Monday, December 19, 2011

Mince Pie Monday

Mince pies are intrinsic to the British Christmas experience. Without them, the Yuletide is just another cold day in December. They exist within the family traditions of some Americans -- especially, I find, Americans raised in the East Coast -- but, for the most part, the fruit-filled pastries are an unknown stateside. Which is kind of strange considering how long they've been around.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the pies date back some 800 years to the days of the Crusades, when returning soldiers would have brought home the various spices that are now standard in almost any mince pie: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc. In those awkward days when the slaughtering of Muslims seemed a good idea and bloodletting was a cure for the common cold, mince pies contained actual meat, thus giving them their name. The modern mince pie is far less unappetising. In fact, I've developed quite a fondness for them.

Last year, I spent several weeks sampling mince pies in search of the perfect one and eventually published my findings on my blog a few days before Christmas. But almost immediately after doing so I found myself inundated with suggestions of other brands I should have tried. So, this year I decided to put more effort into it.

Since mid-September, every Monday night, Jenn and I have been sampling various mince pies and scoring them as part of our daily vlog, in a feature called Mince Pie Monday. Ridiculously, this has become the thing people like most about the vlog. And, to be honest, it has become one of our favourite things, too. Now, with Christmas just around the corner, Jenn and I have consumed our final mince pies and I've decided to put all the results up here.

The pies were judged in three categories: pastry, filling and overall experience. And in homage to the glory days of figure skating (Michelle Kwan, I will never stop loving you) the highest score possible in each category is 7. So, that means a perfect score from a single judge would be 21. In this case, of course, there are two judges, so the best possible cumulative score is 42. Only one mince pie acheived that glory: those made by Walkers Shortbread

Here are the scores for all the mince pies, from worst to best. With each one, I have linked to the video of us judging that particular pie and supplied a random quote from said video.

"Release the mongoose."

"I'm slowly losing my sense of taste."

"It was bad in a different way."

"They seem to make a big thing on the packet about the pastry being fluted."

"Fois gras Thursday?"

"I hope there are no Scottish people watching."

"This just in: wine is nice."

"I was rocking out with the kids."

"It's got booze in it."

"Oh, dude. I can taste the booze."

"I like that your fingers get buttery."

Duchy Originals: 41.5
"You're going to ruin Christmas, because you're going to break my face."

"Who do you reckon will last longer: David Attenborough, or the Queen?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why we don't have mince pies in the United States. Perhaps branding is to blame, because little pies are the sort of thing that Americans can definitely get behind.
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