£12.99 from Selfridges, London
The Christmas season is upon us once again making us wonder where the hell the rest of the year went as we emerge from a second national lockdown, shielding our malnourished eyes from the dazzle of fairy lights and seasonal Xmas glitter – because if the birth of Christ himself has taught us anything, the man loved a party and loved his tinsel.
Along with the same ten Christmas songs on repeat and the burning cold of a misty London day, mince pies start their ascension from the depths of our collective memory to adorn every inch of prime retail-shelving estate. Sat on a super prime retail shelf in the depressingly comic Selfridges (the patrons, not the store itself…but that’s for another time) was Melrose and Morgan’s Mince Pies at an eye-wateringly astronomical price of £12.99.
Last week, I splashed out and got six mince pies from Tesco for £1 (87p outside of London). For the price of a box of Melrose and Morgan Mince Pies, I could’ve got 77.94 units of mince pies from Tesco instead of just twelve. I Googled ‘Melrose and Morgan Mince Pies’ on Google and clicked the first link that came up to see if I got insanely stung on price – I was presented with this;
After some deep soul-searching and seeing the face of my angelic wife melt as I became my father and moan at the price, I accepted that it’s Christmas time and with a price like £12.99 for twelve (I still can’t get over it), they must be more than capable of knocking me out with pure Christmas joy.
The back of the box reads, “Our great taste award-winning mince pies have attained a hero status in our London shops.“
I’m not sure if the company itself saying that their own product has reached a hero status in their own London shops is anything other than, ‘We have nothing to write about here…shall I just make some bullshit up?’ For example;
My amazingly researched and totally non-biased reviews have reached a mythical and legendary reputation on my website, of which is full of my reviews that I did, on a website I own, that I made myself.
…although that’s not bullshit but you get what I mean. Again, they did only say that the status of hero was appointed to these pies from within the boundaries of their own dominion. I did a review on mince pies from all sorts of places a few years ago but I guess they either didn’t exist, or I was too broke to get a box.
Nonetheless, it was time to open the premium-priced but mundanely-standard plastic wrapping to try one of these daringly-expensive mince pies. And while I’m at, it for all of you that aren’t from or live in the U.K, mincemeat pies, or mince pies, are a festive fruit and spice filled sweet treat cased within a buttery pastry. Super sweet, and super sickly. The name ‘mincemeat pie’ does make you think that it’s a tiny meat pie but fear not.
I took the size S treat and sniffed it expecting dusty memories to bloom within my mind of a more innocent time. The unknowing magic of Christmas Eve as a child, perched by the window watching the snow fall from the heavens as the Christmas tree pulsates it’s charming disco lights across the living room in slow motion, sitting on a Debenhams store Santa’s moist lap asking for a Scalextric set to unwrap on the big day…that kind of misguided happiness. Instead, all I got was a smell of plastic.
By this point, my wife had already eaten three (£3.24 worth) so I thought something must be good as she usually hates mince pies. I bit mine in half (£0.54p) and emulated a proper food critic by pretending I knew how to correctly eat something with a review in mind. Yet, all that I could think of was all the disappointment I ever caused myself throughout my life.
The greasy pastry, supposedly being infused with vanilla, was like compacted air in the sense that it didn’t taste or invoke anything in me, apart from the thought of how they got the air to hold itself in a structure. The homemade mincemeat filling was the opposite of the Nat King Cole song, Unforgettable. As I’m writing this, I can’t even remember anything about it – there’s one left from the initial tray opened around fifteen minutes ago but really don’t want it. If this was any other mince pie from anywhere else, all of the pies would’ve been eaten from existence already.
I get that commercial food products that fly off the conveyer belt at 400 units per second and are made by machines with no human love added, and I understand that ‘homemade’ and artisanal products are usually more ‘real’ , but sugar is real right? So where the hell is it? Of course, they’ll be a select group of people who’ll buy/serve these mince pies and coo about how amazing they are so as to justify spending a bit of their inherited millions on the pointless pies. I’m all for paying a bit more for quality and helping out local brands, but £12.99 for this is unreal when the difference between these particular pies and Marks and Spencer’s top tier ones for £3 favours the retail juggernaut by way of taste, price and less wasteful packaging. Melrose and Morgan together created one of the most blandest mince pies that I truly think we’ll ever know.