Best Mince Pies in South Africa in 2023

It’s that time of the year again when mince pies hit all the shelves of supermarkets across South Africa. This year we roped in the entire office to participate in a mince pie tasting to see which pie is the best pie of 2023.

The contenders for traditional mince pie are:

  • Spar baked in-store Mince Pie
  • Spar Festive Fruit Mince Pies
  • Checkers Traditional Mince Pies
  • Woolworths Fruit Mince Pie
  • Pick n Pay Deep Filled Mince Pie
  • Fournos Mince Pie

The contenders for non-traditional mince pie are:

  • Woolworths Clemingold Mince Pie
  • Pick n Pay Honey Burst Mince Pie
  • Pick n Pay Brownie Mince Pie
  • Pick n Pay Blueberry Mince Pie
  • Checkers Blueberry Mince Pie
  • Checkers Apple Crumble Mince Pie
  • Fournos Puff Pastry Mince Pie

Mince pies were scored on the following categories:

  • Looks
  • Filling taste
  • Pastry taste
  • Pastry texture
  • Overall experience

After tasting, all participating staff members would score the mince pie. The scores were averaged and the results crunched. We selected a few people to provide some additional commentary.

UnwillingParticpant98/ MincePieHater98: No, stop, just stop, please.

On with the tasting:

Traditional Mince Pies

Embrace ERP Traditional Mince Pies.jpg

Spar Baked In-Store (1st in Traditional Category) R5.50 per pie

We bought these from Rivonia Spar, and while we weren’t expecting much, they took 1st in the traditional mince pie category.

Score: 6.33/10

ButterLover: Simple and attractive. Not made with butter though.

MincePieHater98: Tricked me with its good looks.

Toast: Decent, sweet but no distinct flavor.

Spar Festive Fruit Mince Pies R7.67 per pie

These were very delicate and we could barely get one on the plate in one piece for presentation judging. (Ok ok.. we couldn’t get it there in one piece which probably affected the score).

Score: 5.1/10

ButterLover: Too delicate. Disintegrates in your mouth instantly. Also not made with butter.

DontTrustMe: Crumbly.

Toast: So crumbly. Just tastes powdery.

Silver: So dry.

MincePieHater98: Deceptively good-looking pie.

Checkers Traditional Mince Pies (3rd in Traditional Category) R7.50 per pie

These came in three varieties which were marked with a tick depending on which they were. Our shoppers found that choosing based on the looks of the pastry was far more reliably than the tick mark. These were marked traditional and looked traditional despite the blueberry notes our tasters noticed.

Score: 5.42/10

ButterLover: The pastry looked very unappetising, hard, and dry, but was surprisingly good. It had a different fruity flavour.

Toast: Tastes of blueberry.

M: A bit dry.

Silver: You can’t have this without a drink.

MincePieHater98: Very deceptive looks…

Woolworths Fruit Mince Pies (2nd in Traditional Category) R9.17 per pie

Score: 5.9/10

Silver: Some nice spice blends with some savoury notes.

Toast: Tastes like apple…

MincePieHater98: Tricked by the looks again.

ButterLover: Different interesting spice notes and very slightly tough.

Pick n Pay Deep Filled R9.17 per pie

Score: 5.35/10

ButterLover: Doesn’t taste like butter…

MincePieHater98: I’m kinda unhappy right now.

Megladon: Tasty, but a bit too much filling and a bit sweet.

BraaiMan: Gross. Marmalade taste.

DontTrustMe: Crumbly.

Fournos Traditional Mince Pies R7.50 per pie

We got our mince pies from the Fournos in Woodmead.

Score: 5.33/10

Silver: Can really only taste the pastry.

ButterLover: Mild taste

Traditional Mince Pie Results

Spar Baked In-Store 6.64 6.27 6.26 6.33 R5.50
Woolworths Fruit Mince Pies 6.67 5.66 5.81 5.9 R9.17
Checkers Traditional Mince Pies 5.07 5.54 5.33 5.42 R7.50
Pick n Pay Deep Filled 6.89 4.8 5.25 5.35 R9.17
Fournos Traditional Mince Pies 6.69 4.8 4.8 5.33 R7.50
Spar Festive Fruit Mince Pies 4.5 5.38 5.12 5.1 R7.67

*We’ve simplified the results. Pastry is comprised of pastry texture, pastry taste and pastry/filling ratio, while flavour is both the filling flavour on its own, and as a whole with the pastry. Overall is an average of those original values and not the ones in this table.

Non-Traditional Mince Pies

Embrace ERP Non Traditional Mince Pies.jpg

Woolworths Clemingold (2nd in Non-Traditional Category) R10 per pie

Score: 6.12/10

Toast: There was a nice crunch to the pastry.

ButterLover: Too much pastry, but it was crunchy. Had a nice mild citrus taste.

Silver: Really nice citrus notes.

Megladon: A bit sweet but very nice.

Pick n Pay Honey Burst R12.50 per pie

Score: 5.82/10

ButterLover: The pastry was hard and not made with butter.

Silver: This was the chewiest mince pie.

Pick n Pay Brownie R11.25 per pie

Score: 5.77/10

DontTrustMe: The pastry was hard and too dominating.

Toast: Stodgy and doesn’t taste like much.

Silver: Barely tasted like anything.

Megladon: Quite dry. Very unbalanced and too much pastry.

Pick n Pay Blueberry (1st in Non-Traditional Category) R11.25 per pie

Score: 6.65/10

Silver: The best-balanced flavor of the bunch.

M: Slightly mushy.

Megladon: Buttery pastry, but a bit soft.

BraaiMan: Doughy pastry.

Checkers Blueberry R7.50 per pie

Score: 5.68/10

Toast: Flavor not for me. Very different spice.

ButterLover: Piney taste? Pretty good if that doesn’t put you off.

Silver: Very piney tasting.

Megladon: Gross.

Checkers Apple Crumble (3rd in Non-Traditional Category) R7.50 per pie

Score: 6.01/10

Toast: Not the best pastry texture. A bit gluey.

Silver: Strange aftertaste.

ButterLover: Pastry was quite soft. Nice apple taste.

BraaiMan: Doughy.

Fournos Puff Pastry R7.50 per pie

Score: 5.98/10

ButterLover: Hardly any filling, but quite a good spicy kick to it.

Silver: Very different from the others, but still a mince pie.

M: Very nice, but a little small.

Megladon: Strange filling taste.

Traditional Mince Pie Results

Pick n Pay Blueberry 6.04 7.17 6.39 6.65 R11.25
Woolworths Clemingold 5.75 6.36 6.02 6.12 R10
Checkers Apple Crumble 7.07 5.85 5.86 6.01 R7.50
Fournos Puff Pastry 6.87 5.71 5.86 5.98 R7.50
Pick n Pay Honey Burst 6.82 5.55 5.66 5.82 R12.50
Pick n Pay Brownie 7.61 5.42 5.41 5.77 R11.25
Checkers Blueberry 7.11 5.30 5.90 5.68 R7.50