Previously on Brie & Cranberry Wars…we saw our intrepid reporter tackling sauce with curious geometrical properties, incisoring through predictably chewy bread and carefully measuring the thickness of sliced cheese leading an ultimate stalemate…

As with all cliffhanger resolutions, first we must switch scenes to somewhere completely different. Let me pierce the illusion of high tension drama with some light comedy relief, wherein your protagonist runs away embarrassed from a member of staff in an otherwise completely empty branch of Tossed (yes, it is funny), one of several make-yer-own-salad chains dotted around London. The process there is all very modern (at least it is in the branch closest to my office) where one can pick a salad base, toppings and dressing on one of the available tablets (in a very similar fashion to the iPad Peppa Pig game where you construct an ice-cream out of palm oil and glitter). Rather than risk any free text user input, the app assigns you the name of a ‘celebrity’, usually a Hollywood actor, to which you must respond when called from the counter to collect your assembled salad. This system is happily gender agnostic: in the past I have been dubbed ‘Tom Cruise’, ‘Brad Pitt’ and ‘Lassie’ (Lassie was played by a boy dog) as well as ‘Julia Roberts’ and ‘Cameron Diaz’.

Unfortunately as we now know, not all celebs are worthy of salad appropriation. You can guess what was running through my mind as I swiped left past Italian mozzarella and spinach leaves, desperately searching for something Christmas themed. I’m pretty sure I’d seen a certain Person Who Apparently Looks Similar To Christopher Plummer assigned to someone else’s salad in the recent past – what if Tossed hadn’t updated their systems yet? All this to avoid poor employees having to call out 'Bobby);DROP TABLE salads;' from behind the counter! The sour taste in my mouth would not only spoil my appetite but ruin any sense of objectivity I could give for a review. The eager member of staff asked if I needed help – and I froze. I panicked. And like that… I was gone, sans salad and scurrying away to a rival lunch emporium a few doors down.

DSC_0779Anyway the greatest trick that the devil ever pulled was the injection of brie and cranberry into bloody well everything this December, including Eat’s Brie & Truffle Mac & Cheese (left).

Readers, it was a Christmas miracle: no trace of either the dread veg (cauliflower) or any stealth mustard meant this was the first shop-bought macaroni cheese I’ve actually enjoyed for many moons. The crispy onions were plentiful and had a good crunch, the brie flavour wasn’t overwhelming and the pasta wasn’t completely overdone. Even the cranberry interloper was handly dolloped to one side so I could choose how much to intersperse with the rest of the pasta and sauce.

Admittedly it felt a bit like I was eating a Muller Corner but it certainly beat the Sains and Pret sangers into the minor medal positions. You know what? There’s even a small possibility I’d eat it AGAIN. Well done Eat!