It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas. But which of the high street's festive flavours will bring joy to the world, and which are just turkeys?

Once upon a time, you knew Christmas was coming because the goose was getting fat. These days it's because suddenly everything in the shops has "Christmas" stuck on the front of its name and tastes confusingly of either turkey, bacon or gingerbread – or even all three at once. Not that we're complaining, obvs

 

But when the high street is so big and your lunch hour is so short, how do you sort the naughty from the not-very-nice? We've made a list and checked it … the appropriate amount. Here you go!

 

10. Pigs in Blankets Pringles

Report image

Incredibly exciting for all of about four minutes until you realise that "pigs in blankets" crisps taste overwhelmingly like every other smoky bacon crisp you've ever had.

 

What did we expect, that they would capture the essence of your mum's special bread sauce recipe with a slight hint of cracker joke? Pringles are magic, but they're not that magic.

 

However, if we were stateside then we could be tucking into salted caramel, white chocolate or pecan pie-flavoured Pringles right now – a true crispmas miracle. America, you win again. 

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho

 

Available in supermarkets next month.

 

9. Paul's Dinde de Noël baguette

Report image
Paul Christmas baguette

Via: PR

On the one hand, since when did cream cheese have any role to play in Christmas? On the other, it is about the length of your forearm and liberally filled with cranberry and horseradish. Our verdict on Paul's Chrimbo sarnie is, as our GCSE French exam would have it: comme ci comme ça.

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho

 

8. Byron's Father Cheesemas burger

Report image
Byron Father Cheesemas burger

Via: PR

We're not saying Santa, Mrs Christmas and the elves wouldn't enjoy Byron's double bacon cheeseburger with 'Freddar' bacon cheese, pickles, shredded iceberg, chipotle ketchup and honey-mustard sauce. They almost definitely would. It's just that none of those ingredients have ever in living memory graced a Christmas dinner plate. Where's the stuffing, guys? How about the bread sauce?

 

Still, there's also green chilli mac and cheese and a festive caramel and salted pretzel milkshake. All is forgiven.


Scores on the Claus: ho ho hmm

 

£12.95, on sale until 4 January at Byron restaurants across the UK.

 

7. Pret beef Wellington baguette 

Report image

Pret's Christmas dinner sandwich needs no introduction – we've been seeing those crispy onions in our dreams – but what about the new kid on the block: the beef Wellington baguette

 

Well frankly, we've got beef. Pret, you can't call something a "beef Wellington baguette", get us all salivating madly at the thought of beef in pastry IN a baguette, then reveal that there's no pastry involved at all.

 

What you've got here is a beef baguette, featuring an admittedly very nice mushroom duxelle (that's mushrooms, shallots, thyme, double cream and Madeira) and watercress. If you'd called it "beef, mushroom duxelle and watercress baguette", then we'd have been saluting you right into the new year.

 

But you didn't. You got our hopes up, then you dashed them. Like Santa giving a child a new bike and then snatching it away again. What's festive about that? 

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho (but only because 50p goes to charity)

 

£3.99, available now at Pret branches across the UK.

 

6. Costa tiramisu latte

Report image

Just as you thought Christmas-flavoured coffees were (whisper it) naff, Costa comes along and saves the day by going all Italian on us. It's the Boxing-Day-pudding-at-your-posh-auntie's-house of festive beverages.

 

Sure, the idea of flavouring coffee with a pudding that already tastes of coffee might sound like the world has tipped over into sugar-addled madness, and yes, if you mentioned "tiramisu latte" to an actual Italian person they'd probably throw it back in your face quicker than you can say "Bruno Tonioli", but never mind all that! It's Christmas! La dolce vita! 

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho 

 

Available at Costa Coffee branches across the UK.

 

5. Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns ice-cream

Report image

Seeing as we're in the midst of a November heatwave, Christmassy ice-cream seems not only appropriate but necessary. And even though few Brits can conjure up misty memories of childhood Christmases that involved cinnamon buns (we were all too busy with our selection boxes and tangerines), we can still eat Ben & Jerry's caramel cinnamon dough fest and pretend it tastes just like Grandma used to make. If Grandma was a Swedish expat in an American film from the 80s.

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho ho

 

£4.99, available from supermarkets across the UK.

 

4. PizzaExpress's Brussels sprout pizza

Report image
Sprouts pizza

Via: PR

Let's all take a moment to applaud PizzaExpress for not shying away from proper festive fare. No expecting us to pretend extra parmesan is pizza snow or any of that make-believe. Nope, it's gone the full yule and put sprouts on a pizza.  

 

Available in pancetta-loaded or veggie variants, the pizza is topped with chestnut mushrooms, pine kernels, red onion, mozzarella and the star of the show, Brussels sprouts roasted in garlic and rosemary then finished with an oozing egg. If you haven't learned to love sprouts yet, then consider the rest of the pizza your spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. 

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho ho

 

£13.85/£13.75, available at PizzaExpress stores nationwide

 

3. Greggs's Festive Bake

Report image

And lo, on the first day of Christmas our true love gave to us: chicken breast, sage and onion stuffing and bacon in a creamy sage sauce with cranberry and red onion relish and pieces of sweet cranberry – and all wrapped in a duvet of flaky pastry, the kind so full of festive cheer that it turns your paper bag see-through.

 

That's pastry, Pret. Take note.

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho whoah

 

From £1.50, available at Greggs branches throughout the UK.

Report image

 

2. Joe & Seph's Brandy Butter Popcorn

From the UK's foremost masters of popcorn innovation comes this, a Crimble confection to make your nan's special trifle taste like a teetotal fruit salad. It's sweet, it's buttery and it's laced liberally with festive cheer. The next best thing to eating brandy butter straight from the tub with a spoon.

 

Not that we've ever done that.

 

Scores on the Claus:: ho ho ho ho

 

£4/£5 from joeandsephs.co.uk

 

1. EAT's pigs in blankets

Report image

Now THIS is Christmas spirit. Knowing as they do that the one thing we never quite get enough of at Christmas is pigs in blankets (we're not naming names, but Uncle Brian needs to stick to his allotted portion), EAT has gone the whole hog and created a bucket of blanketed bangers, all for you. 

 

You can even pay an extra quid and put them in a roll – which is officially known as "pigs in blankets in a duvet" FYI. 

 

Scores on the Claus: ho ho ho ho

 

£2.95 from EAT stores nationwide.

Liked this? Then try these:

And for more fun foodie stuff direct to your inbox, sign up to our weekly newsletter