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Consider this our gift to you….

We’re a selfless lot at Be Bold.

Nothing is too much trouble, we’re always happy to help and don’t think twice about putting ourselves out for our clients.

So, when we decided to road test a selection of mince pies in readiness for Christmas, we were not thinking of ourselves.

No, no, no.

This was our gift to you.

We would, we promised, grit our teeth, gird our loins and manfully rise to the challenge of consuming as many different brands of pie as possible so that you wouldn’t have to.

I know. Greater love hath no man than this, eh?

That we should lay down our waistlines with three weeks of constant consumption just to make sure you don’t serve Granny the sort of pie which will rattle her dentures on Christmas morning.

Pies were judged on straightforward qualities: Taste, texture and titillation. They had to dance on the tongue, not leave a trail of crumbs all over the office carpet and have us drooling in anticipation before we’d taken our first bite.

And (insert dramatic drum roll here….) we had a clear and unanimous winner.

The pies served up by Jasper’s on Newport High Street topped every single one of our judges’ lists. We loved the fresh, home-made look, the fruity filling and the melt-in-the-mouth pastry and couldn’t get enough of them.

Second place went to Greggs, whose pies combined a traditional look with a rich depth of flavour and crisp, golden pastry. Our only minor niggle with the batch we tried is that they may have been left in the oven for 30 seconds too long.

Mini pies from Doncaster-based Aussie bakers Sargents and discount supermarket Lidl’s Favorina brand were both perfectly acceptable and should pass muster with Gran as long as you give her a decent schooner of sherry to wash them down with.

But the old girl might not be so chuffed with Waitrose’s mini all-butter pies – too bland, we thought – or Asda’s Luxury extra-special offering. The latter were over sweet, with powdery pastry and a metallic hint to the filling.

And so to our wooden spoon. And we promise this has nothing to do with Brexit.

Because it’s the Germans who are bottom of our pile in the form of Aldi’s classic all-butter pies. We thought the pastry was bland, too thick in places and the filling was overpowered by the addition of an extra dash of brandy.

Better to pour the brandy into a glass and raise a toast.

Merry Christmas everyone. And a very happy and prosperous New Year.

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