I and the Ploughman’s sandwich go way back, summer of 1993 to be exact which makes our friendship 23 years old come summer! I did already tell you about it in my trip to Richmond upon Thames post when I talked about the first ever packed lunch I picked up on my own and headed to a bench on the park to eat it and enjoy my own company and thoughts. I was 13, I never had a packed lunch, or sat in a park alone, or tried the cheddar ploughman’s before and it was from M&S, and I can still remember the softness of the bread as I bit into it, the sharpness of the cheddar, the crunch of the tomato and the tangy sweetness of the “spread” that, mixed with a hint of creamy mayo, really made all the difference back then, implanting the memory of having that sandwich deep in my memory and opening a doorway to a special place in my heart for the sandwich to forever reside.
Cheddar Ploughman’s sandwich comes from Ploughman’s lunch, a lunch of bread, cheese, and onions that comes with a history that you can read more about in Wikipedia. For the sandwich, there are several different places and/or cafes that sell it in the UK and it usually comes as a sandwich of two good quality brown bread with greens, tomatoes, sharp no-nonsense cheddar slice, mayo, and the brown sauce that is both sweet and tangy and had I known before I’ve tried it that its onion based I might very well never did try it but if you do, you wouldn’t associate it with onions at all, its more like sweetish chutney and without it, the sandwich is nothing but another cheddar sandwich. One day, in Kuwait, shopping in M&S -and this is not an ad in any way if you are wondering-, I came across a jar of “pickled onion sandwich pickle”! I hesitated for a moment, and then I realised that this is the spread, the one that makes the Ploughman’s sandwich and that I had to bring it back home with me right away!
After I got the jar of Pickled onion sandwich spread, the next stop on my sandwich shopping list is the bread, no decent sandwich is made with mediocre bread so I had to get me a really excellent loaf of brown bread and get the bakery to slice it for me.
Then of course I had to get the good cheddar, the sharper the better, and crunchy vibrant greens and tomatoes that would go cruuuuunnnnchhhh as you bite into them! In case you are wondering, cheddar cheese and salad sandwiches are in my list of top ten favourite foods.
A slice of bread, slightly toasted, a thin layer of butter, a layer of lettuce leaves, a slice of cheese, plenty of pickled onion spread, a thick slice of tomato drowning in the pickle spread…
Another slice of cheese perhaps, if you can afford the calories a thin layer of mayonnaise or perhaps not, another slice of bread et voila!
Cut in half, stack up, server with a side of crinkly sea salt chips or a green salad, and lunch is served!
The jar is enough to make you 6 months worth of ploughman’s sanwdiches, and its almost like the real thing. Somehow it tastes better when taken off a lunch fridge during lunch hour and devouring it while sitting on a park bench in the UK.
Is it hard to make? No. Is it an acquired taste? not really, its quite delicious. Why is it almost impossible to find a decent cheddar cheese and salad sandwich with whatever available spread in local cafes of Kuwait? I’m not sure, but I for one would love it if I can have more than one boring halloumi cheese sandwich on my lunch time in a cafe, stuffed with bitter rocket leaves because it was the it green some sixteen years ago!
Here is my sandwich mis-behaving and not willing to cooperate with the photo shoot :p
Are you a fan of the Cheddar Ploughman’s? How do you like your cheddar -or cheese- sandwich?