Food Envy's appreciation for all things salted caramel has already been well documented. When a food is this delicious there's very little that you can add to the equation to get a more positive result. Perfection is difficult to improve upon.
However, this year Aldi are determined to try. An inspired genius from the depths of the supermarket's test kitchen has conspired to create what may well be the most delicious holiday novelty item of 2017. By combining the sweet seductiveness of salted caramel with the Christmasy comfort of a mince pie, Aldi has driven the pastry-mad population of the UK into a frenzy. Truly, this could be a seasonal game changer.
For the benefit of any philistine non-British readers who may not be versed in the virtues of this particular snack, allow us to educate you. Mince pies are constructions of buttery, sugared short-crust pastry, filled with slowly stewed dried fruits and spices. Often topped with clotted cream or brandy butter, they are the ultimate fire-side indulgence. They do not contain meat. Any Americans attempting to recreate British classics a la Friends should take careful note.
The traditional mince pie is notable for striking the perfect balance between sugar and spice. When this classic combination is paired with equally well balanced salted caramel, we're all in for a treat. There is a whole new reason to jump out of bed on Christmas morning. Stockings are so last year.
This is not the first time that supermarkets have experimented with novelty flavourings in their mince pies. It's fair to say that there have been mixed results across the board. Some of the best entries from this year include hand crafted red fruits mince pie parcels from M&S and all butter chocolate and ginger mince pies from Waitrose.
Unfortunately, where there are successes, so too must there be failures. Puff pastry pies from ASDA and gingerbread topped pies from Lidl are just two of this year's less favourably reviewed curiosities. Both pale in comparison to the classic and the caramelised varieties.
After finding success in the novelty mince pie market, Aldi's creative cooks have turned their talents to other staples of Christmas fare. In addition to the salted caramel, the supermarket have also created a chocolate orange alternative for those who like the illusion of healthful fruitfulness with their pastry.
Perhaps most exciting for sweet and salty fans, however, is the prospect of a salted caramel gammon joint. This latest invention proves that meat as well as pastry can hold the key to improving upon the perfection that is salted caramel.
2017 looks set to be a bumper year for those who love a novelty Christmas food choice. As the definitive time of year for all manner of foodie excess, the season rarely disappoints with its selection of indulgences. But, with the prospect of caramelised pies and meats, and with Aldi's chefs committed to pushing the boundaries of Christmassy cooking, there are plenty of reasons for us all to be extra excited this December.