Many Brits hold a soft spot in their heart for Marks & Spencer (M&S) and M&S food is one of my favourite food stores in the UK. For gluten free or ‘normal’ food, they are known for good quality. The M&S gluten free range is called ‘Made Without Wheat’, but they have also made many of their standard products gluten free (such as sausages, burgers etc.) and they are clearly labelled.
You will now also find small M&S stores at road services which is great for a lunch on the road or to stock up on supplies on route.
This review provides a sample of many of the products I have bought and enjoyed. The list may be useful for newly diagnosed coeliacs or for visitors to the UK who are not sure which products to spend their money on.
Cakes & Sweet Biscuits
I am going to start with my all time favourite cake – the coffee & walnut cake. I nearly had to stop going into M&S as I would buy this cake every time I went in as it is sooo delicious! Luckily it is quite small, but it still would serve several people for a coffee morning. I haven’t heard anything bad about any of the cakes – sponge cake, lemon drizzle cake and celebration cakes.
There are a range of sweet biscuits and I particularly like the ginger biscuits, but my gluten eating husband really likes the millionaire’s shortbreads in a tub that make them easy to share or to keep fresh.
I have also found a single serve chocolate muffin at Victoria train station, however I found it incredibly rich and would not be able to eat it all in one sitting. It would buy it again though if I needed something to take visiting or for a long train journey.
I am a massive fan of the M&S cheese puffs and sea salt and black pepper crackers – both great with a bit of dip, but also are nice on their own as a savoury nibble.
There is also a range of cheese puffs that are gluten free by ingredient which come in snack size bags which are great for travelling or for lunch boxes. The mini cheese crackers come in small packs that are handy to have in your handbag for the inevitable cheese course for dessert when out for dinner!
Gone are the days when a slice of gluten free bread was the size of a postage stamp and crumbled on handling. M&S have a really nice selection of breads and my favourite is the Sliced White Boule with poppy seeds. I love seeds in bread and this bread reminds me of my carefree pre-GF days!
If you don’t like seeds, the brown bloomer slices are also lovely.
For breakfast or a snack, try the tea loaf or crumpets.
Lunch is often a hard meal for coeliacs when nipping out from the office to get a quick bite to eat.
Some of the bigger stores do a couple of different types of sandwiches (see types of packaging below), but most have a good selection of salads. I even found this sandwich at Exeter services and was very impressed I could also pick up a sponge cake for afternoon tea with a relative.
People also rave about the Scotch eggs but they are not my cup of tea (maybe because I’m Australian and a breaded hard boiled egg just seems bizarre to me!).
I frequently buy the salmon & potato salad and egg & ham salad – a good bit of protein with some salad and a tasty dressing.
If you need a snack to top off your lunch or to keep afternoon hunger pangs at bay, there are also some bars like the caramel pecan crunch bar.
If you have access to an oven or stove, M&S have a good range of gluten free quiches, ‘bakes’ and other quick meals. These are also enjoyed by the gluten eaters, but I particularly like the mushroom bakes and quiche lorraine.
If you have kids, the breaded chicken fillets or chicken nuggets are likely to keep them happy!
For the Christmas period, special items are released such as Christmas puddings (individual and family size), mince tarts as well as fantastic heat and serve options for entertaining. These always prove extremely popular and sell out quickly. As some are suitable for freezing, I recommend buying extra!
If you need a drink to wash all this food down, you can even buy a gluten free beer!
Just a note of caution though – the M&S cola contains barley, so check soft drinks carefully before purchasing.
What are your favourite items from M&S?
Marks & Spencer Food
Please check store locations on the website, but if you are visiting London, there are stores in Covent Garden, Waterloo and Victoria train stations, St Thomas’ Hospital, Green Park, Pantheon Oxford Street and further down Oxford street at Marble Arch (near Selfridges), Bankside and the City. The two largest stores are:
Marble Arch, 458 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1AP.
Covent Garden, 107 – 115 Long Acre Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9NT.
For more ideas on eating out gluten free in the UK and around the world, please check the following links:
- Visiting the UK (including train stations & airports)
- Rome gluten free
- UK 100% gluten free page
- London restaurant reviews
- Melbourne 100% gluten free
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