Hail the humble sandwich!

Let’s salute the Great British Sandwich!

The humble sarnie has come a long way since the legend of its birth, created by the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, in 1762. The Earl was believed to be so engrossed in a game of poker that he couldn’t be tempted to the dinner table and instead asked a servant to place some meat between two slices of bread.

Completely accurate account or not, the sandwich was born – and my, how it’s grown. This week (May 11-17) is National Sandwich Week in the UK, giving the country’s ultimate, and favourite, meal-on-the-go the spotlight it deserves.

It’s estimated that Brits eat around 11 billion sandwiches every year, which works out roughly at almost 200 sarnies, per person. And these days, the choice of fillings and flavours is wider than ever. Some tastes will never change. The appeal and popularity of classics such as BLT – the saltiness and crunch of bacon against fresh lettuce and juicy tomato – ham and cheese, egg mayo, roast chicken salad and the appetite busting all day breakfast will never fade.

But sandwiches have moved with the times, evolved, and, for want of a better phrase, “got posh”. Urban Eat’s Posh Nosh is made with the finest, ultra-premium ingredients: tender beef with horseradish and mustard mayo; shredded ham hock, west country cheddar with real ale, caramelised onion and chutney; and the butter Kashmiri British chicken, king prawn and chorizo duo wrap – to mention just three.

Of course, when it comes to sandwiches, half the fun is in creating your own version, putting in exactly what you want. Why not? It’s your sandwich, after all, and there is literally no accounting for taste. Anything goes.

Fancy the sound of a smooth and runny honey with blue cheese? Ham, swiss cheese, mayo and…. Marmite? Bacon and pineapple? Apple and crisps? They all make peanut butter and banana, and the long-established fish finger sandwich look pretty tame by comparison. None of these combinations have been invented, they’re all out there. In fact, it’s probably almost impossible to come up with a totally unique sandwich!

And the most expensive? Well, in 2010, British chef Martin Blunos created a sandwich that cost £110, consisting of a specially-produced cheddar made from white truffles, powdered gold dust and a balsamic vinegar aged 100 years old. This combo was placed between sourdough bread.

“We Brits are known to love our cheese sandwiches, and here’s one that not only comes with a royal price tag, but is fit for the banqueting table,” said Martin, who also recommended his creation be washed down with Krug champagne”

So, whether you like a plain cheese and pickle, or something a little more extravagant, let’s celebrate the Great British sandwich! Let us know your favourite flavour combinations and we will pass on our team development chefs to help inspire more great new URBAN eat sandwiches in the future.