Ah… the humble British sarnie. The very fact that we all casually call it a ‘sarnie’ – or ‘buttie’, ‘barm’, ‘bap’ or all manner of other names – goes to show how much this distinctly European culinary invention has entrenched itself into everyday British culture.
There are also a lot of fascinating things that you might not know about sandwiches. You might not have been aware, for example, that about 57% of all commercially bought sandwiches are made with traditional square sandwich bread, or that more than 3,500,000,000 sandwiches are bought from UK retail or catering outlets every year.
Over 300,000 people are also employed in the UK sandwich industry, which gets at the nub of what this article is really about – British Sandwich Week. Yes, there is such a thing, and it takes place this year from Sunday 20th to Saturday 26th May 2018.
So, what’s British Sandwich Week about?
It’s exactly what it sounds like – a week-long celebration of surely the greatest ‘food to go’ ever invented, organised by The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association.
At a time when consumers have so much choice and might well be tempted to purchase something other than a sandwich for their lunch, it’s nice to know there’s a week dedicated to this simple and traditional pleasure (including for many of us here at IN&AROUND).
What that means for you, the consumer, is that you can expect many sandwich retailers near you to offer special promotions and ranges during the week. Several will also be drumming up their association with charity, such as by donating some of their proceeds or even advertising ‘buy one, donate one’ initiatives to get customers involved.
All of the events you’d expect from a very special week
As you might imagine, various events are customarily held to mark what is a key week in the British culinary calendar. These include what are known rather wittily as ‘The Sammies’ – The British Sandwich Industry Awards – which are open to everyone involved in the sandwich industry.
With the range of gongs to be handed out including the likes of The Sandwich Industry Award, The Independent Sandwich Retailer Award, The En-Route Sandwich Retailer Award and The Sandwich Convenience Retailer Award, it’s fair to say that this year’s black-tie event at the Lancaster London Hotel in Hyde Park will be eagerly anticipated and well-attended.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, British Sandwich Week also sees the grand final of what is surely one of the most important competitions in the world if you’re a sandwich enthusiast: the British Sandwich Designer of the Year Award.
This is a competition open to sandwich designers from across the UK, with those working in a sandwich bar, catering or manufacturing environments alike duking it out for the honour of being declared the Overall Sandwich Designer of the Year. Oh, and the winner also gets a cheque for £5,000.
Phew, we bet you never realised sandwiches could be so exciting! Make sure you don’t miss out on the festivities of this very special week, or if you can’t do that, at least take the time to eat a sandwich or two this month to celebrate this evergreen British food classic.