Sainsburys, Boots, McDonalds and Pret battle it out to be Christmas number one
Christmas sandwiches: what used to be a resourceful way of choking down whatever dry leftovers you didn't even feel like eating on Christmas day - the biggest event in the overconsumers social calendar - has for some reason become a cultural phenomenon, with supermarkets, cafes, bakeries, and Boots all getting in on the action to see who can make their combination of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce most appealing.
It's usually Pret, isn't it? Let's be honest. But with more festive specials available this year than any other, we're trying as many of them as we can get our hands on, rating them (using our patented system of "out of five Festive Bakes" in honour of the ultimate Christmas special) and ranking them for your mild enjoyment.
The Snow Globe: Christmas Dinner in a brioche roll.
Sainsbury’s. £3.50. (butter-basted British turkey breast and beechwood smoked streaky bacon with Brussels sprout slaw, British pork stuffing, mayonnaise and a sweet cranberry and port sauce.)
Top marks for effort on this one: presented on a plinth underneath a transparent plastic dome, it looks like a festive snow globe, and definitely not one of those experiments where somebody puts a Big Mac in a bell jar to demonstrate that it takes four months to go mouldy.
Capitalising on the increased visibility of its Popemobile presentation, the top of the bun is flecked with star-shaped edible glitter, like vaguely-festive sesame seeds. It’s not all just superficial, either - the fillings actually taste fresh and individually distinct, rather than being squished together into a Christmas mulch.
Four and a half festive bakes out of five
Pigs Under Blankets.
Boots. £2.75 (Sausages, bacon, stuffing and cranberry sauce on wholemeal bread)
If it was a Christmas film it’d be Love Actually - enjoyable on the surface, but you realise it's actually crap under even the slightest scrutiny. Using art & craft supplies and standing in the snow stalk the woman married to your best friend doesn’t make it not-creepy, Andrew Lincoln; and putting some (but nowhere near enough) cranberry sauce on a sausage and bacon sandwich doesn’t make it Christmassy. The fact it’s called Pigs under blankets should’ve raised alarm bells.
One festive bake out of five.
Very Merry Christmas Lunch.
Pret a Manger. £3.50. (Grilled carrots, spinach, vegan stuffing, crispy onions, caramelised pecans, port & orange cranberry sauce)
A carrot sandwich sounds like something you'd make up to take the piss out of vegans, but this is actually pretty brilliant - the chestnut-heavy vegan stuffing is really the main event here, giving the whole thing a spicy warmth. Port & orange cranberry sauce is actually tangy rather than cloying, and the caramelised pecans are a masterstroke, move over "Away in" - Pret is the number one festive a Manger
Four and a half festive bakes out of five.
Christmas Chicken Warmer.
McDonalds. £4.39 (Two Chicken Selects with cheese and fire roasted red pepper sauce, in a glazed, sesame topped bun.)
Chicken selects, spicy sauce, raw onion, and cheese. It’s essentially the contents of their piri piri big flavour wrap, haphazardly thrown in a bun. “What’s festive about that?” you ask? Well look what it represents. This is the burger equivalent of that most Christmassy of traditions: panicking that you forgot to get your Secret Santa a present, and shoving stuff you’ve got lying around the house in a gift-bag from last year.
Two and a half festive bakes out of five.