In recent years, the run-up to Christmas has become a race between high street supermarkets, shops, and cafes to see who can come up with the most exciting and innovative festive twists on lunchtime food. Knowing our European counterparts tend to look less than favourably upon British cuisine, we asked teams of French and German BuzzFeed employees to try a sample of British high street Christmas food, to see if our winter offerings redeem us in international eyes.
1. Eat: Pigs in Blankets Pot, £2.50.
Sausages wrapped in maple bacon with cranberry sauce.
Pierre (right): Am I supposed to be eating jam with this?
That's cranberry sauce.
Marie: Euuuughh. Why have you put jam on this?
Pierre: I sometimes eat fig jam on foie gras and that's good.
Jules (centre): I just... *looks incredibly sad*
Dani: The sausage and bacon seems excessive.
Phillip: It works for me.
We usually have these with a roast dinner.
Dani: Wow, so lots of different parts of animals?
Phillip: Yeah, makes sense.
Dani: I like the sauce.
2. Pret: Veggie Christmas Lunch Sandwich, £3.25, and Christmas Lunch Sandwich, £3.60.
Left: Roasted chunks of butternut squash, nutty pesto, rocket, yoghurt and mayo dressing, and crispy onions on malted bread. Right: Turkey breast, cranberry and port sauce, Pret’s stuffing (made with minced pork, streaky bacon, and apricots), crispy onions, and fresh baby spinach on malted bread.
So these are really popular.
Marie: I don't see why. Nope. The cranberry ruins everything.
Pierre: This is good. It's really good. I feel like it'd be better with a different type of bread.
Marie: Oh shit. Oh fuck. The vegetarian one is so gross. It's really nutty.
I think it's supposed to be a nut roast.
Jules: I got the vegetarian and I don't like it. No no no. The one with meat is not bad. I wouldn't pay for it. How many more dishes do I have to try?
Dani: The cranberry sauce is really strong. Is this mayo on it? Why? There's just too much on it – first there's turkey, then cranberry, then the mayo. I'm anti mayo and it's too much.
Phillip: I like it because there's a lot going on. I don't know what's in this vegetarian thing but I like it.
Dani: We don't have anything like the vegetarian one in Germany.
Is it quite hard being a vegetarian at Christmas in Germany?
Dani: Christmas is all about meat.
3. M&S: Smoked Salmon Snowballs With Crostini ("with a dusting of Christmas sparkle"), £2.50.
Jules: Fuck M&S. I don't even know where to put this. [eats] That's good. This is classic Christmas food.
Pierre: It's like a pâté but you have actual bits of salmon in it.
Jules: I'd like someone to spread it for me though.
And how do you feel about the silver?
Pierre: Nice touch.
The French team later ate all of the leftover salmon.
Phillip: Why is it silver?
Dani: Is that their colour in the wild? This tastes like something we'd have for Christmas. Like a smoked salmon for Christmas. Here it feels quite posh – you have all these deconstructed things in England. This seems like a perfectly fine salmon sandwich but you've taken it apart.
Phillip: It'd be great at parties.
4. Leon x Gizzi: Turkey Curry, £6.45.
Turkey, carrots, and parsnips in a creamy curry sauce, spiced with garam masala, cumin, and coriander. Topped with a sprinkling of crispy onions.
Pierre: Yeah, absolutely.
This is kind of a tradition here.
Jules: This feels like good hangover food.
Phillip: Today's the first time I've ever had turkey. It's good.
Dani: I don't really think it's Christmassy. But I like it.
5. Boots: Handcrafted Christmas Cake, £1.20.
Jules: What is on top?
Marie: Oh, fuck that.
Jules: Yeeugh. [spits out bite]
Pierre: It just fills your mouth. In France we have a chocolate Christmas cake, that is much better.
Dani: This is like stollen. This is great, very sticky but I like it.
Phillip: In Germany at Christmas we have a lot of baked things: gingerbread, biscuits, cake. This is similar. Yep. Good.