REVIEW: Christmas Lunch by Greggs

Turkey breast, sage & onion stuffing and cranberry & port sauce with spinach and mayonnaise in malted brown bread

Well well wellity well, I thought I was done. The EAT review I posted today was actually written on Tuesday and I thought that would see me through the week and I could retire for the season. But I’m back. I went to get a haircut because it’s Christmas and you’ve gotta look good, but everyone has the same idea and my usual barber has been – to coin a phrase of Charlie Brooker – packed to cunting point for two days. So I tried my luck with a new Turkish barber, and something new happened. I saw them putting sticks up people’s nose and leaving them there for a bit. When my time came, I decided to try it out and see what it is. Turns out, those sticks are covered in wax, and when he yanks them out it rips all of the hair out from around your nostrils. Wonderful – especially when you weren’t expecting such a sharp pain during a haircut.

Then after that, I was walking past yet another Greggs and today what did they have? Christmas sandwiches, that’s what. So you sexy little pigs get two reviews in one day. Merry Christmas. So let’s get down to business. Let’s hit the ground running. Let’s reach out and schedule a sandwich review.

I would say that this sandwich is as close to a homemade sandwich as it’s going to get for me. Very well balanced, the spinach staying in it’s lane, a great tasting bit of bacon in there, the cranberry sauce is good and the bread isn’t cold or slightly damp like a lot of other shop bought sandwiches. My only complaint would be that the stuffing is a bit bland. If you put the M&S Power Stuffing™ in this, we could have a winner on our hands. Is this why it was so hard to find a Christmas sandwich in Greggs this year? Because they are one of the best? It’s good to finish on a high.

So that’s it. I’ll put up some official rankings over the Christmas break, but I don’t think there will be anymore reviews this year. I’m not even going to proof read this one.

And did you notice? Pret didn’t even make it. They should’ve made more sandwiches because I went in a few and they had run out. The fools.

REVIEW: Butter Basted Turkey & Cranberry by EAT

£3.50 – Malted bread, filled with cranberry sauce, butter basted sliced turkey breast, fresh rocket and creamy mayonnaise.

I’ve been into a couple of EAT stores this December and have been unable to find last year’s king of kings – the mighty Festive Full Works Bloomer. They are definitely doing it again because it’s on the website. I’ve also been into a few Pret’s that have run out of Christmas sandwiches altogether. You’d think that by now they’d be sending me review copies for my internationally renowned blog. But no, my efforts go unnoticed.  So until I find a better one, we’re going with Butter Basted Turkey & Cranberry instead. I’m not even sure if this is part of their Christmas range, as there’s no stuffing or anything like that. Or Christmas branding. I haven’t been to EAT since last Christmas, so if they make this sandwich all year round please let me know.

As I prepared all of this week’s posts earlier in the week, I’m going to jump straight into it because I’m eating a lot of sandwiches in one go here, and I ate that god awful Uppercrust baguette the night before and it is still haunting my dreams. And bowels. And I also had that WH Smiths Christmas paste one just now. I think I might be done for the year.

The turkey in this is very tender and moist, and the cranberry has a great sweetness to it, but they have made one fatal mistake – rocket. Unlike a lot of people I like rocket, but boy oh boy is it the main taste in this sandwich. It’s like the lid fell off the pepper shaker and ruined Christmas, like your mother-in-law’s passive aggressive comments normally do. It’s not awful, but it’s not the Festive Full Works Bloomer. This is a disaster. Christmas is ruined. I wish I’d never married you.

P.S. I did buy one of these to review last Friday. I stuffed it in my bag, forgot about it, got drunk, and then this happened. I felt it would be unfair to review the poor thing.

REVIEW: Christmas Cracker by Ginsters

£4.49 – British turkey breast, mayonnaise, pork and sage sausage, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry and red onion chutney and sweetcure flavoured bacon on oatmeal bread

Look at that – not only is it not called Turkey Feast, it’s a name that has never appeared on the blog before. Ginsters you little beauty! I bought this sandwich in Whstlestop. You know, that kind of supermarket shop in train stations. And I’m excited, because one of my favourite pre-packaged petrol station sandwiches is a Ginsters cheese ploughman. It’s the little things that get me through life. But is this sandwich going to live up to my expectations? Well let’s dive straight in and get down to business. You don’t want to hear about my trip to the post office anyway. Is this sandwich truly a Christmas cracker?

Look, oatmeal bread instead of malted! Ginsters going all out to be different. And they give 10p to charity for every sandwich bought, like Pret and M&S. Ginsters are hitting all the right notes. But what about the taste? This is another sandwich where the sage and onion stuffing comes through strongly (probably powered by the extra sage inthe sausage). There is a delicate hint of cranberry, but I think there’s a bit too much mayonnaise. Now don’t get me wrong, I love mayonnaise enough that I can eat it direct from the jar with a spoon, but it could just do with a little bit less. Nevertheless, it’s another solid sandwich to add to this year’s list and if you’re in a station and your options are Smiths, Uppercrust or Whistlestop, this is the one to go for. But where are the outstanding sandwiches? After a year like 2017, we need our heroes.

REVIEW: Turkey Feast by WHSmith

£3.45 – Turkey breast & sweet cured bacon with pork, sage & onion stuffing, mayonnaise & cranberry sauce on malted brown bread

How are Smiths still around? Who’s buying magazines? Or even more ludicrous – newspapers? It’s the rolling news era – guesswork, assumptions and minimal actual details are what we want from our news. Coupled with idiot comments, opinions and replies. I never think of Smiths for sandwiches. A free bottle of water when you buy a newspaper and then leave the newspaper on the shelf before catching a train? Sure, but no sandwiches. Wait, that’s how they are keeping newspaper sales up! *mind blows*

Before anyone gets clever with the date on the packet of this sandwich, yes this was written and eaten yesterday, so shut up. And I’m sick of this so let’s crack on.

This sandwich has a good flavour, but it is quite mushy. Do you remember fish paste sandwiches in the 80s? Do you like Peter Kay routines? Well this sandwich has a texture like that, but with a bit of chewy bacon in there as well. Have they created Christmas paste? Should I be creating and marketing Christmas paste? Because it sounds awesome. But it isn’t. And just like that, I’m back to not thinking about Smiths for sandwiches.

REVIEW: Turkey Feast by Uppercrust

£5.49 – Turkey, stuffing, sausage, brie, spinach and cranberry sauce in a white baguette

If you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen my story yesterday where I stuffed a load of Christmas sandwiches into my bag around Paddington station. Yes, on my way back from Slough I went around all of the shops and stocked up. Except for Cafe Nero, which had run out, and Starbucks, which didn’t seem to make one. That was the second time I’ve been to both of them and they didn’t have any. Greggs has had two chances as well. Well fuck ’em, they’re all disqualified this year. If you don’t know what an Instagram story is, it was Facebook’s desperate attempt to emulate Snapchat because everyone under 25 was using that. If none of that makes any sense to you, you are probably better off. Web 2.0 was heralded as a revolution in user generated content and free expression, but all it did was reveal that people are either vain or racist. Or both. You’re both. North Korea, please free us from it all.

As you may be able to tell from the lighting in the photo, I had this baguette for dinner last night. Look what you have reduced me to too – carrying a baguette across the whole of London and eating it for my dinner. It’s pathetic really, Milhouse’s dad pathetic. You monsters. But Uppercrust was the Christmas sandwich of the year 2012, so I was looking forward to this. Uppercrust don’t give you a package with a list of ingredients on it, and there is nothing on the website, so I’ve had to compile that list which is why it wasn’t very fancy.

Now, since the giddy days of Olympic fever in 2012, Uppercrust has gone down in my estimations. If you’ve ever had one of their lukewarm breakfast muffins, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s actually pretty shit. How they expect a muffin to warm up in a microwave in 10 seconds, I don’t understand. Seriously, do not bother with it. But it’s been a long time since I had a baguette from them. You can’t mess that up, right? Oh.

This just tastes of their pretty manky sausages and very cold cheese, like one of their reheated breakfast muffins but with some cranberry in it. The stuffing and turkey are nowhere to be seen. Even the spinach doesn’t taste of anything. What has happened? Have a read of my glowing 2012 review (eurgh, precious clicks). The things that made it great 5 years – real cranberries, thick turkey, decent bacon and apple sauce – are all gone. They have been replaced with thinly sliced rubbish. And a really manky sausage. I’m a big sausage fan (matron), so if I think one looks and tastes manky, this means it is very bad. And the brie is awful too. A revised ingredients list would read:

Thinly sliced rubbish, stuffing (allegedly), manky sausage, gross brie, the only spinach in the world that does not taste of anything and happy shopper cranberry sauce in a white baguette

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

AN UPDATE SINCE I DRAFTED THIS LAST NIGHT: The cold brie and manky sausage repeated on me all night and made me feel quite horrible. This morning there were repercussions. Just avoid this at all costs.

REVIEW: Turkey Feast by M&S (2017)

£3.50 – Roast British turkey breast with pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, smoked British bacon, mayonnaise and fried onions on malted brown bread.

Well today’s the day. The day I had to go to M&S and have a hug with the Big Issue lady.  I got some cash together and just before accepting my fate, I tried one last time to avoid it – I went to Greggs first, but they had no Christmas sandwiches of any kind, toasted or otherwise. Not even labels for them! So I resigned myself to getting hugged. To be clear, buying a big issue and having a slightly awkward chat I don’t mind. When you see the same person a lot, that just happens. I used to work in a library and there was seller who worked outside so I’d talk to him everyday and buy an issue every month. It’s the hugging. I just don’t like being hugged, by pretty much anyone. Get off!

So I ducked into M&S, got my sandwich and braced myself. But today there was no hug. It’s bloody freezing outside and she was sat down and wrapped up, and offered a hand for a handshake. Now this I can deal with! But then as I shook her hand, she pulled it towards her and kissed it. Whilst I say that I find hugging awkward, this was definitely a million times more awkward. I felt like a complete douchebag. So there you go, there’s your story, hope you liked it. And I have a nice Christmas copy of the Big Issue to put straight into the recycling read at my leisure.

I also have another sandwich to review! Like Co-Op, M&S have gone for the same as last year but added fried onions. In fact, except for the cranberry sauce being called cranberry chutney, the list of ingredients is exactly the same as Co-Op. Is there some sort of Christmas sandwich conspiracy going on here? Are they the same sandwich? The proof is in the pudding sandwich, so lets eat!

Okay, they are not the same sandwich. You can hardly taste the onions in this and, unlike the Co-Op, you can really taste the cranberry sauce. Sorry: chutney. But neither of these things are the issue with this sandwich, there is a much bigger issue: sage. Oh boy is there a lot of sage in that stuffing! Which I kind of like, but it does overpower everything else. If you don’t like sage, you’re gonna hate this.

If you do like sage and you’re going to get this, I also recommend the Festive Trio –  a selection of little festive sausage rolls. There’s a goat’s cheese and caramalised onion one, a turkey and cranberry one and a three bird roast one! Very good. Go on, add it to your lunch.
I finally watched Parks and Recreation in this the year of our Lord 2017

A gif! It’s getting like Buzzfeed around here.

17 Sandwiches That Were The Same As Last Year. You Won’t Believe Number 6.

This Man Jumped Into The Thames After Eating Christmas Sandwiches Every Day And People Are Going Wild.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be no blog on Monday because I am being banished to the deepest depths of the nether realm (Slough), but I will be going to a major London train station and plan to stuff my bag with any sandwiches I can’t buy locally. It might be a bumper week next week! Or, of course, it might not.

REVIEW: Turkey, Stuffing & Bacon by Waitrose (2017)

£3.20 – Turkey breast, pork and chestnut stuffing, cranberry, port and orange chutney with mayonnaise, smoked bacon and spinach in sliced malted bread.

Whoa, where have I been? How have you, my sandwich review addicted wastrels, coped without me for two whole days? Well let me get my excuses in first. On Tuesday I was travelling over lunch time, and although I did make the effort and go into a Greggs, Cafe Nero and Starbucks, none of them had a Christmas sandwich that didn’t require toasting and as I was a) in a rush and b) getting on the tube for an hour, so that didn’t work for me. Then yesterday it was raining and I simply couldn’t be bothered. How about that then?

But today my beautiful little followers, I have produced the goods! I went for short run to Waitrose, and that shit is uphill the whole way so I  think I have paid my penance for the lack of updates. I know, I’m a hero but please hold your admiration because, like all heroes nowadays, I could be outed as a nonce or sex pest at any moment.

So have Waitrose done what every other shop has done and brought out exactly the same sandwich? Yes. Sure, they may have changed the order of some the ingredients, but it is the same. The price is the same. Even the box is identical! Has this sandwich been sitting there for a whole year? I never go to Waitrose (man of the people) so there is a good chance it has. And yeah it’s still great, one of the best on the list, but why am I still doing this? Can I stop please?

COMING TOMORROW: Either the local Greggs or M&S and the haunting possibility of being hugged by a stranger.