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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Emily Sleight

I compared M&S and Aldi Valentine's Day meal deals and it was a very close call

It's that time of year again where supermarkets are offering loved up shoppers lavish and romantic deals for a fraction of the price of going out.

With many of us feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis, going out for a posh Valentine's Day just doesn't seem as appealing this year. If you, like me, can't be bothered to cook, there are plenty of meal deals to choose from that you can just whack in the oven.

The best part? If you opt for M&S or Aldi, it'll cost you £20 tops. I'm a huge fan of the 'M&S Dine In For £20' meal deal and have often used it in the past for special occasions.

READ MORE: We compared Valentine's Day gifts at Asda, Sainsbury's, M&S and a £2.50 item was the best

Considering I'm more of an Asda girl for my supermarket shop, there's always something so fancy about popping into M&S for some food or a nice bottle of wine. This Valentine's Day, Aldi is giving the store a run for its money once again, offering its own version of the Valentine's Day meal deal.

With mains made for two, along with sides, light bites and something sweet, although the supermarket doesn't have a specific price point for the meal deal, it's definitely going to save you some money.

I took a trip to my local Aldi and M&S to see what romantic Valentine's Day dishes I could find. Let's just say, it was a very close call in terms of quality and taste - here's how I got on.


M&S - Coquilles St Jacques

For my Marks & Spencer starter I decided to go for their 'Coquilles St Jacques' which I'll be honest, I'm not even sure how to pronounce. I've only ever had this dish from M&S once before and I remember being very impressed, so I wanted to see if it it lived up to that standard.

It was super easy to cook and looked beautiful placed in its shell. The Coquilles St Jacques was lovely and creamy, and was bursting with flavour. There was a nice crisp of cheese from the mash potato on the outside, which led to a fluffy gooey inside of scallops in a creamy sauce.

If I had to describe this dish in one word, I'd say indulgent. It was a little on the salty side though, which is why M&S loses a mark on this round.

Rating - 4/5

Aldi - Wild Mushroom Arancini

I'm a huge fan of arancini, and whenever I see it on a menu I get a little giddy with excitement. Perhaps Aldi already had the upper hand with this round because of my love for the dish, but for me, this Wild Mushroom Arancini was just to die for.

It was beautifully creamy on the inside and offered just the perfect amount of crunch on the outside. Even if you're not a big fan of mushrooms, I think this arancini offered just the right amount of mushroom flavour, and it wasn't too overpowering.

I had three of these for my starter, but I could've easily eaten all six. Call me a greedy guts, but this arancini was super moreish to say the least.

Aldi - you've got this one in the bag.

Rating - 5/5


M&S - British Rack of Lamb With Honey Mustard & Herb Crust

I wanted to go for something I don't usually have very much since it was a special occasion, and one meat I don't have a lot, is lamb. I'm very religious with my Sunday roasts and have them every week, but I can never want to fork out the cash for some lamb because it can be pretty expensive.

This lamb was by far some of the nicest lamb I've ever tasted. The honey mustard & herb crust really made it, and complemented the juicy meat so well.

We cooked ours more medium as opposed to well done, and it absolutely melted in our mouths. There was not one ounce of fat on this lamb, and it generally felt like such a luxurious dish - which is just what you want for Valentine's Day.

Side - Potato Dauphinoise

Cheese, cream and potatoes is basically my dream combination, so I'm sure you'll understand why I chose the Potato Dauphinoise to accompany my lamb. These potatoes were incredible, with a slightly crunchy topping of cheese that led into a fluffy, creamy, potato goodness.

I was in carb heaven with this side dish, and wouldn't hesitate to get this from M&S again. All in all, this main course was certainly one to remember.

Rating - 5/5

Aldi - Wagyu Burger Box

I went for something a little different from Aldi for a nice contrast, because as much as I love a posh date night meal, sometimes there's nothing better than a burger. This of course, wasn't just any old sad burger from McDonald's, this was a Wagyu burger, which is pretty posh in itself.

I really liked Aldi's concept of the 'make your own burger' and thoroughly enjoyed creating my masterpiece. The box contained Wagyu sired beef with brie and caramelised onion, a sachet of crispy onions and brioche buns.

The burger was juicy, and tasted so premium. I don't think I've ever eaten a burger like this before, and considering it was my first ever Wagyu experience - I totally understand the hype now.

It was so close between the two main courses, but I think it really boils down to what you're in the mood for. If I'm basing this round of taste alone, it's got to be the lamb, but only just.

Side - Wagyu Triple Cooked Chips

These chips were nothing short of amazing, and basically tasted like a very posh pub chip. Cooked in Wagyu beef fat, the chips worked with the burger amazingly, and were lovely and crunchy on the outside whilst being fluffy on the inside.

They were a little dry in some parts, which is why I'd personally probably have some ketchup or mayonnaise with my chips. Does that make me a bad person?

Rating - 4/5


M&S - Chocolate Melt In The Middle Puddings

I'm a big chocolate fiend, and as soon as I saw the Chocolate Melt In The Middle Puddings at my local M&S I knew I had to snap them up. Everything about this dessert was dreamy, they took just under a minute to cook in the microwave so they were convenient, and they tasted unreal.

It was very rich, so it might not be for everyone, but the oozing sauce in the middle just topped it all off for me. There was a lot of chocolate sauce too, which was a bonus, because there's nothing worse than a melt in the middle pudding with a miniscule amount.

Rating - 5/5

Aldi - Valentine's Heart Cookie

This cookie was beautifully doughy in the middle and had a lot of flavour to it. Don't get me wrong, it tasted amazing, but it just didn't compare to the M&S chocolate dreaminess.

Again, it really depends what kind of meal you fancy, but for me, M&S was the clear winner this time.

Rating - 4/5


Since Aldi don't have any sort of 'meal deal' as such, I didn't get a drink from the supermarket to go with my food. This did mean that my bill was slightly cheaper at £13.76 as opposed to £20 from Aldi.

I decided to go for a non-alcoholic drink with my M&S meal deal, and chose the Raspberry and Rose Lemonade which was really tasty. It was a little on the sour side, but had a lot of flavour.

The verdict

It was always going to be a close call, but M&S just scraped a win for its Valentine's Day Meal deal. For £20, I think it's amazing value for what you get in terms of quality and taste.

I do think that Aldi have a better mix of foods, offering more 'casual' dining options like Wagyu Pizza and Wagyu Burgers, but for me, the M&S quality is unbeatable.

You can purchase your M&S Valentine's Day Meal Deal here. Find out more about Aldi's Valentine's Day Meal Deal here.

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