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Filling a need

Eurest | Great food |  16 May 2013



We all think we know how it started; what we call sandwiches were invented by the 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th century aristocrat with a penchant for cribbage. The story being that the earl was so fixated on playing his game that he ordered his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread because it allowed him to eat his lunch while playing cards, without getting his cards greasy.

There’s evidence too that the practice of putting a tasty filling between two bits of bread goes back at least as far as the invention of bread, originally flat and unleavened. It’s documented that a rabbi called Hillel the Elder, first suggested eating herbs inside unleavened matzo bread around 110 BC. A herb sandwich doesn’t sound hugely exciting but if you consider the popularity of pesto and za’atar with bread and oil it doesn’t seem such a big leap.

Right from the off, the concept of sandwiches made sense. With humans nearly always engaged in other activities it seems highly likely that people might stuff meat or vegetables between solid and absorbent bread to make portable food that can be eaten without making a mess. And it’s a no brainer nutritionally — protein and carbs, and possibly fibre and vitamins all in one neat parcel.

Sandwiches are fantastically flexible and with endless potential for variety. You only need to look at some of the regional and international versions to see what an institution they are across the world:

  • In Scotland, sandwiches are known as ‘pieces’ — and a ‘piece and jam’ is an institution.
  • In Mexico and across the Americas, food encased in flour tortillas is known by a variety of names including enchiladas, tacos and burrito.
  • To this day in America, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is almost as much of a national dish as apple pie.
  • The bacon butty is the UK’s most popular sandwich with trusty cheese and pickle coming a close second.
  • In Italy the open textured ciabatta is used for sandwiches, a delicious alternative to the UK’s loaf bread and lending itself beautifully to olive oil, pesto and cheeses such as taleggio and mozzarella.

In this age of increasing food sophistication it’s still true that sinking your teeth into a delicious sarnie is one of life’s great pleasures. Whichever sandwich most floats your boat, we can all agree that it isn’t going anywhere, continuing to be a delicious and convenient way of eating when a full, sit-down meal is neither desirable nor appropriate.

At Eurest, we know that better than most, and we put a lot of thought into developing new and delicious varieties to delight our customers. Let’s keep on celebrating the great sandwich together.

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