The humble sandwich must be one of the greatest inventions ever - such a simple concept that is completely portable and can be filled with almost anything. This year celebrates 250 years since the creation of the first sandwich.
The UK sandwich industry is massive, with around 3.25 billion commercial sandwiches eaten every year and an annual turnover of over £6 billion (The British Sandwich Association). However, the popularity of the sandwich is not restricted to these shores and it has been adapted to suit a variety of tastes across the world. Here we have a run-down of some of the most popular, and unusual, sandwich fillings from around the globe.
The New York Club Sandwich is popular in many countries and is thought to have originated at the Saratoga Club House in Saratoga Spring, New York (What's Cooking America). It simply consists of three slices of white bread filled with chicken, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. The finished sandwich is held in place by toothpicks and cut into four triangles.
This Portuguese delicacy means 'little Frenchie'. It originates from the French classic croque monsieur and was invented by returning migrants (Portuguese Gourmet). The sandwich is filled with either ham, sausage or steak, covered in melted cheese and served with a hot tomato and beer sauce. The sauce recipe is a secret to each individual restaurant and the degree of spiciness will vary.
Pan-BagnatThis sandwich is a speciality from the area around Nice in the south of France and is based on the traditional Nicoise Salad. A baguette is hollowed out and filled with tuna, green peppers, red onion, boiled egg, olives and tomatoes and finished with a red wine vinaigrette. This easily transportable sandwich is excellent for picnics.
Peanut Butter and JellyWhat collection of sandwich recipes wouldn't be complete without the addition of an American staple? Children across the United States have been brought up on this simple concept of layers of peanut butter and jam (known over there as jelly) sandwiched between white bread. According to the National Peanut Board, the average American will have consumed 1,500 of these sandwiches by the time they finish high school. It's probably not for the sandwich connoisseur but it certainly does the job.
I just had to mention this Swedish creation, which with its buttery layers and creamy fillings basically resembles a giant cake. The layers of white bread are filled with a selection of fillings including egg mayonnaise, pate, smoked salmon, caviar and cold meats. The top of the 'cake' is then decorated and sliced as you would a traditional sweet cake.
This pressed sandwich is said to have been created for factory workers and became popular with migrant workers in Florida (Whats4eats). It consists of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard in between Cuban bread. The sandwich is then placed into a sandwich press to make it exceptionally thin and crispy and easy to eat.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
With all this variety around, it might be surprising to learn that research from The British Sandwich Association shows that the most popular sandwich filling in the UK is the humble chicken salad. However, when you think about it, done correctly this should be a delicious sandwich: fresh roasted chicken, juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce with a layer of mayonnaise. Easy to make and adaptable depending on your tastes it becomes obvious why it's the top seller.
So why not go for something more adventurous this lunchtime?