The best & worst of this year's Christmas sandwiches - updated as we eat them
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.
Don't forget to keep popping back, we'll be updating the ranking every lunchtime (almost) from now until Christmas...
Falafel with chestnuts & spiced slaw.
Caffe Nero, £3.45 (Sweet potato falafel with roasted chestnuts, spiced slaw & cranberry sauce)
Somebody, sat somewhere in an office at Caffe Nero HQ has made a very deliberate, very scrooge-like decision not to name this the “Fala-la la laaa-la la-la-lafel wrap”. And in doing so, they have ruined Christmas.
Half a festive bake out of five, just because the cranberry sauce was quite nice.
Boxing Day Lunch.
Co-op Food. £2.95 (Smoked turkey with smoked ham, Winter slaw & spiced chutney on white bread)
Co-op accrued a lot of goodwill from us when we tried & tasted the top 5 Meal Deals a few months ago, placing up there with undisputed champion with Boots. That goodwill is long gone after eating this sandwich; washed away in a flood of mayonnaise, unable to be buoyed by even the rubberiest sliced white loaf.
The difference between the Boxing Day sandwich and their usual Christmas lunch sandwich is the fact it contains “smoked turkey” - implying that we’ll have spent Christmas evening labouriously smoking our leftover turkey, rather than spending…quality time...with our families...watching the...Mrs. Browns Boys Christmas Special? Fair enough, pass me the applewood chips
Two festive bakes out of five.
Marks & Spencer, £3.50. (Roast turkey with pork, sage & onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, mayonnaise, smoked bacon & dried onions on seeded bread)
I expected something a little more out-there from the R&D department who brought us a black charcoal brioche prawn sarnie over the Summer (Look back on the best and worst of their Spirit of Summer range here), but as a classic Christmas sandwich, this can't really be faulted.
All the ingredients are good quality like you'd expect, and there's a nice bit of texture from the crispy onions (again, why play it safe when crispy parsnips would've done the same thing but more festively?) but this is the kind of sandwich you'd make for yourself from leftovers if you were spending Christmas as your in-laws house for the first time, rather than the all-out, pigs-in-blanket loaded, mashed-potato-as-condiment monstrosity you'd make at your own gaff.
Three and a half Festive Bakes out of five.
Christmas Lunch Toastie.
Greggs, £3.50. (Turkey with pork, onion & sage stuffing, bacon, cranberry & port sauce in white bread, topped with béchamel sauce, grated edam and mature Cheddar cheese.)
Greggs shot themselves in the foot, really. By inventing the festive bake, they created a krampus and kicked off the festive lunchtime special arms-race. Eager to show they’re not a one-trick pony, they bolstered out their Christmas range with the usual turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sarnie, but then went one further by slathering it in bechemel and cheese, and toasting it into greasy, chewy, cheesy indulgence.
Admittedly it doesn’t look like much on the outside, but think of it as the sandwich version of a haphazardly-wrapped gift from a young relative who wanted to spend their pocket money on a gift for you and wrap it themselves. Except, you know, you actually do want what’s inside of this.
SIX festive bakes out of five. That's right, we're crowning a new festive champion. Maybe that should be a, turkey crown!! Because of the- No, fair enough.