The twelve days of Christmas menus from Exeter campus’ own

It doesn’t get more festive (or rah) than eating a brie and cranberry toastie

This was extensive research project that was taken very seriously and was definitely not an excuse to spend all my money on Christmas paninis – don’t even talk to me about the coffees I got alongside this. Gazing at the price, I wondered if this was going to be worth it, but of course it was. If you can’t get excited about eating Christmas food in November, then when can you? Ranking them in true Christmas style – and by that I mean following the classic The Twelve Days of Christmas song, we’ll be seeing what my two true loves (Pret and Starbucks) are giving me with their Xmas menu this year.

On the first day of Christmas Pret gave to me: A Boxing Day toastie

Price: £4.99

Rating: 6.5/10

As I passed the already greasy toastie to the man at Pret, I wondered if this would be worth it, it sounds great; turkey, ham, stuffing, cheese, caramelised onion chutney and sage mayo but it was actually slightly underwhelming. The balance between sweet and salty was not done very well and it could have done with a lot more onion chutney. My initial thought when I read ham was a slither of it from a pack from Tesco, so the meat quantity did not disappoint, as it was packed with turkey and thick pulled pieces of ham. Christmas ham is the best ham, fight me. Although the lack of chutney offended me, (yep, I am now seeing myself as Gordon Ramsey), it was pretty lush.

On the second day of Christmas Starbucks gave to me: Pigs under blankets

Price: £4.89

Rating: 8.7/10

With the reminiscence of the toastie in my mind, I made the Grinch (my housemate) try this one, providing he gave a full account of it. I wish I had tried it now. This is the “best sandwich” he has had. Well filled, with a lot of sauce, but not too saucy and a sense of Christmas, without the sense of “it’s Christmas tomorrow”. The Grinch’s only feedback to the massive conglomerate, who will of course take note of this, is that it’s rather small. However, he did say it left him feeling content and he had zero regrets. I am slightly regretting giving someone else the task of this one, as pigs in blankets, stuffing with cranberry chutney, you can’t go too wrong.

On the third day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Brie and cranberry baguette

Price: £4.40

Rating: 7.5/10

This one is for the veggies or the cheese lovers. I really enjoyed this one, brie is the best cheese, (however as a cheese lover I personally think the whole block should have been in there) and with orange cranberry sauce, you can’t really go wrong with this. I also had a crunchy surprise with pistachio nuts – which really made this one a win. The baguette was delicious, and this was a lighter choice, full of Christmas joy.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Starbucks gave to me: Festive feast panini

Price: £4.25

Rating 8.2/10

This is my favourite so far and actually the cheapest too. It was turkey, smoky bacon, and stuffing. Common theme going on with all of these, but this was so good. Great amount of flavour, a lot of meat and really nice and cheesy too. I think Starbucks might be winning the Christmas battle right now.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Festive falafel and squash

Price: £4.15

Rating 8/10

This sandwich was very juicy indeed, and actually vegan which is amazing. It was absolutely packed with yummy veggies and flavour. My only advice is not to wear anything you don’t mind getting dirty, and maybe eat it outside, the looks I got in the law library as I ate this bad boy was very embarrassing indeed. The fillings went everywhere, probably hence why this is the cheapest one so far.

On the sixth day of Christmas Pret gave to me: Christmas day lunch

Price: £4.59

Rating: 8.7/10

It really is a Christmas day lunch in a sandwich. This reminds me of the day after Christmas dinner when you’re still wanting all the flavour but feeling like you should probably add some spinach for a bit of a health kick. I was pleasantly surprised to find crispy onion in with the stuffing and there was a great contrast of the sweet from the cranberry sauce and the salty stuffing and turkey. I even ate the bits that fell out…

On the seventh day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Christmas Lunch Baguette

Price: £4.50

Rating: 8.7/10

This one also had crispy onions, and I’m starting to feel like this would be actually a good idea for Christmas day, a little added something. I love a baguette as much as the next person, and this was filled to the brim of yummy stuffing and turkey. This is basically a baguette version of yesterday’s sandwich, so I suppose you just pick your preferred bread. I am loving the mayo in Pret’s Christmas menu – however my skin is not.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Hog Roast Mac and Cheese

Price: £6.45

Rating: 1/10

I was so excited about this one that I took it home for dinner to make sure I was really appreciative and relish it. Even if it was half the price, it still wouldn’t affect my rating. In my opinion, this had no flavour, had barely any cheesy sauce and was not the comfort food meal that we all know and love. I had to add salt to something that should already be naughty enough. It was a good job I had some tenderstem broccoli on the side as it was the only thing that spiced this dish up.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Beet wellington baguette

Price: £4.40

Rating: 1/10

This was soggier than the sponge we’ve been using since the start of term to wash our dishes. This was just pure beetroot, and it soaked through the baguette making it all mushy. Maybe they forgot to put the vegan mayo in mine because I couldn’t taste it at all, I see what you’re trying to do Pret, but I don’t know anyone who would actually enjoy this. This was so bad, I want to give it a zero, but thats not possible, so I give you a one.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Pret gave to me: Pigs in Blanket hot roll

Price: £4.85

Rating: 8.3/10

I just don’t think you can ever not like something when it involves pigs in blankets. A less stogy version of the Starbucks one. The chutney made this sooo nice and juicy, but as a sucker for anything with stuffing, and I’m sad that Pret haven’t taken advantage of using it in all their festive menu. However, I suppose it gives some difference, and I’m now just being picky.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Starbucks gave to me: Brie & Cran-merry Focaccia

Price: £4.89

Rating: 4.3/10

This one looked the best, which is why I saved it till last. I love focaccia, but you are definitely not going to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. The third bite is the most disappointing, when you realise it isn’t just you haven’t got to the filling yet, and when you bite in, it is just the bread, it felt to me like the brie is nowhere to be seen, let alone tasted. Someone very stingily made this sandwich, and I am quite upset about it.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Starbucks gave to me: Tis the Season Turkey Sandwich

Price: £4.19

Rating: 8.1/10

This was not a disappointment; it was absolutely stuffed of food and sauce which I was surprised about as it looked quite dry. It was juicy and salty and sweet. I think the price for Starbucks wasn’t horrendous for what you got. Although it was more of the same, the addition of bacon made this for me, adding a je ne sais quoi to an otherwise basic Christmas sandwich, (yep, after 12 days of eating Christmas food, I am calling it basic).

Although my funds are not looking great, eating some of these bad boys made it slightly more acceptable. Thinking about it, they were about half of a Venom, so if you’re going to choose to waste your student loan on one or the other, these would win any day.

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