A Food24 Taste Test journey through the buttery, garlicky goodness of store-bought garlic bread.
Whether paired with soup, pasta or a grand braai-day feast, a buttery, garlic-filled baguette has the power to enhance any meal!
Wrapped in foil for that rustic touch, ready to be warmed in the oven or grilled over hot coals during a braai, this unassuming side dish complements a wide range of meals. If you prefer the convenience of store-bought options, it’s a simple, carb-loaded treat that never disappoints.
When it comes to store-bought versions, not all buttery garlic baguettes are created equal. Some feature a generous layer of butter between each slice, while others opt for margarine. Some exude a subtle garlic essence, while others burst with robust herbal flavours. The choice of baguette texture also varies, ranging from super crispy to delightfully fluffy. It’s important to note that there’s no “wrong” version, as our preferences for garlic bread are as unique as we are!
So, we conducted a Taste Test of five different garlic baguettes from top retailers across South Africa to determine the best option for your upcoming Heritage Day celebrations.
The tasting team was asked to blind taste all five samples, looking at factors such as flavour and texture.
We also asked tasters how much they would be willing to spend on a single garlic bread baguette – 60% said they were happy to pay R30, 30% said R40 and only 10% said R50.
All the samples proved to be quite enjoyable, with each offering varying degrees of garlic, butter and herbal goodness, resulting in a closely contested Taste Test.
Garlic breads ranked according to the Food24 Taste Test
1. Pick n Pay Garlic & Parsley Baguette
Tasters found the baguette to be perfectly crisp on the outside with a satisfyingly soft, buttery garlic middle. Tasters were also happy with the overall flavour this sample delivered, but what really pushed this heat-and-eat garlic-and-parsley baguette into the lead was how fresh and fluffy the baguette was.
Coming in at R39.99, this sample also falls within the price range that the tasting team said they were happy to spend on a store-bought garlic baguette.
Comments tasters left: “Love this sample. No complaints about it,” and “Love, love this sample. Buttery, garlicky and a bit herby. The bread was so fluffy, fresh with a crispy crust. Best sample in my opinion,” and “This one has very soft centre that complements the bread perfectly.”
2. SPAR Garlic Bread
This sample came in a close second, only because tasters felt it could have delivered a little more on the garlic notes. But despite coming in second, it was actually the sample all tasters said they would 100% buy again!
Comments tasters left: “Super buttery and delicious. Crisp with a soft, buttery middle. Subtle on the garlic front, though, which I actually prefer, and herbs aren’t overpowering,” and “It has just the perfect amount of butter and herbs with a nice crisp to it,” and “I would have liked more garlic to come through.”
This sample cost R28.99, so it also makes it a garlic-approved value buy that falls within the tasting team’s price range.
This sample was purchased at the Vredehoek Spar in Cape Town. Garlic baguettes made in-house at a Spar near you might vary slightly.
3. Checkers Ready to Braai Baguette
The tasting team noted that this sample was definitely nice and garlicky. This sample also seemed to be herbier. But what divided the tasting team was the amount of butter. Some found the amount to be perfect, others found there to be a little too much butter, and quite a few of the tasters noted that it tasted like margarine was used instead of butter, which ultimately affected the scores.
This sample cost R39.99, falling with the tasting team’s price range.
Comments tasters left: “You could see the garlic bits and it packed a garlic punch that was also nice and herby. Loved the texture – crisp with a good soft ‘buttery’ middle. The only negative is that the butter tasted very ‘margy’,” and “Love the crispness – it is not too much – and the garlic flavour is coming through nicely,” and “Love the taste and flavour.”
4. Vieira’s Bakery Twin Garlic Loaf (stocked at select Food Lover’s Markets)
Tasters found this sample herby and wonderfully garlicky, but felt it could have done with a little more butter. Tasters also found the bread to be very crispy.
This sample was by far the best value for money, coming in at R39.99 for two loaves.
Comments tasters left: “This sample was very herby but the garlic did come through. For me, the bread was just a little too crisp … almost dry even with the butter. Butter could also have been distributed more evenly, but it’s still tasty,” and “There could be more butter and it was a little too crispy.”
5. Woolworths Heat & Eat Garlic Butter Filled Baguette
Coming in last place was the sample from Woolworths. Tasters seemed to take most fault with the bread itself, which ultimate took away from the whole garlic bread experience.
Tasters found the bread to be dense and doughy, which seemed to overpower the buttery garlic and herb flavours.
Costing R58.99, it was also the most expensive sample tasted on the day and did not fall within the tasting team’s price range for store-bought garlic bread.
Comments tasters left: “The bread tasted quite yeasty for me, which overpowered the garlic flavour somewhat … but you can see the garlic bits, so it’s definitely garlic bread,” and “The bread was a bit dense and yeasty!” and “Taste very doughy.”
Prices correct at time of publishing
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The rules of Food24 Taste Tests:
– All tasters tasted and scored all samples. Each individual taster’s preference impacts the score they give.
– The samples were tested without packaging and were not easily identifiable.
– The samples were not labelled and were tasted in random order.
– This article is not sponsored in any way, and Food24 was not paid to come to any particular result.
Our taste tests are always unbiased and intended for your information. You may, however, have come to this article through various paid-for advertising.