If you want to be set for Christmas, now’s the moment to ensure you have all the food and drink you need in fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards (or at least on a shopping list), ready for shared meals and parties, and to serve up to guests coming over for a few hours, and those staying for some or all of the festive period.
And which store can do a brilliant job at providing Christmas and new year staples, as well as seasonal treats? Marks & Spencer is one of our favourites at this time of year with choices that get plenty of praise from the experts in seasonal taste tests.
Here’s our pick of the food and drink you should make a beeline for in store. And you can see all our recipes in one place, if you want more inspiration.
Marks & Spencer Christmas dinner best buys
Welcoming a crowd for the Christmas meal? Then the M&S collection the perfect turkey should delight the assembled diners. We say 'a crowd' because this bird serves 12 to 14 on the day – or leaves you with plenty to serve cold or put in a curry afterwards. This is actually a turkey crown with a pork, sage and onion stuffing plus deboned, bacon-wrapped thighs. It proved a triumph in expert testing, too. Every one of BBC Good Food’s panel voted this a winner.
Devotees of traditional Christmas fare will love the M&S collection British outdoor-bred sugar-baked gammon. It’s ready to roast, and serves eight to 10. We think it will make a great centrepiece for a festive table setting.
If you didn’t want to start from scratch with your Christmas cooking in years gone by, the choice of vegetarian main courses for the big get-together could feel a little uninspiring. No more, though, and the M&S plant kitchen root vegetable tarte tatin is testament to the tastiness of meat-free dishes. Oh, and it’s actually vegan, making it a winner for family members who’ve made this choice, too. We love the flavours of this seasonal dish, and the Good Housekeeping Institute pronounced it one of its top vegetarian main courses for 2019.
Marks & Spencer Christmas pudding best buys
How much do we love a traditional Christmas pud? Very, very much is the answer. The M&S collection perfectly matured Christmas pudding is a classic of the genre, and its rich flavour and the appealing combination of vine fruit, nuts and brandy-soaked cherries – plus more brandy, and stout and cognac – means it could even be passed off as one we’d made ourselves back in November. But we wouldn’t do that, honest.
OK, it’s another pud, but we couldn’t leave this treat out of our recommendations. The Good Housekeeping Institute is of the same opinion, scoring it highly in its festive taste tests. The M&S sticky toffee Christmas pudding includes dates, fudge, rum and pecans in its ingredients with a toffee sauce to go over the top. Perhaps a little of each pud is the answer?
We may be on a theme here, but we think you’ll excuse us when you see this little number. The M&S sticky toffee pudding trifle is the Good Housekeeping Institute’s number one show-stopping Christmas dessert, and quite right, too, we say. A triumph.
Marks & Spencer party food best buys
It’s your party, so don’t load yourself up with tons of preparation. These M&S collection ho ho ho handcrafted sausage rolls just need reheating and they’re ready to go – and we reckon your visitors will find them fun to boot.
Think it’s just not Christmas without salmon? We’re with you on that one, and this M&S collection dressed Scottish salmon side is just the thing when you’re having people over. It’s dressed with clementine, red pepper and rosemary, and finished with a honey and clementine glaze that make it, well, even more Christmassy.
You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can do a pretty good job for your party guests with the M&S collection mini dessert selection, let us tell you. With five apple crumble tarts, four chocolate raspberry tarts, nine ganache bite stars, and nine mini cheesecakes there’s lots of loveliness to choose from.
Marks & Spencer Christmas wine best buys
After a case of fizz for a party? M&S Delacourt Champagne is award winning, and the store has reduced the price on a case of six bottles from £150 to £120. We say that’s worth snapping up if only the real (Champagne) thing will do this Christmas.
Of course, you might be equally delighted to pick up a party case without the Champagne name, but plenty of sparkle all the same. If we’ve got your number, check out M&S La Cave des Hautes Côtes Crémant de Bourgogne, ideal to pair with canapés, smoked salmon and goats’ cheese. Six bottles, £60.