On the red plate, weighing in at 220g, it’s Hale & Hearty’s Luxury Mince Pies. The ingredients list is: Sugar, Sultanas, Bramley apple, Currants, Glucose syrup, Candied mixed peel (orange peel, lemon peel, sugar, glucose syrup), Vegetable suet, Modified maize starch, Water, Mixed spice, Acetic acid, Raisins, Colour (caramel), Orange oil, Maize starch, Vegetable oil, Rice flour, Free range egg, Potato starch, Xanthan gum, Natural flavouring. May contain traces of nut. Recipe and ingredients milk free. Factory may have traces of milk.
On the blue plate, weighing in at a mighty 280g, it’s Lovemore Luxury Mince Pies. The ingredients list is: Sugar, Sultanas, Bramley apple, Acetic acid, Currants, Glycerine, Vegetable suet, Maize starch, Orange zest, Sulphur dioxide, Mixed spice (Coriander, Cassia, Cinnamon, Ginger, Carraway, Cloves, Nutmeg), Sunflower oil, Raisins, Lemon zest, Orange oil, Palm oil, Rice flour, Potato starch, Water, Dextrose, Maize flour, Egg, Sugar beet fibre, Disodium diphosphate, Potassium carbonate, Xanthan gum, Potassium sorbate. May contain traces of nuts and peanuts. Suitable for Coeliacs, Dairy Allergy Sufferers and Vegetarians.
First impressions count, and the first round was all about the look of the pies. Hale & Hearty Mince Pies (H&H) did not start well. There seemed to be hardly any filling, and they seemed a bit crumbly and bashed about. “They don’t look like the picture on the packet,” grumbled Allergy Dad. The Lovemore Mince Pies however seemed perfect, which weirdly just made them look artificial and wrong. They were a bit pale looking too. Lovemore won this round on points.
The second round was judged on flavour and mouth feel. The Lovemore Mince Pies looked good, but they were both bland and too sweet. The pastry was soft and they were coated in sugar. The H&H Mince Pies, despite being rough round the edges, packed more of a flavour punch. The texture was better too. This was H&H’s knockout blow against Lovemore.
As a final test, we offered the H&H mince pies to a family member without telling her that they were gluten and dairy free. She remarked afterwards “I would have never known.” That’s pretty much the gold standard of Free From food, if people, who don’t normally eat Free From, don’t notice. So Hale & Hearty Luxury Mince Pies were the undisputed champ of this grudge match. Have you tried any other brands of Free From mince pies? Let us know what you thought in the comments.