Need to know
- Our food experts taste-tested 13 Christmas puddings from a variety of retailers, from budget to high-end
- Aldi's Luxury Golden Champagne Pudding and Coles' Finest Luxury Pudding both come with a sachet of edible gold glitter you sprinkle over before serving
- The Aldi pudding won gold in our taste test with a score of 89%
It's the 'It' pudding of 2019 – a juicy, glossy fruit-laden luxury showstopper that's infused with booze and dusted with a sparkling shower of gold glitter.
Amidst a wide range of store-bought puds on offer from supermarkets and independent retailers, there are two gold-dusted spectacles on offer this year, one from Coles and the other from Aldi. Each comes with a little sachet of edible gold glitter that you sprinkle over the pudding once it's heated and ready to serve.
The Coles Finest Luxury Pudding ($12/900g) has been winning fans for a few years already – it's a regal pudding infused with French brandy, topped with cherries, almonds and Valencian oranges, ready to dust with the sachet of sugared gold glitter.
But this year Aldi has come to the table with their own version, the Aldi Luxury Golden Champagne Pudding ($10.99/900g), made with its own budget yet award-winning Veuve Monsigny Brut Champagne, also topped with cherries, and also with gold glitter for that touch of magic.
Tough day at the office: the line-up of foods our experts were forced to taste.
Aldi takes gold!
In a glittering finish, Aldi was crowned by our experts as overall queen of the gold-dusted puds. It received 89%, with the Coles pudding scoring 72%.
The Aldi pudding also came top of all the 13 puds that were blind tasted by our experts.
One of our testers, food consultant Brigid Treloar, says: "The Aldi pud is a bit of glitz, a bit of fun. It's a nice, rich, fruit pudding without being sticky and it's not overly sweet, which I found the Coles one to be."
If you don't have time to do a complicated Christmas dessert, this is a good option.
"It's great value considering the generous fruit topping and it looks a bit special on the table – an easy Christmas centrepiece at a time when things can get quite busy and expensive, and all you have to do is whack it in the microwave to heat it up."
Another of our experts, CWA judge Alison Mutton, says: "If you don't have time to do a complicated Christmas dessert, this is a good option. I ate absolutely everything that was on my plate!"
But if you're swayed by the fancy Champagne hook, don't be fooled. Our experts say: "You can't taste the Champagne – I think it's just a marketing gimmick, although the fruit could be marinated in it…"
The Coles pudding scored a respectable 72% in our taste test.
How does the Coles pud compare?
When compared side by side with its Aldi counterpart, the judges noted that the fruit topping was not as generous on the Coles pudding, and it didn't hold its shape as well when it was cut.
"It's a good product though – it's well presented with an interesting topping," they say. "It's moist and full of fruit, with a good, sweet flavour and a slightly bitter aftertaste." It's also a tad pricier than the Aldi version, but not by much.
Although it's arguable that there's nothing better than a homemade Christmas pudding (you can't beat that dose of love and attention that goes into baking your own, after all), our experts noted that buying all the ingredients yourself, including the alcohol if that's your cup of tea, can be quite expensive. Not to mention the time required to bake and 'feed' your pud with booze in the weeks leading up to Christmas to keep it moist and flavourful.
These store-bought versions are quick, easy and also hit the spot when it comes to flavour.
What makes the perfect pud?
Our experts put both the Aldi and Coles puddings to the test in a blind tasting, alongside 11 other puddings, ranging from high-end to budget. Each was independently judged on:
- balance of spice, fruit and alcohol flavours
- whether there was an even distribution of good-quality fruit ingredients
- whether they held their shape or collapsed when cut (because no-one wants an unidentified mess on the table once the first person takes their slice).
Our tasting panel then gave each pudding a CHOICE Expert Score, made up of appearance/quality of finish (25%), flavour and aroma (40%), texture/baked quality (20%) and mixture quality (15%).