Shortie and fizz – our experts pick the best for The Bells

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Pauline O'Donnell, Les  Somerville and Jacqueline O'Donnell carried out their taste test at The Sisters restaurant
Pauline O'Donnell, Les Somerville and Jacqueline O'Donnell carried out their taste test at The Sisters restaurant

and here is how to celebrate Hogmanay in style.

Bring in the bells with champers and shortbread, carefully chosen by our experts.

Pauline and Jacqueline O'Donnell, who run The Sisters restaurants in Jordanhill and Kelvingrove, have been baking since their childhood, inspired by a granny who loved to cook.

"We both love a good shortbread," smiles chef and 'Big Sis' Jacqueline.

"The perfect shortbread should be crumbly and slightly golden – I like a colour to it. And you should be able to taste the butter."

Wee sister Pauline, agrees: "Shortbread is a vital part of Hogmanay, so it's important to get the best."

Our champagne expert is Les Somerville of wholesalers Enotria World Wine.

"There are two kinds of champagne, mainly – the 'party' bubbly, which is sharp and can be quite acidic up front, the kind you want one glass of and not much more – and a vintage champagne, which is much smoother, with a kind of butteriness to it," he explains.

"That's the kind of champagne you want with your shortbread to bring in the Bells."

Here are Pauline, Jacqueline and Les's verdicts on five of the best bubblies and biscuits in the shops.

SHORTBREAD:McALLISTERS SCOTTISH ALL BUTTER SHORTBREAD FINGERS, 57p, from Lidl (www.lidl.co.uk)

"Excellent price and lovely to look at," says Pauline, while Jacqueline adds: "I'm getting the buttery taste and it is nice and crumbly, if a little sweet. Great value." 10/10

DUCHY ORIGINALS FROM WAITROSE, £1.99 (www.waitrose.com)

"Light, golden and beautifully buttery," enthuses Jacqueline.

"It is quite expensive for two, fairly small rounds, though." 9/10

ALL BUTTER SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD SELECTION TIN, £4.50, from Marks and Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)

"I do love a nice shortbread tin," smiles Jacqueline. "This is beautiful – very festive and I love the Scottish designs on the shortbread itself. It's pretty dear but it would make a good gift – the perfect first foot at the bells, in fact."

Pauline adds: "Waitrose just has the edge on taste, but when you consider the whole package, this is a winner." 9/10

EXTRA SPECIAL SCOTTISH ALL BUTTER SHORTBREAD, £3, from ASDA (www.asda.com)

The inclusion of choc chip rounds divides our experts. "I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to shortbread, so choc chips are not for me," says Jacqueline. "It's soft and nice and crumbly but there's not much taste to it." Pauline adds: "I love the choc chips – but they are the most flavoursome bit." 8/10

ALL BUTTER SCOTTISH SHORTBREAD FINGERS, £1, from the Co-op (www.co-operativefood.co.uk)

"These are nice and crispy and crumbly but I'm not getting that buttery taste through," says Jacqueline. "Good price, though and not bad overall." 8/10

CHAMPAGNE:

BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT, £22.99, from Waitrose (www.waitrose.com)

The nutty smell and flavour impresses. "This one is the best match for shortbread – it has a lovely biscuity flavour and a good body to it," says Les. "Perfect for sipping along with shortbread at the bells." 10/10

LOUIS CHAUREY, £15 (reduced from £30), from Marks and Spencer (www.marksandspencer.com)

"Lovely mousse – which is what you call the bubbles you get at the top when you pour it into the glass," approves Les. "It is a lot more balanced and you can taste the fruit coming through after that first acidic burst dissipates. At half-price, this is an excellent buy." 10/10

LOUIS BERNARD BRUT VINTAGE, £18, from ASDA (www.asda.com)

"This has a nice fruity taste to it but it is slightly acidic," says Les. "It's good value, though, and ideal party champagne." 9/10

LES PIONNIERS NV CHAMPAGNE, £19.99, from the Co-op (www.co-operativefood.co.uk)

"This is not too strong, has a lovely lemon-gold colour and smells slightly yeasty," says Les. "It's not overly acidic so it's a pleasant one to drink a few glasses of." 9/10

COMTE DE BRISMAND, £14.99, from Lidl (www.lidl.co.uk)

"It's not quite as smooth as the others and has a bit of a metallic taste, unfortunately," says Les. "But it's a good value celebration champagne – perfect for one glass at parties but fairly unremarkable and not bubbly enough." 8/10

Food and drink

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