The annual Christmas Sandwich Taste Test is the stuff of lore in the HuffPost newsroom, with festive vultures descending from all departments to help us blind sample offerings from all the high street chains outside our office door.
This year, things look a little different. We’re all still working from home, for starters, and we’ve yet to even organise the work Christmas party on Zoom.
But we’re determined to keep things festive all the same, and so we’ve committed, each to a different store, to ensure we deliver our verdicts on the best Christmas sandwiches on the block. Let us tell you, there are some special flavour combinations on offer this year. So, starting in reverse order...
Waitrose Christmas Curry Bangers Brioche
Reviewed by: Nancy Groves, head of life
“Nothing says Christmas like curry wurst, said no one outside a German market ever. But I kind of applaud the chef who came up with what might be the least Waitrose-y offering I’ve seen from the supermarket in a long time. The doughy bun, sliced sausage and smush of ketchup, mayo and mustard really isn’t far off what you might get from one of those handy hot dog stalls that appear after a big night out (remember those?) – only this being Waitrose, you get sauerkraut rather than your standard fried onion. While I can’t score this highly for presentation, if I’m being honest, there’s something perversely tasty about this sandwich surprise and I’d wager it could hit the spot of a heavy hangover, if, SOB, we ever have occasion to drink with our friends again.”
Tesco Turkey Curry with Onion Bhaji Wrap
Reviewed by: Rachel Moss, life reporter
“Curry is on the menu, it seems. This festive wrap is perfect for people (like me) who prefer the Christmas leftovers to the main event and can’t stomach any more cranberry sauce. The turkey is tender and the tikka mayonnaise keeps everything sufficiently moist. The spinach offers a nice pop of colour against the lightly spiced tortilla, but the overall texture would be improved with a crispy bhaji (the current offering is a little limp). It’s not perfect, but it is tasty – in a guilty-pleasure, microwave curry sort of way. Other than the packaging, it’s not remotely Christmassy and could be served any time of the year – perhaps that’s why I like it. It’s decent value for money and can also be part of a meal deal.”
Sainsbury’s Ultimate Christmas Feast
Reviewed by: Amy Packham, life editor
“When I look at the sandwich in the packaging, it doesn’t look very appetising at all – the thick white bread, coupled with the brown/grey colours (gravy mayonnaise) don’t appeal. But of course, this is a taste test, and one I am fully committed to. I bite into the sandwich and I’m pleasantly surprised – the bread is soft, the filling is thick and moist, and the gravy mayo is delicious. They’ve fitted a lot in the sandwich, and you can definitely test the turkey, alongside the stuffing and cranberry sauce. I’m pretty full after the first triangle, then eat the second, which I slightly regret. It’s a good price at £2.70, and exactly what you’d want in a festive sandwich – so don’t judge a book by its cover.”
M&S Turkey Feast On Soft Malted Brown Bread
Reviewed by: Angela Hui, life reporter
“Upon first bite, I am pleasantly surprised by the succulent, juicy pieces of white turkey meat, which aren’t dry in the least bit. There’s crumbled bits of pork sage and onion stuffing sprinkled throughout which adds a fragrant sage, thyme and parsley herby touch to it. Underneath is a layer of smoked bacon, a welcome salty, fatty element that ties the whole meaty sandwich together. Although, it’s let down greatly by the sheer amount of butter and cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce is a touch on the too-sweet side ,almost verging into jelly territory. I can feel my arteries clogging from the butter. I feel like I’m Homer Simpson eating a caramel waffle wrapped around a whole stick of the stuff. But it gets a bonus half point as M&S donates 5% of sales from its festive food-on-the-go to Shelter.”
Waitrose The Festive Chicken Feast
Reviewed by: Nancy Groves, head of life
“I feel like Waitrose sometimes make a point of doing thing differently just for the sake of it. Why have turkey when you can have chicken? Why use brown bread, when you can bake it yellow? In fact, these sunny slices are actually made from slice potato and parsnip, which is kind of clever, and the chicken is slathered in turkey stock mayo, so you get the best of both worlds. Also hidden in here are some brussels sprouts, plus savoy and white cabbage, If that sounds like a lot, it is actually a refreshingly light take on the usual festive doorstop, and perfect for those who find those all-you-can-eat feasts a little bit too much.”
Greggs’ Pigs Under Blanket Baguette
Price: from £2.80
Reviewed by: Tasha Hinde, life reporter
“I personally feel that retailers can try to be too clever with their Christmas sandwich offerings – we just want a festive turkey sarnie or a veggie equivalent, nothing too complex. That’s why I’m more than happy to receive a Greggs baguette that isn’t pretentious, but simply does what it says on the tin (or in this case, paper packet). This baguette is certainly a big boy (you get your money’s worth!) filled with pork sausages; sweetcure bacon; pork, sage and onion stuffing; and a cranberry and port sauce. I eat mine cold (I’m not sure if you’re meant to heat it?) and it tastes like a pretty basic, cold sausage and bacon sarnie, but with an added sweetness from the cranberry sauce. The baguette is nice and crunchy, while the centre is soft and there’s lots of texture coming from the sausage, bacon, stuffing and sauce. It’s classic Greggs – simple, lacking in veggies, but admittedly it does hit the spot. Would be good on a hangover.”
Pret Christmas Lunch Baguette
Reviewed by: Adam Bloodworth, features writer
“I’m a complete sucker for soggy. Roasts should come lavished with gravy please, and Christmas dinner:cCranberry sauce, do your best! Which is why the Christmas Lunch Baguette is my favourite pick from this year’s Pret range. It’s properly laden with cranberry sauce, with added port and orange that properly does one up on supermarket mass-produced versions. The crusty bread acts as a trustworthy vessel for all that sumptuous goo. The turkey is soft and the pork stuffing rich, although a tad dry for my liking (thus not quite full marks). New for this year is a Vegan Christmas Lunch Baguette, too, for £3.75. The other festive sandwiches in the range are also deeply filled and rich. You can tell Pret always use high quality ingredients, which makes its sandwiches work harder – they’re just slightly less juicy than the baguettes, which in my book means less fun.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.