Yes, we know it’s still only September (just) but we can’t help but look forward to all things Christmas this year – perhaps more than ever, given the nightmare of a year that 2020 has brought us.
Even though we still don’t know exactly what Christmas 2020 will look like, one thing’s always a given – it will centre around food. And to whet our appetites, M&S has just revealed its full Christmas 2020 food line up – and it’s fair to say that our stomachs are already rumbling.
From the classic show-stopping turkeys to traditional Christmas fare with a difference – hello chocolate orange Christmas pud, Percy Pig mince pie alternatives and three tier sausage roll stack – and delicious-looking vegan and veggie-friendly options (the vegan festive wreath and mushroom and camembert pie will tempt even the most carnivorous at the table) M&S’s festive food offering looks better than ever.
April Preston, Director of Product Development at M&S says: ‘This year, customers have been telling us they want to embrace the spirit of Christmas more than ever. We won’t want to confine Christmas to one day, we’ll be looking to extend the festive season and turn it into a series of moments, celebrating with loved ones in whatever way we can.
‘Christmas isn’t a time our customers want to hold back, and food will continue to play a central part in their celebrations. Some of the festivities may look a bit different, some might even be virtual, but they will be more special than ever as we treat, thank, celebrate and unite with friends and family.’
With that in mind, here’s what we can expect on the shelves of M&S this festive season…
What you’ll find on the M&S Christmas food 2020 shelves
The party food, canapés and starters
Battered mini sausages chip-shop style with curry dip, £5 (in store from 21 October)
Like a bitesize taste of ‘the chippy’, these battered mini sausages with curry dipping sauce will be gone quicker than you can put the plate down.
Chicken doughnut dippers, £5 (in store from 21 October)
Don’t let the name fool you, these are in fact savoury! Rings of battered British chicken breast that come with BBQ dipping sauce and waffle crumbs.
Frozen Plant Kitchen mini no chicken Kievs, £5 (in store now)
The M&S Christmas food 2020 offering hasn’t forgotten vegans – following the launch of M&S’s first ever vegan Kiev earlier this year, these have all the plant-based garlicky goodness in bitesize pieces.
Star studded sausage roll stack, £12 (in store from 18 December)
A three tier sausage roll stack is bound to be the star of the show on any buffet table.
Our Best Ever smoked salmon, £5 (in store from 21 October)
Dry-cured with British sea salt and twice smoked over oak and chestnut for a delicate, rounded flavour.
Pepperoni Power Pizza hot dip, £4 (in store from 18 November), Seriously saucy lasagne hot dip, £4 (in store from 18 November), Scottish salmon ‘pastrami’, £5.50 (in store from 9 December), 10 mini beef and porcini filled Yorkshires, £7 (in store from 21 October) and Tear & share handcrafted cheese puff pastry with molten Camembert, £12 (in store from 18 December)
From molten pizza- and lasagne-inspired dips, to pastrami-style smoked salmon, mini filled Yorkshires and a ridiculously cheesy tear & share that we most definitely don’t want to share, finger food never looked so good.
The main event
The Perfect Turkey Crown, £50 (in store from 19 December)
Taking all the fuss out of cooking a turkey, this fool-proof Christmas Day centrepiece comes stock-basted, stuffed with pork and cranberries and wrapped in cured bacon.
Mushrooms and roasted parsnips enveloped in a creamy, cheese sauce and flaky vegan pastry, even your most meat-loving guests will find this hard to resist.
Packed with roasted mushrooms, chestnuts and pumpkin seeds, this eye-catching festive wreath is topped in a cranberry and orange glaze; the nut roast is a meat-free crowd-pleaser with an incredible depth of flavour.
An award-winning classic returns for 2020 – comes in a pack of two restaurant-style baked ricotta soufflés with all the trimmings.
Lightly smoked side of salmon with a whisky and honey glaze, £25 (in store from 19 December)
For a pescatarian main meal or an impressive starter, slices of clementine and thyme set this apart from all other salmon.
Our Best Ever pigs in blankets, £5 (in store from 9 December)
Some may say they’re what Christmas is really all about, but we all know no Christmas dinner is complete without pigs in blankets.
Slow-cooked British pork belly feast, £35 (in store from 2 December)
Bored of Turkey? This slow-cooked pork belly is finished with crispy crackling and a delicious pork and apple jus.
Slow-cooked turkey legs, £12 (in store from 2 December)
Perfect for extra guests or anyone who prefers darker meat. The meat is so succulent, it falls off the bone.
‘The General’ slow-cooked British short rib of beef, £50 (in store from 3 December)
Turkey who? For a melt in the mouth experience, choose a short rib of beef seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper, garlic, bay leaf and thyme, plus a truffle, red wine and beef jus on the side for extra deliciousness.
The sweet stuff
Triple chocolate panettone, £10 (in store from 6 October) and Chocolatey salted caramel brownie flavour cream liqueur, £12 (in store from 15 September)
A sweet and fluffy panettone filled with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips, topped with dark chocolate and white chocolate chips – or as we call it, a chocoholic’s dream. Meanwhile, last year’s trifle cream liqueur went down such a treat that M&S have come up with a new flavour for 2020, a boozy liqueur with all the flavour of an indulgent salted caramel chocolate brownie.
The M&S Christmas food 2020 line up isn’t complete without mentioning the Christmas pud. Gidden inside this rich and zesty Belgian chocolate, orange liqueur and brandy iteration is a melt-in-the-middle chocolate and orange sauce.
These aren’t just any profiteroles – this a dazzling stack of delicate choux pastry puffs filled with whipped cream, layered with rich salted caramel sauce and decorated with gold malt balls and gold shimmer.
Even Colin gets a seasonal makeover this Christmas with the addition of a festive Santa hat and solid chocolate presents atop his back.
A delicious vegan-friendly torte with smooth dark chocolate ganache on a biscuit base, finished with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Mince pie cookie, £1 (in store now)
What’s better (and more festive) than a soft, chewy cookie? A delicious all-butter spiced cookie topped with a dollop of juicy mincemeat, of course.
Our Best Ever mince pie, £1.20/£4 for 4 (in store 4 November) and Santa’s yumnut, £1.50/£4 for 3 (in store 4 November)
M&S say they’ve hit the perfect ratio of mincemeat to pastry in their take on the festive classic – we’ll just have to try them to be the judge of that! And, M&S’s standout bakery superstar of 2020, the yumnut (a cross between a yum yum and a doughnut) has had a festive Santa-themed makeover.
Rudolph the red-nosed doughnut, 85p (in store 4 November)
A delicious caramel-iced doughnut topped with caramel-flavoured chocolate curls and finished with a cute Rudolph face.
Giant gold bullion bar, £20 (in store from 18 December)
The customer favourite just got supersized, bringing more than a touch of drama to the table. A light caramel mousse layered with chocolate ganache, crunchy chocolate shortbread pieces and salted caramel sauce encased in a golden milk chocolate shell.
A cheese-lovers’ dream, this fondue pot of Gruyère, Comté and Emmental is topped with bacon lardons, roasted onion and Raclette cheese, and is ready to pop straight into the oven.
Ultimate cheese grazing box, £25 (in store from 16 December)
Grazing is the new snacking, so provide all the cheesy goodness in this feast of a grazing box – includes Vintage Red Fox, Barbers Coastal Bite Cheddar, Stratford Blue, a whole Button Mill Brie and Petit Basque Flowers, plus roasted hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and dried fruits.
Light snow globe gin liqueur, £18 (in store from 15 September) and Gin liqueur mini snow globe baubles, £12 (in store from 3 November)
A drink that’s also a decorative ornament in it’s own right, last year’s must-have drink of the season is now available in two flavours – clementine and rhubarb – in a delightful light-up bottle. Simply shake and switch on to illuminate the woodland scene and see flickers of 23-carat edible gold leaf shimmer and fall like snow flakes. Also, a mini version of the gold-flecked Clementine gin liqueur ready to hang on the tree. The perfect gift for friends and family.