Good Food Blog
Cold sandwichesPosted at 11:21AM, 04 February 2008 by Gregg Wallace - TV presenter, greengrocer
How do we compare food-wise with the rest of Europe? I mean, every single newspaper devotes quite a bit of time to food and restaurants. Personally, I think we have a lot more diversity than most countries apart from the United States. Never in Europe have I managed to eat good Indian, Chinese, or Turkish. We definitely do top end as well as anywhere else. I think, mid-range we do pretty well. Consider all the good quality pubs there are now in Britain.
Where we do struggle though, or appear to, unless you know better, is bottom end. Street food. When I watch the rugby in Paris, every bar seems to have crispy baguettes filled with ham, cheese, and many other goodies. When I travel through Italy, wherever I stop, I can eat well. When I first took my girlfriend, Amanda, to Italy, she was astounded by the quality of the food in the petrol stations.
Imagine that in Britain, being able, after filling your car with petrol, to get quality coffee or really good panini. You choose your filling and they have enormous industrial sandwich toasters on hand. I'm used to it now. But it is startling when you first experience it. You can even get alcohol!
What do we get over here? The biggest pile of chocolate and crisps you've ever seen, or a sandwich in a plastic container, refrigerated. Who in their right mind, wants to eat a cold sandwich? As far as I can tell, there aren't outbreaks of food poisoning occurring all over Italy or France on a week-by-week basis. I think the major difference, is the quality of the produce.
In Italy, they have exceptional bread, the salads are crisp, the meat is sliced in front of you. Over here, inside the sandwich packet, is the cheapest nastiest possible bread, and the soggiest and cheapest of fillings. The price is roughly the same. European travellers to England must be horrified.