Top 8 mayonnaise tested

A DOLLOP of mayo can work wonders for the simplest sandwich. On hot new potatoes it’s a treat, and delicious smeared on barely cooked broccoli.

Top 8 mayonnaise tested

For a quick and easy main course, I have Helen Hennessy to thank for this simple recipe. Blend two thirds mayo with one of tomato sauce. Pour over cubes of monkfish or other chunky fish, adding a little chilli for extra oomph if you fancy it. Make sure fish is covered with the mixture.

Cook in the oven for 20 mins, no higher than 170C to avoid the egg in the mayo curdling.

Served with rice or bread, and a green salad on the side, it’s the easiest main course.

Today we looked for the closest to homemade mayo that we could find. We wanted a natural texture, usually achieved with the least amount of thickener, so it doesn’t become gloopy. We didn’t want it over-salted, yet tasty enough to enhance whatever it goes on. There were a few that came up to standard.

Homemade is pretty easy once you take your time. Myrtle Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookbook, republished by Gill & McMillan, has a few tricks for successful mayo, and a recipe for garlic mayo and tartare sauce too.

Hellmann’s real, 400g, €2.79

The benchmark readymade mayonnaise, this has a distinctive flavour. Made with 78% rapeseed oil, at 7.9% there is a higher percentage of egg than most, some spirit vinegar, a little sugar (not glucose-fructose syrup) and lemon-juice concentrate. With 1.5% salt, the result is a flavoursome, naturally textured, creamy mayonnaise that deserves its reputation.

Score: 9

Marks & Spencer mayonnaise, 270g €2.19

Made with Dijon mustard and cold-pressed rapeseed oil, this is a tasty mixture and has just the right amount of mustard. Sunflower oil is top of the list of ingredients and the 7% rapeseed oil is just enough. Free-range egg yolk, a little sugar, and 0.85% salt make this a decent, natural product, which happens to taste delicious, too.

Score: 8.5

Calvé Classica, 225ml €2.29

Excellent, natural texture of homemade mayonnaise, it has natural flavours, too. Made from sunflower oil, wine vinegar and lemon juice, it’s not entirely a homemade recipe, as it has water thickened with a little maize flour. While the jar is small, it’s still good value for the quality. Contains 1.1% salt. Made in Italy, by Unilever, and sold in Delitaly, Marlboro Street, Cork, and other Italian shops.

Score: 8

Aldi, Bramwell’s lighter-than-light, 500ml (513g), €1.15

In a squeezy bottle, this tastes similar to other samples, but, with 1.8% salt, has a slightly saltier flavour as it has less sugar, and is the better for it. Lots of additives to stabilise, colour and preserve, but quite pleasant. Best value of the cheaper brands.

Score: 5.5

Lidl, Vita D’Or light, 500ml/500gm, €1.09

In a glass bottle, there is a nice hit of vinegar here. With glucose-fructose syrup high on the list, there is quite a lot of sweetness, too. Vegetable oil is used, but mainly water-thickened with modified maize starch and egg yolk, giving it a shiny finish, and less calories than one made mainly with oil. Quite a few additives.

Score: 5.5

SuperValu light, 425ml, €1.89

In a squeezy bottle, the lightness comes from water, thickened with modified maize starch and xanthan gum. Vegetable oil is used, with some mustard flavouring. Other flavouring is unspecified, along with unidentifiable spices. With a high, 1.9% salt, and some sugar, it’s bland and a little sweet to enhance food.

Score: 5

Dunnes Stores light, 425ml, €1.99

In a squeezy bottle, and similar to Supervalu’s version in taste and appearance, it is also light from water thickened with modified maize starch and xanthan gum. Vegetable oil is used with spices and mustard flavouring. 1.8% salt is modified by the addition of sugar. A bit too bland and uninteresting to make salads any better for it.

Score: 5

Tesco Healthy Living, 480ml €1.49

Rapeseed is the oil used here, though only 4%. It’s not surprising it has an unappealing, sweet taste as glucose-fructose syrup is used. The main body of the mixture is made from water thickened with modified maize starch and egg yolk, which gives it a slightly unnatural texture, but still quite pleasant. In a squeezy bottle.

Score: 5

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