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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Consumer Panel - Barm Brack

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It's Halloween and our consumer panel is here to give us their verdict on the best shop bought barm bracks.

1. Niamh Craven

2. Victoria Doyle

3. Wally Sheridan

Each panelist has been asked to rate each barm brack taking the following points into consideration

. Taste
. Texture
. Fruit Content
. Ring / other prizes: was it good or just a piece of tin!
. Shape
. Packaging
. Price and value
. Marks out of 5


Superquinn - Halloween Brack (freshly made on site) - €3.99
Super Valu - Stafford (Wexford made) - €2.99
Dunnes Stores (own brand) - €1.65
Aldi - Irwins - €0.99

The Results are: (All out of 20)
1st Place -16 points - Aldi Iriwin's Barm Brack
2nd Place -13 points - SQ Barm Brack
3rd Place - 12 points - SV Barm Brack
4th Place - 8 points - Dunnes Barm Brack

So the winner is.. Aldi's Irwins!!

We will chat with the four panelists about what they thought of each of the barm bracks. At the end we will tell the viewers the results starting with last place going to first.
Superquinn Own

Wally Sheridan
. No list of ingredients
. A lot of cinnamon
. Bit dry
. Haven't found the ring yet
. Too expensive
. 3 out of 5

Jayne Homan
. Lovely brack, big, sticky and nice spicy taste.
. My daughter loved the ring!
. Looked quite dry but lovely spread with butter.
. Nice circular shape.
. No packaging apart from Superquinn paper bag.
. Quite expensive, so
. 3/5

Niamh Craven
. Texture: Lovely and moist with plenty of fruit only problem with it as it's freshly baked, in my opinion
. It does not last as long as the others i.e. it goes a bit hard after a day.
. Taste: I really liked the taste..lots of fruit with the addition of cherries which helps make it taste all the better!!
. Fruit Content: Plenty of fruit all packed into the brack - nothing worse with a brack than to have very little fruit.
. Shape: Lovely round shape and a very much homemade look to it - with a lovely glaze to the top.
. Packaging: Everything you buy fresh in Superquinn does not come in a package but the lovely glaze on top of the cake makes it very appealing.
. Price: €3.99 - It's a bit on the pricey side..the reason being once its bought it has to be eaten on day of purchase or next day at the latest.
. Marks:
. I don't have issues with any of the rings as they are all very similar.
. 3 out of 5 - Again because it has to be eaten almost immediately.

Victoria Doyle
. Sweet and Fruity Taste
. Moist Texture
. Fruit Content - Plentiful including cherries & mixed peel
. Good quality ring - hard to break, bend or snap!
. Robust Shape
. Packaging - Paper Superquinn bag and the cake was hot on insertion to bag so it stuck to the paper when i took it out.
. Expensive but worth the treat for yourself
. 4 out of 5 - lost a point for the packaging

Supervalu Barm Brack
Wally Sheridan
. Bit too rich, too much fruit, bit heavy, cherries
. Listed ingredients
. Taste ok, not too bad
. Not worth that money
. 2 out of 5

Jayne Homan
. This brack was lovely and fruity (42%) and a nice texture.
. Had cherries throughout which gave it a nice appearance.
. One of the bigger bracks 480grams.
. Included a ring which was completely bent out of shape.
. Very colourful packaging. Loved the Halloween sticker on the packaging.
. 4 out of 5

Niamh Craven
. Firstly to give them a plug I love their bread so when I saw the brack I was delighted and it stood up to the mark..!!
. Taste & Texture: Beautiful both in taste and texture..!! I would have eaten it all if my stomach would of let me!!
. Packaging: Very Halloween looking - great packaging..
. Price - €2.99 - I think it is well worth it and I would pay it for the brack..!! Also a sticker on packed to say it is on special offer at that price so it would catch your eye.
. Ring very standard.
. 4/5 again, as with one above I don't think this brack lacked anything..only reason it lost a point was two of the others gave Nutritional info on packet..not a big deal but some people might like to see it.

Victoria Doyle
. Taste - Bland and bread like
. Texture -Dry
. Fruit content - Very little variation of fruit
. Ring - same old same old
. Shape - Good round shape and bigger than the rest at 480g
. Packaging - Nice bright Hallowe'en orange colours
. Price - Not really worth it at €2.99 and that was on special offer
. 2 out of 5 because of the price expensive for what you get

Dunnes Stores (own brand) Barm Brack
Wally Sheridan
. Very dry, didn't like it
. Ok fruit levels, could have done with a bit more
. Found the ring, wouldn't have a clue about jewellery, maybe kids would like it
. Not worth the money
. 1 out of 5

Jayne Homan
. This was a light brack with a spicy taste.
. Not a lot of fruit content.
. Ring included.
. Suitable for vegetarians.
. Plain packaging.
. Could be jazzed up a little to get into the spirit of things.
. Very good value for money
. 3 out of 5

Niamh Craven
. Texture & Taste: Very dry both in texture & taste, not a lot to say about this brack, I did not like it.
. Fruit Content: Not a lot of fruit - no cherries, which I feel added to the dryness of this brack..Also it was not glazed on the top which left it looking dry and dull looking!!
. Packaging: Very plain it said Halloween Brack but had no real colour..
. Price - €1.99 - Very reasonably priced could not argue with that.
. Shape: Lovely round shape..
. Ring: When I opened the packaging I could see the ring immediately which personally was a good thing as I have two daughters who literally tear bracks apart to find the ring. So this time I was able to cut where I saw it. Lovely goldlike colour. No faults.
. 2 out of 5 - Very plain if I walked into the shop it would not jump out at me..also poor in taste..

Victoria Doyle
. Hard to taste the fruits for the spice content
. Texture - Doughy
. Fruit Content - Poor distribution of fruit, some slice with little or no fruit in them
. Ring - Same old one every year boring and this one had quite sharp edges on it where its is cut to expand
. Shape - Nice and round, easy to cut
. Packaging - Average, label quite dull doesn't jump out at you to buy
. Price - Cheap and it's clear in the taste and texture
. 2 out of 5 - overall it was poor quality in all the categories

Aldi - Irwins Barm Brack

Wally Sheridan
. Really liked it, texture was unbelievable, he'd eat the whole lot of it
. Nice and soft, not dry, more moist, though not a lot of fruit
. His daughter loved it and Wally
. Great value
. 4 out of 5

Jayne Homan
. This tasted yummy.
. Nice soft texture.
. Recommends toasting and spreading with butter which I did. Lovely either way.
. Also suitable for vegetarians.
. Excellent value at 99 cents. Included a ring.
. 5 out of 5 for value for money and it ticked all the boxes.

Niamh Craven
. Taste & Texture: This was a lovely brack plenty of fruit and really says on packet best served toasted and buttered no need to toast it..always love butter on bracks..Good one!!
. Packaging: Fairly plain but then unless you are going to put witches on the outside they in my opinion will look plain.
. Price - 99c - this one could not possibly be beaten on price - excellent value.
. Ring again nothing special, but I don't think you would expect to.
. Shape -Lovely and round
. 4 out of 5 - had everything you would look for in a brack and price was fantastic..!!

Victoria Doyle
. Taste - Nice enough but a little bland
. Texture - Good texture, slightly moist
. Fruit content - Plenty of fruit throughout brack
. Ring - Same old same old edges, not as sharp as Dunnes one
. Shape - Good, nice and round
. Packaging - Average, no Hallowe'en packaging apart from a warning about ring inside
. Good value for €0.99
3 out of 5

Bram brack toy's are now no longer included in due to their being dangerous to chew on or swallow but traditionally they all had a meaning.
The "lucky" or "unlucky" ingredients
? a 'gold' ring, the finder of the ring will marry within the year.
? a small coin, to forecast wealth
? a thimble to forecast spinsterhood
? a button to forecast bachelorhood
? The one who gets the pea will not marry.
? The one who gets the stick will have an unhappy marriage.
? The piece of cloth foretells poverty