Christmas turkey meal

Asda takes the (turkey) crown in festive food blind tasting

Here's where to get your award-winning turkey

Asda takes the (turkey) crown in festive food blind tasting
With the clocks going back and the nights starting to draw in, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Which means it won’t be long until we’re all tucking into festive fare and squabbling over the Quality Street in front of the telly again!

But if you're aiming to stick to a budget for Christmas this year, how do you put on a lavish feast for the hordes without breaking the bank? 

Well, according to the results of BBC Good Food Magazine’s esteemed annual blind festive taste test, we are leading the way this year when it comes to taste and value.

An expert panel blind-tasted 160 products from the UK’s 10 leading supermarkets, across a total of 18 categories. 

The good news? Asda came out top in five categories and took the all-important turkey crown for its Extra Special Free-range British Corn-Fed Bronze turkey, costing £6 to £9 a kilo. 

Judges hailed it as ‘plump, glossy and beautifully golden'. So what's behind the success of our turkeys? The Norfolk-bred birds are corn-fed on organic farmland. This clean, cereal-based diet ensures a rich, buttery flavour from the skin and a succulence that makes for a deliciously moist and tender meat. 

Asda also had a very strong showing in the sides and canapés category, in particular winning praise for its Extra Special Rich & Intense Smoked Salmon. The salmon, which is sourced from farms on the west coast of Scotland, Orkney and the Shetland Islands, is hung in traditional brick kilns and then smoked over peat and wood chips for 24 hours to create its rich and distinctive taste. It is then filleted and cured with sea salt and Demerara sugar to give an irresistibly fine flavour.

The panel enjoyed the salmon's 'lovely woody flavour' and suggested it would be especially delicious with creme fraiche.

Another highlight was the Extra Special Cheeseboard, featuring five cheeses. 'Our favourite was the unusual mature Gouda, a modern addition with good depth of flavour, and we loved the creamy blue Stilton and the Red Leicester,' commented the expert panel. 

The Smoked Gammon with Whisky & Ginger Glaze was also highly praised by the experts. 

And if you’ve still got room for dessert after all that, you could treat yourself to a box of 12 Extra Special Frozen Macarons, which prompted the panel to confess that they ‘couldn’t believe they come from the freezer’. 

They described them as 'crisp on the outside and deliciously chewy within', with the hazelnut and lemon versions being particular favourites.

Above: Asda's 12 Extra Special Frozen Macarons displayed on a cheesecake 

‘This year’s results show that you don’t have to blow the budget to enjoy great food,’ said BBC Good Food Magazine editor, Gillian Carter.

‘We always blind-taste all the products so that we judge solely on taste and appearance, and aren’t influenced by the packaging or the retailer’s reputation.

‘The budget supermarkets continue to have a huge impact on the food retail landscape, and this year Asda has really excelled.’

That’s Christmas dinner sorted then! Now all you have to worry about is a faux pas from Auntie Jean... 

Discover our range of seriously special food this Christmas in-store and online.

Turkeys are available to pre-order Friday 18th November to Thursday 15th December. Our Extra Special Cheeseboard will be available from 24 November to 26 December and our Smoked Gammon with Whisky & Gammon Glaze is available between 10 and 26 December.