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At lunchtime I'm often stuck with the pleasant dilemma of what to buy for my lunch. I try to prevent the problem by making my own lunch but when I'm out of sliced bread or when I'm feeling lazy I take a quick walk out the office to one of the local stores.
Today I found myself scanning the sandwich fridge of Tesco's Express in Stourport on Severn. They had a huge range of what I would class as 'reasonably appealing' looking sandwiches, more so than those I've seen elsewhere. I debated with myself over health and taste and was eventually won over by my rumbling tum; I had chosen taste and was shortly heading back to the office with a 'Tesco Handmade Smoked Ham & Mustard' pre-packaged sandwich.
I'd chosen the Smoked Ham and Mustard sandwich because I could see thick swirls of lean looking ham through the packet window and fresh looking white bread. The pack cost me a reasonable £1.30 (which I will discuss my final view on shortly) and came in what I can describe as a 'rustic looking cardboard packet'. The fact that it wasn't the usual plastic packet, apart from the small window at the front, had already made me feel that the sandwich was going to be slightly above average in quality.
I opened the sandwich and was greeted by the smell, the first smell that I was aware of was the slightly overpowering smell of mustard, however I'm not complaining, I did just purchase a ham and mustard sandwich. Next came a void in my expectations. There was no smell to the bread. I would shortly taste the sandwich and this would reveal that the smell-less bread was also tasteless!
I took a took a rather large, tummy satisfying bite out of one of the two slices, aiming my bite at the middle of the half so I'd get a good overall mix of flavours. I chewed.
My initial thought was that the ham was rather bland and that the bread was perhaps even more tasteless than it was smell-less. The main flavour was the mustard, however is was creamier than expected and after reading the ingredients I found that it was in fact not mustard nut a creamy mixture containing mayonnaise Dijon & English mustard; a pleasant tasting, creamy but rich sauce.
There bread was consistent in texture with my expectations for a satisfying sandwich by had very little taste; so little in fact that again I became suspicious and turned to the ingredients. The ham was 'reformed' and contained a profit pleasing 37% added water as well as Sodium Triphosphate, Sodium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrate, and Sodium Ascorbate. Although this chemical recipe may be off putting for some, I have a reasonable knowledge of additives and was not detered myself.
My overall experience can be summarised as follows
Taste: Somewhat bland, it was difficult to taste anything more than the mustard flavoured mayonnaise.
Smell: Pleasant, a nice aroma of mustard, what you would expect from a ham and mustard sandwich, however no smell to the bread at all.
Packaging: Appealing, apart from the chemical recipe printed on the rear.
Value for money: To compare it to a similar product from a similar retailer I would say it was very reasonably priced, to consider it's true value against it's sale price in general I would say it wasn't very good value for money. I don't think I can be more fairer than that.
Overall View: slightly less than expected with regard to quality, cheaply produced ingredients but reasonably priced in comparison to other retailers. Although perhaps still slightly over priced considering what you're really getting.
Conclusion: Next time I'll make my own! Thumbs up to mayonnaise with dijon and english mustards that's a lovely flavour, but a ham and mustard sandwich should definately taste like actually has ham in it. To put a figure on it I'd say 4 out of 10.