This Is Why You're Festive A Pan Project Fri, 23 Nov 2012 11:58:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:16:23 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> A sandwich which is at once quite different to everything else and yet somehow still thematically in keeping with Christmas.

The soft poppy-seed bloomer is an appreciable change from the ubiquitous malted brown. But describing the contents as a “filling” is a case for trading standards – there’s nothing in it. Combining sliced turkey with a sliced pork is novel at least, and the pistachio stuffing is a really good touch.

Unfortunately the bread dominates the texture and flavour, and the packaging isn’t even slightly festive, so we can’t be consider this sandwich part of the premier league.

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1 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:16:17 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> At £2.00 a pop this is a real entry-level xmas sandwich, but the price doesn’t excuse the inherent crappiness of the product. Nearly every ingredient seems to have been reformed, which gives the whole thing a mildly judicial undertone. That’s not festive, Tesco. Most of the “trimmings” are blended into a mayonnaise deposit trapped behind a sad flap of bruised turkey. The cranberries have a strange petroleum after-taste. The “sausages” are actually wrinkly cocktail weenies, which seem to be about 80% gelatin.

This is a bloody car crash of a sarnie. It will leave you cold and empty. AVOID.

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13 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:16:11 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> A very simple sandwich. The turkey comes in slices so fails to be as authentic as some other meals reviewed, but doesn’t taste bad. The salad is crisp and fresh though a little overbearing. There’s way too much mayo, perhaps more than the McDonalds, and not really enough cranberry chutney, which is a shame because it’s very tasty.

The sour-dough baguette steals the show for being absolutely delicious, as well as hearty and filling.

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8 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:55 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> The £1.49 Gregg’s Festive Slice is a bit like a AK-47. It’s cheap to produce, devastating, and whether or not you agree with it’s purpose, you can’t argue with the beauty of it’s honest, brutal form. Like everything else at Greggs, a quick and dirty Festive Slice has only one texture: paste, and one flavour: tasty. The ingredients (bacon, stuffing, turkey etc.) aren’t really distinguishable from one another, but come together to form a sort of blended meta-flavour.

If you’re lucky, slices are served hot – and the comfort of warm food on a cold December day shouldn’t be underestimated.

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22 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:46 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Asda only had ‘triples’ available in their Old Kent Road branch and the trouble with triples is that with 200% more flavour available they’re always superior to to their parallel-quality counterparts. We will moderate our score accordingly.

In the turkey portion, the stuffing was good but the “smoke flavour” bacon was incredibly artificial. The turkey was dry – as in actually hard and crusty at the edges. Chutney was bland – a bit of a let down, and the butter and mayo combined were very greasy.

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16 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:39 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Mwah! Just-ah like-ah mamma used to make. This is probably it – the pinnacle of the Christmas sandwich. Loads of turkey meat, which was actually carved to order from a bird in the shop. Actual proper proper bacon rashers, not the crispy long life crap everyone else uses. A lovely soft and fluffy ciabatta roll… this is the best culinary link to the past since Proust’s madeleines.

The luxury of authentic home-made style cooking isn’t cheap – at £5.50 this is the boutique-iest sandwich by a long shot. Originally we were going to save Benugo until the 24th, but decided that would be a bit cruel for anyone wanting to try the best sandwich in town. Available in London only I’m afraid, but there’s one in St. Pancras if you’re passing through.

(Had better? Let us know -

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12 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:26 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Starbucks must think they’re selling something pretty special to levy £3.95 for a pre-packaged bread item (Pret give 25p to charity, at least). Granted, the fact this meal can be taken away hot and toasty adds to it’s desirability. The ciabatta bread is a welcome break from so much malted brown, but it’s a bit of a deviation from the “classic” Christmas format.

As it comes, the ingredients are authentic enough but a little thin on the ground – expect to go hungry if this is all you have for lunch.

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21 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:20 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Subway do a reformed turkey-and-ham sandwich at Christmas, but it’s sort of exactly the same one they do the rest of the year. Because of this the onus is on the customer to make sure it’s as Christmassy as possible by careful selection of ingredients.

That was the theory – in practice I just asked for “everything”. I mean, why not? It’s free stuff isn’t it? Sweet onion relish and light mayo seemed like fairly festive sauces but the end product wasn’t very seasonal at all. Subway could have made a bit of effort but I’m also prepared to share part of the blame too. I will be marking us both down accordingly.

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5 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:13 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> The only thing more irritating than naming this product “festive” and “deluxe” in one breath is calling the related dessert a pie. It’s not a pie. It conforms to none of the typologies of what a pie is or can be. It’s just a bubbling tube of custard; a deep-fried blister.

But I digress. This 800 calorie constipatory aid, this beef behemoth, this 50%-of-your-salt-RDA meat frisbee did induce 20 minutes of childish euphoria, only to be followed by a two hour MSG comedown more depressing than a Littlewood’s stage adaptation of 8 Mile. I’d love to slam this sandwich with a low score, but despite everything it is and stands for, it’s still delicious in the filthiest possible way.

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24 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:15:06 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> The very model of over-priced mediocrity you’d come to expect from a convenience store that preys on the captive clientèle of a train station. Whistlestop’s “Deli” Sandwich Of The Month is teeth gnashingly boring. Or, perhaps, the teeth ghashing is happening because there’s no physical resistance going on between the jaws.

The stuffing described on the packaging is actually a stuffing-mayonnaise mix. Sneaky. The reformed turkey is sweaty and tastless, the salad is sad, the cranberry sauce sickly.

Nevermind though, eh? Tomorrow’s the real thing! BOO-YAH!

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19 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:59 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> This is all completely counter-intuitive. How can one of the unhealthiest meals on the high street also be the foulest tasting? Awful. Just awful. To be fair, this was the last festive pasty in the shop and we suspect it was forgotten about for a few days, so perhaps it’s atypical of what WCPC normally offer. Having said that, they still sold it to us, so screw ‘em.

Stodgy, greasy, bland pastry, like eating oily cardboard. The filling was mostly burnt onions, stewed cranberries and overcooked potatoes. Couldn’t taste the turkey but it had a cheap grisly texture.

Really, really disappointing.

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2 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:52 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> It’s not too bad actually, this one. Costa have given us a square cut sandwich, so there are no acute angles to worry about when trying to keep the bulkier ingredients contained. Practical. The turkey’s good – not too dry and nice thick meaty pieces, but perhaps a bit on the salty side. The texture of the bacon is fairly convincing, relative to the normal crispy precooked stuff and the cranberry sauce complements everything else.

As an ensemble the flavours come together well. A bit of spinach or rocket wouldn’t go amiss, but all things considered Costa have really thrown down the gauntlet for other coffee chains.

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4 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:44 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> The seasonal effect of thoughtful packaging shouldn’t be underestimated – Sainsbury’s have carefully ridden that line between too-cool-for-Christmas (EAT) and unashamed tat (Tesco) with a smidgen of lens flare, bokeh and a few vector flourishes.

The sandwich itself is quite middle-of-the-road but there’s nothing horribly wrong. There’s a good amount of turkey, which isn’t too dry and is of reasonable quality and flavour. The cranberries are sweet, the malted bread is absolutely standard. Some smoky facon and limp lettuce have been thrown in for good measure, rounding the whole thing off satisfactorily.

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11 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:37 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> With more beige than a mid-nineties cubicle farm, Nero have built a very boring sandwich. No bacon, no sausage and the bare minimum of dull crumbly stuffing. The turkey is real enough, but bland and dry. The over-riding flavour comes from the salad, which is at least quite crisp. The cranberry sauce is thin and watery and has soggied the malted bread.

Cold, wet bread is not festive.

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23 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:24 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Another triple from The Co-operative. We are usefully informed from the off that we have a 24% turkey situation. Not sure if that means 24% of the meal is turkey, or 24% of the turkey is turkey. In any case, if there’s 50% extra free, it’s more like you’re getting 36% turkey by equivalent, or have only paid for 16%. Or something.

It doesn’t really matter though because without bacon or salad or any other trimmings it’s a bit of a boring mush. The turkey doesn’t taste bad, per se, and benefits from the butter, but there is very little variety in texture going on.

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15 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:14:17 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> A… uhm, uh, a… a Christmas bagel? Is that allowed? Is everyone cool with that?

Perhaps Bagel Factory are making a gesture. An implicitly Jewish foodstuff with an implicitly Christian filling – could this be a stroke of genius? Religio-cultural culinary fusion!?

If so, it’s a shame the whole offering tastes mildly rank. I mean, good effort Bagel Factory for including sausages and everything, but don’t just use the cheapest offal you could find. The turkey is the thin sliced stuff too, which is sub par.

The most off-putting aspect was the undeniably fishy after-taste we noticed. Bleugh.

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6 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:13:57 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Controversially, this could be the one to beat. The turkey is moist succulent, there’s a good amount of spinach, the stuffing enhances the overall flavour without being overbearing. There’s nothing overly complicated going on – this is the closest thing we’ve had to a home-made boxing day sandwich. It’s the bacon that really steals the show – authentic, smoky and delicious.

If I had to level a criticism, it’s that the cranberry sauce might be a bit too sweet. Also the packaging is a little uninspired – that gradient-fill robin is all kinds of meh.

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9 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:13:50 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Pret appear to be the assumed champions of xmas sandwiches, with many people telling us they are hands-down “the best”. Perhaps that was once the case, but this year it seems they’ve failed to stay ahead of the competition.

On paper it has a good combination of auxiliary flavours (walnut, apple), the stuffing is definitely amongst the best quality we’ve sampled, the turkey is satisfactory and there is a lot of cranberry sauce. However, there is no bacon, which places it at a marginal disadvantage to both Boots and Costa. The alleged mesclun salad is, in this example, just a clod of spinach.

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17 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:13:02 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> A disappointingly standard sandwich from the darling of the supermarket world. The bacon is crispy, the spinach is a bit soft but a good addition. Actually, the stuffing stands-out as being unusually strong.

But the turkey is a real let down. There’s not much there and…why are the pieces all weird and small and scraggy looking? It’s just seems suspicious, that’s all. You know, like quorn.

Ultimately this is an adequate but forgettable offering. Sorry Waitrose.

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7 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:12:53 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Morrison’s are cowboys. They promise a “Christmas Sandwich” but then deliver this quickly thrown together, tragic looking ploughman’s. There’s no turkey here, not even turkey ham. Just regular ham. Pig ham. In an over-compensatory effort they’ve added both dried cranberries and a cranberry chutney, neither of which are very nice. There’s also, bizarrely, a lot of cheap nasty coleslaw thrown in. Some points are deserved for having the efficacy to pre-form their cheese into sandwich shaped triangles.

At £2.00 they seem to be going for the same market as Tesco. To be fair, it’s not quite as horrible.

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10 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:12:33 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> M&S don’t win any points for original naming – this is one of five “Turkey Feasts” we’ve encountered so far. The malted brown bread and red-maroon packaging are similarly generic.

The contents are drowning in mayo, which is a surprisingly cheap trick for Marks and Sparks. Also, there is a noticable lack of any leafy texture. Otherwise the sandwich is very good: we’ve got authentic turkey, authentic bacon, and probably the best vehicle for cranberry’s yet – a nice, tangy chutney with a slightly clove-like (cloven?) aftertaste – very festive.

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20 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:12:18 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> A real meat-feast. No salad, but four kinds of flesh. A good start. But sausages are not just some box you can tick, you know, Upper Crust. If you’re not going to use good meat (even by sausage standards) then don’t bother – cold, wrinkly pork tubes are a chore to consume. Wasted calories. We could be eating pork scratchings with those calories, or chocolate peanut-butter cups, or curly fries.

There is a really good quantity of filling going on. Plenty of turkey, and it’s good quality stuff but a smidge dry. Tonnes of cheapo bacon. The stuffing had an odd soapy overtone which was a bit off-putting.

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3 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 19:12:10 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Can you have a sandwich that is simultaneously low fat and symbolic of merriment and cheer? NO, EAT you CAN’T. Do you know why?

  1. Low-fat mayo with Xanthan gum (a US Govt engineered bacterial slime) is not festive.
  2. There isn’t enough variety in flavour. Why isn’t there any bacon? Where’s the stuffing?
  3. There is too much rocket. Now, I like rocket, it’s my favourite edible weed, but don’t lead with it.
  4. The Turkey is thin on the ground. It’s good quality turkey, but it’s only wafer thin.

I’m not faulting the quality, but the values here are all wrong. EAT need to think long and hard about what they’ve done.

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14 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 18:43:35 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Oh Burger King, what’s this supposed to be? You were meant to be better than this – you were meant to be the slightly more upmarket burger franchise. A Cranberry Tendercrisp is just a half-arsed hack, a regular Chicken Tendercrisp with a bit of red syrup thrown in.

It might be a bit unfair to judge a chicken burger against it’s nearest competitor’s beef offering, because cow always beats chicken. But even so, this is a shadow of the McFestive. The flavour combination just doesn’t work – chicken has no place at a Christmas table, with Christmas flavours. Least of all this sort of filthy reformed kebab-shop grade offering.

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