A whole host of unsuccessful cyclists and triathletes have given their opinion on the best Christmas pud over the last couple of weeks. Most have considered the nutritional value while riding and benefit to cyclists, but are you really going to trust their judgment?
Anna Symms took the time out of her busy race schedule over the summer, to give us some tips on qualifying for the British Triathlon Age Group system. Now, she returns with a review of not one, but two Marks and Spencer’s Christmas puddings. Combined, they will have cost almost as much as her fancy Tri suite. But if they are the secret to success, they’re money well spent.
In October/November Marks and Spencer started stocking their own take on the Christmas Pudding. It’s a swamped market and the competition is fierce. I’ve being eating my Mum’s homemade Christmas Pudding all my life so I’ve got a good grasp of the standard that should be achieved. Marks and Spencer sent me two of their Christmas Puddings to test taste, the “Classic Recipe” and the “Collection Intensely Fruity”, both as individual 100g sized portions. Plus a portion of Brandy Butter, which I left until the very end.
With that – let’s dive in!
The “Classic Recipe” pud is the festive red one on the left. A no fuss design on the box with the classic M&S logo. The “Collection Intensely Fruit” pud is the eye-catching gold one on the right, complete with italic font to add that certain je ne sais quoi. The packaging of the Collection has a more classy and upmarket feel to it than the Classic, it’s definitely the more eye-catching of the two.
Once we crack open the cardboard casing we find both the puds are wrapped in red and gold foil. It’s pretty easy to get past the foil, good for when you’re back from that long cold winter ride and your fingers aren’t working properly. Past the foil and you’re down to little plastic pots containing the actual fruity pudding goodness. Again the Collection pud looks all the more classy in its little black pot.
There are three cooking options on the packing; microwave, steam and boil. The latter two take 30 minutes. Not the option for the hungry cyclist/triathlete. So I opted for the microwave option. All you have to do is pierce the plastic film over the puddings and pop it into the microwave for 50 seconds, with 2 minutes resting time. Instant satisfaction after that tough training session. Here are the puddings after they’ve been lovingly cooked.
Both the Classic and the Collection look similar once cooked and in the dishes. But on closer inspection the Collection looks much more appealing, it falls apart a bit more and looks like it has been cut-off a bigger pud. The Classic has a bit of a plastic, out of a pot, look. Which it is.
Here’s a picture of me tucking into the Collection pud, in my GB trisuit, attempting to devour a spoonful of pud in a Greg Wallace style. The Classic was quite a stodgy pud, and unfortunately you couldn’t really taste the booze, and apparently there was lashings of cider, rum and sherry. Disappointing for your booze guzzling off-season triathlete. The Collection pud was far more boozy (YES) from the brandy, Cognac, port and stout. Plus there was the added crunch of nuts. I then added some Brandy Butter to both. This was a hit of brandy and sweetness.
The “Collection Intensely Fruity” Christmas pud is the stand out pud. It is much easier to eat, very important to consider when you need to re-fuel after training. The booze taste oozes out of it, and at the end of the day that is all every triathlete and cyclist I know really cares about.