I’m such a sucker for M&S. Yes, if you go there for your weekly shop, you deserve to have your remaining cents pecked from your pockets by an angry flock of knife-wielding geese – unless, of course, you’re one of Ireland’s three remaining wealthy people.
But if, like me, you go there for the occasional treat or to avail of their fantastic offers, M&S is flawless, give or take. The Dine In for two offer hogs all the glory, but there’s always a load of other great offers. It’d be great if M&S publicised all their current offers, but perhaps that’s a ploy to get us in store.
Anyway, M&S have recently launched a new range of sweet things – somewhere between snacks, food to have with afternoon tea, and desserts – and they kindly asked me to sample them.
First, the new M&S dessert cookies. Perfect for when you don’t want a big slab of cake but still crave something sweet. Pop them in the oven and heat them up. They come in four flavours – sticky toffee, apple crumble, lemon meringue, and black forest gateau – and cost €2.89 per pack. I’m constantly surprised that I don’t really like sticky toffee, so unsurprisingly didn’t really take to this one. Even more against my nature is my no-longer-so-secret love for black forest, so I thought this cookie hit the spot. Jean doesn’t like black forest, so unsurprisingly didn’t exactly elope with this biscuit. You get the drift: apple crumble fans should steady themselves, lemon meringue haters beware.
Although I enjoyed the dessert cookies, I’d happily trample over a display of them to get to the new M&S Dippers and Dunkers. At first, the idea seems a bit silly: why would I want to dip my mini-cake into some sauce and then have to dip it again into some sprinkles? Sounds too much like work. But the idea is rather beautiful indeed, and the cakes were received with a delirious enthusiasm by my test audience.
There’s three flavours, Double Chocolate Brownie bites to be dipped into a soft cream cheese frosting and Belgian dark chocolate pieces; All Butter Chocolatey Flapjack bites dipped and dunked into a chocolate sauce and Belgian white chocolate pieces; and the Nutty Carrot Cake bites dipped and dunked into a creamy frosting and Belgian milk chocolatey pieces. I wasn’t as keen on the flapjacks: think of them as the okay sweet that’s always lingering at the bottom of the box and only eaten with some hungry reluctance. They were still quite nice, just a little pointless alongside the other options.
But, oh! The other options. The carrot cake was just about as perfect, sweet and moist as the best I’ve ever had, and the chocolate brownies were devoured with a disturbing level of gluttony. I had to physically push women out of the way to get my share, which I did without hesitation. At €4.49 for a box, they appear on the face of it to be a bit pricey. But compare them with the cost of four or five decent brownies or slices of carrot cake, take into account the fact that they’re delicious, and they’re actually quite good value. My only minor quibble with the Dippers and Dunkers is the slightly stingy amount of sauce and pieces provided; they could easily squeeze in a few more.
All cakes considered, I’m a fan of M&S’s sweet treats. Their Pear and Almond tarts and Cherry tarts, baked fresh instore, are reliably excellent. The M&S lemon tart might be one of the best around. And their dark chocolate wipes the floor with Lindt’s.
Readers, do you have a sweet tooth? And does M&S make you need to see a dentist?