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Dec 17

TFTACOXS – December 20: the pret xmas vegetarian miracle

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 64 views

pret veg(posted for magnus who lost his password):
Pret have invented the finest Christmas vegetarian sandwich. Ever. Of all the turning points in world history, the introduction of this sandwich is surely going to be one of the best remembered – a miraculous innovation that, like penicillin and handrails, simply made things better.

I remember the moment I discovered it. It seemed impertinent if anything – a cheese and pickle sandwich in the Christmas range didn’t fit my all-too-narrow view of the festive menu. But there it was, and Pret and Christmas have pleased before, so I tried it. Cheese and pickle.

And how that tepid description undersold it. The cheese was a soft, spreading brie that resisted the bite with just enough tension to make piercing the surface a moment of tiny haptic victory. And the pickle — oh the pickle! — plum, delightful, sweet and tart, offsetting the and yet enlightening the already melting creamy foundation. But then, hidden and — at least by me — overlooked in the ingredients, came the masterstroke, the detail that lent this sandwich its transformative power. The pine nuts. I’m still not sure even now if they were roasted or oven toasted, or even fired in a skillet, but they scattered a crunch into the soft mix, and studded it with a rich, golden, almost buttery tang. I could not have believed it before I tried it, but this was, at last, the sublime Christmas vegetarian sandwich.

Anyway, Pret have withdrawn that sandwich, and this year’s model features walnut and pecan pesto with butternut squash. The pesto, standing in for a nut roast I guess, is the most this sandwich can claim for festiveness, and while the butternut squash slices were sweet and generous, they kept sliding out of the side. So bring cocktail sticks to your Pret, for both structural integrity and an improved sense of a Christmas canapé. It’s no brie and plum pickle with pine nuts, but it’s FINE.

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