Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

M&S launches Christmas food range

Liquid Brussels sprouts are on the menu at Marks and Spencer this Christmas

Liquid Brussels sprouts, an edible cheese board and a 'Christmas dinner in a pie' are all set to adorn the festive table this year.

Marks & Spencer is banking on an appetite for Brussels sprouts with the launch of not just a juice but also a coleslaw made from the vegetable as part of its festive food range, announced six months ahead of Christmas Day.

The retailer claims the coleslaw makes the "perfect accompaniment to turkey sandwiches and Boxing Day buffets", while the juice means the Brussels sprout has "gone gourmet".

It has also turned Christmas cake into a liqueur, which it describes as "literally the taste of the festive season in a glass", and Bucks Fizz has been given an upgrade with the addition of cranberry, pomegranate and Clementine.

Even the humble prawn will receive a festive makeover with a dousing of the classic cocktail Whisky Mac.

And following the fish and chip pie, the retailer has developed a Christmas dinner in a pie complete with turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce, while a cheese board is made from crackers to be broken off as you eat.

The 'gold G&Tea' is gin infused with tea and speckled with gold flakes, a Christmas cake comes trimmed with LED lights and a chocolate cake has been decorated with five gold rings to create "a decadent pudding".

M&S said a team of 40 product developers began working on the range in September last year, visiting locations such as New York, Barcelona and Paris for inspiration.

M&S head of product development Sandra Ziles said: "At Christmas we all want to wow our family and friends with delicious food and surprise them with interesting new discoveries.

"What could be a better taste of Christmas than Christmas cake liqueur? And for those willing to be a bit more adventurous you can't beat our Brussels sprout juice - we hope it will convert a few non-sprout eaters to the green side."

The range will be in stores from early October.

Meanwhile, Waitrose unveiled a 'turkey cracker', a £30 alternative to the customary joke and hat.

The cracker-shaped turkey meal, which feeds four to six people, comes rolled and wrapped in a butter muslin with a rich fruit stuffing.

Waitrose executive chef Jonathan Moore said: "This year's festive meat range is all about traditional flavours.

"We've taken inspiration from times gone by, adding an Elizabethan twist to many of our turkeys with stuffings featuring ingredients such as gingerbread, gooseberry, pear and figgy pudding.

"Our turkey cracker comes wrapped in butter muslin, a traditional method of keeping the meat deliciously moist, finished off in fun cracker-shaped packaging. It's certainly a Christmas cracker with a difference."

The supermarket will also sell a £30 Christmas cake made up of three individual 'baubles' - a traditional rich fruit cake, a chocolate sponge and a Madeira cake - all coated with icing and featuring a snowflake design.

And chef Heston Blumenthal, whose previous Christmas puddings for Waitrose have ended up on eBay after customers stripped them from shop shelves, has created a multi-tiered chocolate bar with layers of chocolate caramel mousse, chocolate biscuit, salted caramel and nougat mousse.

Blumenthal said: "Chocolate is the ultimate feel-good treat, so this Christmas I wanted to pay homage to all the popular treats that I, and I'm sure most of us, enjoyed as a child.

"There's nothing more nostalgic than thinking about all the crinkly, brightly-coloured chocolate wrappers in the festive treat bowl, and my Ultimate Chocolate Bar Dessert incorporates the best of our classic chocolate bars."

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