tesco pulled beef For this entry we are approaching the fuzzy boundary of the Christmas sanger, where taxonomy begins to break down. I’m not talking about Christmas wraps, burritos, salads, pies or even pizzas, which have all been declared legitimate. I’m talking about the Tesco Finest Pulled Beef and Aged Red Leicester sandwich (with – this is crucial – BBQ sauce). Is this a nice sandwich? Certainly it is – red leicester (aged or youthful) is a rare and undervalued sandwich cheese; the pulled beef is reasonably flavoursome and juicy and the BBQ sauce appropriate. It wouldn’t become a regular choice but I was happy to try it.

Is it festive, though? Surely not. It’s very hard to think of anything with BBQ sauce as being Christmassy, even if beef is a Christmas option and red leicester a cheeseboard stalwart. And yet the sandwich is packaged in the Tesco Finest Christmas range packaging, with images of stars, frosting, etc. On the Tesco website the sandwich appears, but not as part of any Christmas range. It both is and isn’t a Christmas sandwich. It is the platypus of seasonal sangers, devilish hard to classify.

What I think is happening here is this. Christmas is a good time for grocery sales. The ranges available at Christmas have become absurdly extended, because slapping the Christmas branding on some food boosts profit, in the same way that East 17 putting bells on “Stay Another Day” helped them grab a #1. So if there’s any chance whatsoever of an experimental sandwich recipe getting Christmas branding, the supermarkets are going to take it. It’s Christmas sandwich mission creep: expect Festive Tuna Mojitos all round next year.