This year, with just the two of us to feed, we decided to have a relaxing, low-key Christmas. We thought we'd strip it right back to basics and essentially just have a Sunday roast with some different vegan meat alternatives - we usually cook up a couple of Linda McCartney sausages each.
When we looked at the Christmas food orders, we plumped for Sainsbury's. Their range looked genuinely exciting and the ex-carnivore in James was being called to by those meat substitutes. In the end we went for the three options below; No Turkey Parcels, Vegan Trimmings and a Chocolate & Salted Caramel Star for dessert. Here's what we thought.
No Turkey Parcels
Let's start with the parcels. They had a good texture and they looked quite appetising when they got here. While they were cooking, you get this really quite pleasant aroma of paprika and they're quite juicy.
It was all looking so positive up until they landed on our plates. That's where the enjoyment faded. We're not really sure what to describe the flavour of these as. It's certainly not meaty, it's not unpleasant, but it's not a particularly nice flavour either. The fake bacon around the edge brings nothing to the party and the fake turkey just wasn't pleasant for us at all. We both left more than half. We were taught to look for the positives though and if we're being nice the texture of the turkey part, was quite good. Just a shame about the taste. We wish we'd stuck with Linda McCartney Sausages.
No Turkey Parcels Verdict - 2/10
We'll try something different next year.
The stuffing was good! Good strong flavour and quite meaty. They were a surprise given what'd gone before. We'd have those an 8/10.
The Shroompups in Blankets (The fake pigs in blankets) on the other hand. Just no. Nothing about them was salvageable. We had a bite each and left the rest. We say, not even worth scoring - they weren't nice. They did however look like the marketing photo, so there is that!
Vegan Trimmings Verdict - 4/10 Yes for the stuffing, hard no for the Shroompups.
Chocolate and Salted Caramel Star.
We were stuffed on Christmas day - probably something to do with eating the remainder of our Vegan Sleekster from Hotel Chocolat - so this had to wait until boxing day.
We were actually a little surprised with this, but probably because we didn't read the description carefully enough. Both of us were expecting a chocolate and salted caramel cake with some sort of mousse frosting, but it's actually a solid mousse which you pour some salted caramel sauce over.
The 'cooking' process is a little strange: you open the box, remove the pudding which is housed in a hard plastic frame. You place the frame into a bowl of boiling water and it gently melts the edges to give it a nice look and helps you remove the it from it's plastic cage.
It all came out very nicely, looked like the marketing picture and it's really what you'd expect. It was a creamy, sickly star of indulgence. You really couldn't eat much of it! It was nice enough, but we were expecting, and truthfully we'd probably have preferred, a cake.
Chocolate Star Verdict - 6/10
The best of the lot. We might even have it again for a BBQ in summer if it's ranged all year round and cheaper!
The Wrap Up
And that concludes our tale of a Sainsbury's Vegan Christmas. In a fitting tribute to this year, we tried to make the best of it, but it was just a bit rubbish.
Verdict on the whole lot - 4/10
Fingers crossed for a better 2021 on all fronts!