatoes, leafy spinach, caper berries and sweet drip pepper pearls. A beautifully-presented starter.
Morrisons The Best Roasted Mushroom Pate 150g | £4.00. Buy here for delivery from mid-December.
Quality Food Awards highly commended. Hearty, rich and rustic, with porcini mushrooms, garlic, thyme and paprika.
There have undoubtedly been tons of supermarket setbacks this year, but I still think there are some really interesting and innovative new dishes and snacks coming into to the shops at the moment. What do you think?
You may also like:
- Best supermarket champagne, prosecco & other sparkling wines
- Best supermarket turkey, trimmings & alternative main courses
- Best supermarket showstopper desserts, cakes, puddings & mince pies