Thursday, 11 December 2014
Sandwich: Waitrose Christmas Sandwich
Date Bought/Eaten/Reviewed: Thursday 11th December
Shop bought from: Waitrose, Byres Road, Glasgow
Brief: Turkey, Bacon, chesnut and thyme stuffing, port and orange chutney on sliced malted brown bread.
Before this Waitrose existed it was a Morrisons and I used to shop there quite a lot. There was a lady in there, I'd imagine she was in her mid 50s, who worked behind the checkouts. I really liked her. She was very friendly and always carried out her job with enthusiasm. When she asked about your day I really felt she cared.
I often wonder what she's up to now....
This sandwich was a solid effort. Not spectacular but decent.
I felt the structure was a bit loose and I often had to maneuver my hand whilst eating to avoid spillages.
Once again the addition of stuffing really made it feel Christmassy and invoked memories of Christmas days of yesteryear.
Whilst I do like a moist sandwich this effort felt a bit too moist, borderline wet. As a result it felt quite a 'heavy' eat and I can still feel it sitting in my stomach an hour or so after consumption.
Again Waitrose don't seem to be making any sort of charitable donations off the back of their sandwich sales but I do believe they do a lot for various local charities so fair play to them.
Given that the Sainsbury's sandwich is a whole 60p cheaper I'd avoid this effort and save the cash and go with Sainbos.
I generally feel underwhelmed by this effort.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Sandwich: Sainsbury's Christmas Sandwich
Date Bought/Eaten/Reviewed: Wednesday 10th December
Shop bought from: Sainsbury's Garage, Woodlands Road, Glasgow
Brief Outline of Sandwich: Turkey, chestnut & thyme stuffing, apollo lettuce, cranberry and apple chutney and maple cured bacon with mayonnaise on malted brown bread.
I like Sainsbury's. I really do. I like their Nectar points. I like their staff. I like the way they set out their stores and the range of products they supply there. Most of all though, I like their social media team. They're great.
Anyway, for some reason, having bought this sandwich today I was less excited about trying it as I had been for the previous two days. Monday I was excited about the idea of a Pigs & Blankets affair as provided by M&S (which turned out to be a disappointing experience) and yesterday I was excited as I've always Pret food in such high esteem.
I was a fool though, as unsurprisingly Sainsbury's have not let me down and have proved that they can play with the big-boys when it comes to Christmas sandwiches.
As I lifted the sandwich out it's container (the regular triangular framed cardboard type we're all familiar with) I noticed how packed, yet sturdy this sandwich felt. My hand was at full stretch to grasp it all whilst removing it. Despite this, the structure held firm. "Impressive Start" thought I.
I took my first bite and crunch. Sainsbury's have ignored M&S and Pret's spinach model and have gone for 'apollo' lettuce. Inspired choice. It is a cheeky first impression to this sandwich.
Shortly after the Chesnut and Thyme stuffing joins the party in your mouth, and quite welcome guests to it they are!
The Turkey is perfectly complimented by the cranberry and apple chutney which, along with the stuffing, screams IT'S CHRISTMAS down your throat.
The sandwich is moist but not wet and the various ingredients work well together to give a decent, if not astounding, texture.
If I was to make one criticism it would be that the maple bacon felt a bit chewy, however I can't imagine it's easy to have bacon tasting anything else once it's been packed together with moisture and sitting in a fridge for a few days. It certainly wouldn't deter me from selecting this sandwich again in future or from recommending it to you here.
It's worth noting that this sandwich has also been the cheapest so far proving Sainsbury's are once again championing good value without compromising on costs to the consumer.
I do notice that unlike the previous two sandwich there doesn't appear to be a charitable cause linked to this sandwich. This doesn't make Sainsbury's a bad company but I do like it when the retailers think of those whom Christmas often excludes due to their economical or personal circumstances.
As a reminder if you would like to donate to a charity that is very poignant this time of the year you can do so here:
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Sandwich: Pret's 2014 Christmas Sandwich
Date Bought/Eaten/Reviewed: Tuesday 9th December
Shop bought from: Pret A Manger, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Brief Outline of Sandwich: Turkey breast on malted bread with a dollop of slightly tart cranberry & port sauce. Served with stuffing -with seasoned minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots. Topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach. Fucking lovely stuff.
Today's Sandwich consumption was somewhat delayed due the fact that I had arranged to have lunch with my Mother in the City Centre. As a result I bought this sandwich before coming home and consumed it as a late in the day snack.
None of this information has a bearing on the taste of this sandwich.
I'd like to state that I have a love/hate relationship with Pret A Manger. I first started frequenting them when I lived in London and worked in Soho. There were many many places to eat round Soho but I found Pret was always of good quality without being unaffordable. I also liked their coffees. However it wasn't until I moved back to Glasgow that I started disliking Pret. My first job back in Glasgow after having been living and working in London for a couple of years saw me work as a runner on a feature film. I was the office runner and as such one of my roles involved getting lunch for a lot of people in our office on a daily basis. Our office was based in Ibrox. One of the Production Managers (I believe she was Norwegian and always spoke like she was 9 years old or had just suffered a stroke) always used to ask me to go get lunch for her from Pret. The nearest Pret was in the City Centre, basically a 45min round trip which involved trying to find places to park and carrying many soup cartons and sandwiches as they spilled from my hands onto the ground. It was basically hell. She'd also always complain that her soup was cold when I got back. It annoyed me. But then I guess that none of this is Pret's fault. So I forgive them.
None of this information has a bearing on the taste of this sandwich.
And the taste of this sandwich is AMAZING!
Honestly I think what Pret have created is as close to a Christmas miracle as I am ever likely to find.
Where do I start?
Well first of all it is a moist sandwich. In fact it manages to be moist whilst including Turkey. This is not an easy thing to do. The moisture comes from the liberal allocation of 'port and cranberry sauce'. This sauce compliments the meat exceptionally well.
And the meats! A lot of it, which work well together. The Turkey aside there is streaky bacon and minced pork, all of whose flavours come through though none too powerfully.
The textures of this sandwich are heavenly as well. In their great wisdom they have added crispy onions to this sandwich which serve as a cheeky layer of surprise and gives the tongue a treat.
Does it taste Chrismassy? Why yes it does. The stuffing they have wisely included really brought me back to the Christmas meals of old, sitting at a large table as Cliff Richard sings loudly about the Child being a King or some shit.
The Apricots were a bit weird, but I won't complain, it's good to get one of your 5 a day in a sandwich.
Structurally this sandwich was not as vigorous as yesterdays but I can forgive it as it had a lot going on and I think by adding more cranberry sauce to the concoction meant that strength was sacrificed for flavour and rightly so.
It's been 20minutes since I finished this sandwich and I still feel full. At 540 calories it's another big-one but slightly healthier than yesterday's sandwich.
Similarly to Marks & Spencer Pret are donating proceeds to their Christmas sandwiches to a charity. They claim that 5p of each sale goes to Pret Foundation Trust (PFT) which in turn helps the homeless as well as those that help support the homeless, they also work with vulnerable people and a few other worthy causes. For more information see their website here:
http://www.pret.com/pret_foundation_trust/about.htm if you wish to donate you can do so in store (in collection boxes) or by buying any of their branded products.
Monday, 8 December 2014
Sandwich: Marks & Spencer's Turkey & Pigs in Blankets
Date Bought/Eaten/Reviewed: Monday 8th December
Shop bought from: Marks & Spencer Food - Crow Road Retail Park, Glasgow
Brief Outline of Sandwich: Bacon & Turkey on white bread Sandwich.
I was particularly excited about trying this sandwich after Martin Deutsch recommended it to me. I was pleased to see that Marks & Spencer have a wide selection of Christmas themed sandwiches including a vegetarian option but this particular sandwich is a new addition to their range this year and is a stand-out option.
The sandwich is based on the classic 'Pigs in Blankets' which is small sausages wrapped in bacon. The sandwich consists of two slices of 'Sage & Onion' white bread, spread with (in my opinion) a conservative amount of cranberry sauce, then layered with bacon, halved sausages, mayonnaise and Turkey.
It would be safe to say this sandwich is quite 'busy', there is a lot going on and I can't help but think that perhaps too many meats have been brought to the table here and as a result nothing in this sandwich particularly shines the meats together merely exist rather than combine.
Structure wise I was impressed. Despite the business of the sandwich the bread does a good job of holding everything together and at no point did I feel the structural integrity of the sandwich was in danger.
The sandwich, despite having both Cranberry sauce and mayonnaise did feel quite dry and I suspect that was due to the Turkey which sadly did feel quite lifeless on the pallet.
The makers have also decided to add spinach leaves to this sandwich which I didn't notice at first and they felt out of place, almost as if they had been an afterthought by the makers in a half-hearted attempt to spice things up a bit.
I wouldn't deny that this sandwich was filling (it's 39% of your saturated fats for one day! and comes in at 552 calories!) but it did not feel Christmassy and on the whole was lacking in bold flavours. I do appreciate what they were trying to do here but I think this one needs more work.
If I could suggest any amendments to this sandwich I'll forgo the Turkey complete and up the Cranberry Sauce. This might sound like a strange suggestion but this sandwich is crying out for more moisture.
One thing worth noting - the sandwich is in conjunction with the charity Shelter, with 5% of the proceeds going to the charity.
If you'd like to donate to Shelter (a charity particularly poignant this time of the year then you can do so here: http://tinyurl.com/odpvmvk
Many Thanks for reading.