When it comes to the nation’s favourite Christmas moments, the arrival of the year’s festive sandwiches is definitely one of them. From Pret and EAT to M&S and Sainsbury’s, these are Stylist’s picks from this year’s bunch.
When my editor laid out the task of reviewing 2019’s Christmas menus, I decided to take on the challenge. After all, someone had to complete this arduous task, and being the extremely professional journalist that I am, I approached the job of sandwich reviewer with all the investigative vigour it deserved. And let me tell you: it deserved a lot.
Because whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, we can all agree that the arrival of Christmas sandwiches in the nation’s cafés, supermarkets and eateries is one of the defining moments of the festive season. From pigs in blankets toasted inside a panini to a whole roast dinner nestled inside a roll, the Christmas sandwich is a truly iconic invention.
Now, having eaten my weight in Christmas sandwiches (with a little help from the rest of the Stylist editorial team) and harboured enough deliveries to thoroughly annoy reception, I’ve arrived at my conclusions.
From the best turkey recipe and the most festive sandwich to the best no-mayo pick and most unique vegan recipe, welcome to Stylist’s pick of the best festive sandwiches for 2019. Make sure to scroll down all the way to the bottom of the piece for the sandwich of 2019 – you won’t want to miss it.
Best Vegetarian: Pret’s Veggie Christmas Lunch
You can always rely on Pret to deliver a banger, and their veggie Christmas sandwich is no different. The Veggie Christmas Lunch sandwich – which features a “Christmas” pesto made with pine nuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, parsley and rosemary – gives this one a uniquely festive taste, which is perfectly complimented by the crunchiness of the crispy onions and caramelised pecans.
Best Vegan: Starbucks’ Very Merry Vegan Wrap
As a non-vegan myself I decided to enlist some help to make this decision, and the answer was unanimous. Filled with plenty of stuffing and boasting loads of flavour, Starbucks have really outdone themselves here. The beautiful beetroot wrap also makes it stand out from the crowd: we’d certainly be happy to see this one hang around all year.
Best Vegan Runner-Up: Coco di Mama’s Very Merry Vegan Ciabatta (vegan bacon sandwich)
Stylist’s fitness editor Meriam Ahari has been vegan for over three years and she’s had her share of disappointing sandwich options. Her verdict on Coco di Mama’s festive option? She asked for seconds. If you’re a vegan who misses the taste or consistency of mayonnaise, this sandwich does the trick with it’s tasty vegan mayo. Although the bacon didn’t taste like the actual thing (a potential bonus for some vegans), it was a lively mix with the perfect ratio of cranberry and parsnip stuffing, some tasty smoked chilli jam, and, of course, lots of THIS™ Isn’t Bacon (made primarily from soya). Plus, 25p from the sandwich goes to The Felix Project to help feed a hungry Londoner.
Best Turkey: M&S Food’s Turkey Feast
Everyone knows they can rely on M&S’ food to be tasty, but they’ve really delivered here. The Turkey Feast sandwich is filled to the brim with pieces of turkey, bacon, stuffing and cranberry sauce, all nestled between two pieces of soft malted brown bread. While turkey sandwiches can veer on the dry side, this one is suitably moist thanks to the generous helpings of mayo and cranberry sauce. And as if that wasn’t enough, 5% of the sale is dedicated to the homeless charity shelter. A round of applause please.
Best Pigs In Blankets: Costa’s Festive Pigs Under Blankets Stonebaked Panini
If you’re not a fan of turkey (or if you just bloody love pigs in blankets), this one’s for you. While it’s not technically pigs in blankets in a sandwich (the bacon and sausages are separate), it tastes exactly like it, and the toasted bread adds a whole new dimension to the panini. Delicious.
Best Salmon: EAT’s Smoked Salmon, Beetroot & Horseradish on Dark Rye Bloomer
If you’re looking for something a bit different this Christmas, why not go for EAT’s smoked salmon, beetroot and horseradish sandwich? Instead of the traditional smoked salmon and cream cheese recipe, this sandwich offers a unique twist on a classic. It may not sound like a match made in heaven, but it just works. Trust us.
Best Use Of Cheese: GAIL’s Turkey & Cheese on Waste-less Sourdough
This may sound like a pretty random category, but you’ll know what I’m talking about when you sink your teeth into this beautiful sandwich. First of all, it’s made from Waste-Less Sourdough, aka the UK’s first loaf made from surplus loaves, meaning you can avoid that unnecessary waste. All that’s left to do is pick up this GAIL’s sandwich from your local bakery and tuck into some delicious slices of turkey and Mayfield Swiss cheese layered with homemade bacon jam and the most incredible chipotle aioli – you can thank us later.
Best Brie And Cranberry: EAT’s Brie, Cranberry and Nut Stuffing Bloomer
Brie truly is the cheese of Christmas, and this sandwich from EAT tops the list of brie-inclusive recipes on offer. Laden with plenty of cranberry sauce and filled with delicious nut stuffing, this is another great option for the vegetarians among us. The combination of the nut stuffing and creamy brie is the big winner here, adding a rich and indulgent edge to the whole experience – perfect for the festive season.
Best Wrap: Aldi’s Turkey and Trimmings Wrap
When you’re full up from all the incredibly indulgent festive food on offer, Aldi’s Turkey and the Trimmings wrap is the perfect way to eat something lighter without dodging the Christmas spirit. The mix of turkey with a good helping of pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry and port chutney, mayonnaise and friend onions is everything you want in a festive sandwich – and the wrap doesn’t get in the way of the amazing flavours in between.
Best Gluten-Free Option: M&S Food’s Gluten Free Turkey Feast
It’s all the fun of the regular turkey feast sandwich with some pretty tasty gluten free bread to go with it – what’s not to love? Plus, as with the other M&S sandwich, 5% of the proceeds will go to homeless charity Shelter, so that’s always good news.
Best No Mayo: PAUL’s All About The Sprouts
For those among us who really don’t like mayo, PAUL’s All About The Sprouts sandwich is a pretty tasty alternative. This colourful combination of hummus, roasted Brussel sprouts, spinach, pickled red cabbage, grilled carrots and chestnuts is topped with a generous helping of orange jam and old English chutney, and it’s delicious, sweet and refreshing. The freshly baked cranberry, onion and sage baguette is a pretty big bonus, too.
Most Festive: Sainsbury’s Christmas Market Sandwich
If you’re looking for the taste of Christmas in a roll, look no further than this Christmas market sandwich from Sainsbury’s. Nestled inside the delicious brioche roll you’ll find a mix of ham hock, sauerkraut, beer-flavoured mayonnaise and some weirdly wonderful gherkins. If you can’t get to Europe this year for the authentic Christmas market experience, this roll will at least take you half the way.
Most Unique: Jamie Oliver Smoky Cheese and Coleslaw
It’s not what you’d conventionally expect from a festive sandwich, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty. Packed with nice smoky cheese and some great chunky slaw, this is a good sandwich, even if isn’t the most Christmassy thing ever.
Best All-Around: Starbucks’ Tis’ The Season Turkey Sandwich
As soon as I’d taken the first couple of bites of this delightful sandwich, I knew I’d found my all-around winner. No, it’s not a culinary masterpiece, and it doesn’t offer anything you wouldn’t expect from a festive menu, but that’s kind of the point. It’s got everything you want from a Christmas sandwich: it’s stuffed with plenty of filling, boasts a perfect amount of cranberry sauce and is generally just very yummy. It’s a solid thumbs up from me.
The Sandwich Of 2019: PAUL’s Dinde De Noël
And last but not least, the big award goes to the one and only PAUL’s Dinde De Noël. To start with, the cranberries are literally baked into the bread, which is also sage and onion flavoured. Between the delicious baguette you’ll find sliced turkey, smoky bacon and spinach with some rich cream cheese and horseradish sauce. The horseradish sauce may sound rogue, but trust me – it makes it all worth it.
Images: Courtesy of brands
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.
Recommended by Lauren Geall
The best luxury food and drink gift hampers for Christmas 2019
All the Christmas TV we’ve got to look forward to this festive season
Food and Drink
7 delectable cheese advent calendars for a fromage-filled Christmas countdown
14 beautiful bottles of booze to give as gifts (including alcohol-free options)