Christmastime is in full swing – you can tell by the christmas lights, the seasonal decorations and of course, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. One thing I love to do while Christmas shopping is peruse the many seasonal food items you only find during this time of year, including gingerbread house kits, specialty chocolates, festive cookies and peppermint everything. And, if I keep a watchful eye, I can sometimes find one or two rare items that are typically sold exclusively in England or in British stores.
This year, I was delighted to find that U.S. retailer Target has teamed up with the famous British department store Marks & Spencer (M&S) to bring a new line of holiday food items to the U.S. A side note about M&S – When traveling to England over the course of many years, M&S has always been on my list to pop into at least once while in London. Although Harrods’ foodstuffs will always be my favorite, M&S has a lovely assortment of ready to eat takeaway items as well as pre-packaged foods and gifts (and at a slightly less expensive price point that H’s)…not to mention many other typical department-store type items.
I first learned of the Target/M&S partnership in October and that M&S was set to debut their new Target collection in mid-November. I assumed that they may have a handful of items to choose from, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they would be showcasing at least 15 food and drink items, and most are holiday themed. And even more exciting was that many of their goods were not only edible/drinkable, but also the package containers doubled as holiday decorations in the form of a light up or musical tin.
Although I had put the launch date reminder on my calendar, I decided to pop into Target a bit early in November to check out their holiday decor. To my surprise, several of the British items had already been placed on the Target floor!
I could not resist the temptation and had to buy several items right there on the spot including the chocolate truffle light up tree tin, the Belgian chocolate luxury cookie tin and the shortbread light up lantern. While hot ticket items like the M&S Collection Salted Caramel filled chocolates and the sparkling chocolate caramels won’t be available for couple more weeks, other items currently available include a musical gingerbread house tin, a double decker London bus tin filled with shortbread, hot chocolate mix in a light up lantern and more – and most are under $15!
So how do these new M&S food items taste? Although I’ve only tried two things from the new M&S collection, I have to admit, the luxury cookies and chocolate truffles tasted a bit basic or “mid” as my daughter would say. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy any of their holiday items again for the simple reason that the tins are beautiful and can be used year after year as holiday decor.
I only hope that M&S and other British retailers find success in the U.S. and continue to bring their luxury goods closer to home…my home in Chicago that is. Until then, I will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the salted caramel-filled pinecones and the sparkling chocolate caramels, while happily sampling other M&S holiday food items to determine which best suits my taste.
Happy Christmas everyone!