Vegans and vegetarians have been fobbed off for years when it comes to Christmas sandwiches – falafel with cranberry sauce or a shed load of seasonal veggies and nothing else doesn’t exactly scream Yuletide.
Now, M&S has launched a ‘No Turkey Feast’, replacing traditional festive meat with seasoned roasted soya. The furkey (that’s fake turkey for you novices) has been scientifically developed to replicate the poultry in terms of taste and texture – it even has a similar smell, the supermarket says. It’s marinated with sage, garlic, salt and pepper, and steam roasted to maximise succulence and flavour.
As part of HuffPost’s annual Xmas sarnie taste test (the results of which are soon to be announced, hold tight), I had the honour of trying the sandwich out for myself.
First, an important disclaimer, I’m not vegan nor am I a particular fan of turkey – I launch an annual campaign to get my family to cook a different meat on Christmas day and I’d never buy a turkey sandwich.
That said, I preferred M&S’s furkey to turkey. The soy tasted like turkey, but the texture was better in my opinion: less stringy than turkey can be and it wasn’t at all dry (my two personal bugbears of the Christmas bird). Did it smell like the real thing? Well, I didn’t exactly sniff the sandwich, but I don’t remember any notable whiff either, which is a good thing in my book.
Where the sarnie fell short, for me, was texture. The cranberry chutney and caramelised onion and sage dressing made the sandwich too wet for my liking – but this is an opinion I hold about most Christmas sandwiches.
To me there is little worse than wet bread. Others who tried the sandwich really liked the texture, with one going out of their way to compliment the condiment to filling ratio, which, for them, kept the right amount of moistness. So it depends on how you like it, I guess.
Helen Brennan, M&S Sandwich Developer (great job title, btw) says: “This year we set ourselves the challenge of creating a meat free alternative with the same delicious flavours so veggies, vegans and those reducing their meat intake can still enjoy the festive favourite. We think it’s equally delicious and can’t wait to hear what customers think!”
The ‘No Turkey Feast’ is now available in M&S stores, £3.30.