Budget Brand Christmas – Battle of the Puds

After doing my best over the weekend to work off last week’s taste test samples – I’m hoping a good trek around our local nature reserve did the trick – I’m back in the budget Christmas food saddle today.

On the menu for today’s delectation were Aldi’s ‘Holly Lane’ and Lidl’s ‘Rowan Hill’ Christmas puddings. Both puddings were pretty cheap at £2.99 for 750g, although still around twice as expensive as the Asda Smart Price one I tried last week. However, what I found interesting was that while the Asda one’s basic green and white packaging screamed CHEAP at the top of its voice, Aldi and Lidl’s puds instead tried to exude an image of luxury and glamour. Aldi’s pud calls itself a ‘connoisseur Christmas pudding’, while Lidl’s one says it’s a ‘luxury Christmas pudding laced with sherry and brandy’. Even a Christmas food leaflet I picked up from Lidl last week says on the front: ‘luxury for all -because quality shouldn’t cost you more’. The glossy photos of the food inside – including smoked salmon, tiger prawns and various cheeses – certainly made my mouth water.

But back to my puds. I cooked the Aldi Holly Lane one first – 393 calories per serving – and thought it smelled delicious as I took the film off the top. The texture of the pudding was also moist and appetising. When I put my spoon into it, it actually crumbled, unlike the Asda Smart Price one last week which clumped together in a lump. And the texture of it in my mouth was moist too. It was sweet and surprisingly tasty, although there were perhaps a few too many nuts in it for me. But I found myself going back for a second helping, which is a good sign!

Next up was the Lidl luxury pud – slightly trimmer at 371 calories per serving. When I peeled back the film I thought it looked very tasty and moist, although it smelt darkly alcoholic compared to the Aldi one. On tasting, the texture of it was slightly drier than the Aldi pud and the flavour was very different. You could definitely taste the sherry and brandy. In fact it was much more boozy than sweet in flavour and there was a slight bitter taste to it. But I was pleasantly surprised all round, and if you prefer a boozier flavour to your pud then this is probably the one for you out of the three.

Here are my final scores:

Asda Smart Price pudding – 4/10

Verdict: Little flavour and clumpy, but a terrific price if these things don’t bother you.

Aldi Holly Lane pudding – 7/10

Verdict: Good value and the best flavour of the three choices, although a bit nutty

Lidl Rowan Hill pudding – 6/10

Verdict: Great if you like your puddings alcoholic, good value for money.

Will you be doing your Christmas food shopping at Aldi and Lidl this year?

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3 Responses to Budget Brand Christmas – Battle of the Puds

  1. Christine says:

    Nope. They don\’t carry enough vegetarian and vegan options to make it worth the while trailing to out of town locations that they occupy locally. Also there is nothing difficult in making your own cake, pudding and mince pies in advance which ensures that you know exactly what goes into them and lets you make something that suits the tastes of your family. And if I can cook these things, anyone with a bit of application can do it. But I\’m still a complete BAH HUMBUG person to the commercialism of Christmas. A special meal or even two if required to meet the family merry go round doesn\’t require all of the supermarket in your trolley and enough drinks to stock a pub. Far more enjoyment can be had with one or two days of party food instead of having left overs for the next 2 weeks.

  2. Tom says:

    Quite correct Christine. I made my own vegan mincemeat last year which is simply a matter of emptying sugar, raisins, rum etc into a bowl, mixing it then sticking it in jars away in the cellar. Awesome. Pastry is a doddle to make consisting of butter, four and water. I am a fan of Lidl however, you do need to watch the quality some of their ranges have e numbers and flavour enhancers. As for out of town, Lidl is one of few stores to locate mostly in city centres. Its the only supermarket at convenient walking distance from me. Its an acquired taste but a good experience if the mammoth superstores where you can never find what you want, only what THEY want you to buy, are doing your head in…

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