Sainsbury’s III: The Hazel And The Brownie

Brownie Basics

One advantage of living with friends who follow my blog is that they sometimes buy me brownies, like these somewhat-Christmassy chocolate and hazelnut brownie bites.

In a slight break with tradition here I’ve taken a photo of exactly one brownie bite.

Brownie Backstory

I think this is the first time I’ve seen Sainsbury’s do a special Christmas brownie. They’re not entirely alone in doing this of course, but I don’t think these things existed in previous years.

Sainsbury’s has a (bad?) habit of rebranding all-year-round food as being part of its ‘Christmas’ range come December 1st (or realistically, November 1st) which is part of why I’m not entirely sure if this should really count as a Christmas brownie. I’m tagging it that way based mostly on the fact that I’m seeing them now for the first time. It seems like a more clear-cut case than some of the more egregious examples I’ve seen before: a particular favourite is how Sainsbury’s always has a smoked salmon & cream cheese sandwich in its ‘Food To Go’ section, and then whenever the supermarket executives decree it to be close enough to Christmas, this very same sandwich suddenly gets a new paint scheme on the cardboard packaging and is decreed to be a ‘Christmas sandwich’. Uh huh. This attitude spreads out throughout the store’s offering in lots of ways: another example is that all the party food becomes ‘Christmas food’, and so you get to enjoy such traditional Christmas fare as mozzarella sticks, duck spring rolls, and mini quiches. I love all these things but in the kindest way possible I would not associate them with Christmas, which in the West is an eclectic mix of a pagan winter festival and a centrepiece of the Christian religion, and while a feast day is not quite as broad as “just eat all the nice things you want”.

I could apply similar skepticism to this chocolate & hazelnut brownie, but then Sainsbury’s went ahead and covered it in edible gold glitter. That’s totally Christmassy right? Gold is totally a thing that one of the wise men brought to the infant Jesus! This brownie couldn’t be any more Christmassy if it was prophesised to die for our sins around the time of a pagan spring festival. Maybe eating it will fill me with Christmas spirit.

(probably not, I was being pretty sarcastic in that paragraph)

Brownie Points

Taste: I think I would most strongly describe this taste as ‘fine’. Somewhat disappointingly, no real evidence of hazelnut taste. 5/10

Texture: Given previous experience of Sainsbury’s brownie textures, I was impressed with this. It’s not mind-blowing, but it was soft and a little fudgey, and there was a pleasant lump of what I assume was hazelnut in it. 6/10

Presentation: Nothing very exciting. The gold top fails to impress me. And having now eaten it, I’m a bit grumpy about the fact that this becomes ‘Christmassy’ apparently just by the addition of hazelnut to a chocolate brownie, especially when there’s no taste of hazelnut. Is Nutella a Christmas food now? Bah humbug. 2/5

Value: £1 for a pack of nine brownie bites, which isn’t bad when they’re, erm, not bad either. 6/10

Fudge Factor: I don’t feel a pressing need to add any points to this score. 0/5

Charlie Brownie: 19

Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?

Eh, you can if you want to I guess. I’m not going to warn you off these brownies – I ate more than one and was happy enough with that decision – but I can’t give a real recommendation. They’re alright. They’re more-or-less inoffensive. I might be more into them if they just existed outside the confines of corporate Christmas.

Closing Thought

It’s been way too long since I went to a rave.


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