Taste test: Independent bakers have the best mince pies
Boozy, buttery, drenched in brandy cream, or simply warmed through – no matter how you like them, mince pies are the traditional Christmas treat.
But selecting the right one is a mince minefield across Norwich with both local bakeries and large supermarkets overflowing with choice.
From Marks and Spencer, the Co-Op and Waitrose, to independent bakeries in Mile Cross, north Norwich and the Golden Triangle – we tasted and deliberated over them all.
And after trying 15 unnamed pies ranging in price and premium, it was localism that came out on top, with two independents – Dozen Artisan and Kett's Hill Bakeries – taking the top two spots, and Mr Kipling's offerings coming in third place. Dozen Artisan Bakery on Gloucester Street, off Unthank Road, was the stand-out winner for the tasting team, comprising Evening News editor Nigel Pickover, reporter David Freezer and managing director's PA Annie Basey-Fisher.
Mr Pickover said with so many mince pies on the market, it was a pleasure to try such a large amount.
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Mrs Basey-Fisher said the Dozen's pie was the only one she ranked top, and said its home-made look meant it could be passed off as your own.
And Mr Freezer said: 'Trying so many mince pies in such a short space of time was a lot harder than I expected and a big cup of tea was certainly needed.
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'But clearly this is not a standard pie, at �1 per pie, but it is well worth the money and a worthy winner.'
Priced at �6 for six pies, the Dozen pie was the most expensive option, but owner of the award-winning bakery Tom Harding, 31, said they use the top ingredients from the butter, to flour, as well as copious amounts of time which goes in to their making.
He said: 'People like come to us an independent because of the service they get, we know their names, chat to them, and they can see us working away.'
His top tip for mince pie bakers is to let the pastry rest and give the baking process lots of time.
Second place Kett's Hill Bakery charges �3 for six pies.
The owner of the bakery, Linda Etheridge, wouldn't give away her family's secret recipe to her pies.
But she said the bakery is renowned in the area for its pie offerings, and said she was pleased to be named the Evening News's runner up.
She said: 'To come above the bigger names is wonderful for us.'