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Now, if someone were to offer me a cheese sandwich with a layer of "carrot, rutabaga, onion, cauliflower, marrow, date and gherkin relish", I would probably decline, turning my nose up at the mere thought.
However, a cheese and Branston pickle sandwich would be accepted with great enthusiasm..........it's amazing what a change of name can do!
Yes, Branston pickle, that tasty, reliable accompaniment to cheese sandwiches, 1970s ploughman's lunches in the pub and pork pies, counts the vegetables listed above amongst its many ingredients. Deliciously sweet in flavour (from the dates) with a wonderful "tang" (from added lemon juice), Branston makes a cheese sandwich complete.
For many years, Branston came only in a jar, with good sized chunks of pickled veg - ideal if you are having it as an accompaniment on the side of your plate, but not so great if you are trying to add it to a sandwich. Original Branston Pickle doesn't spread easily, and you find that some mouthfuls of your sandwich have no pickle, some have far too much.
The good people at Branston came up with the solution - Branston Squeezy smooth pickle. Exactly the same as the "original" but blended to make a smooth, easy to spread, relish - perfect for sandwiches. Taste without the chunk. It may not look that appetising, being dark brown in colour, but hey, you can't have everything!
The container is a plastic "upside down" bottle - which stands on its cap. This means that the pickle is always at the right end of the bottle, so you don't have to fight with it to get it out of the bottle and onto your sarnie! Because the relish is thick, it doesn't leak into the cap, so we have always found that it stays clean, unlike some sauces in "upside down" bottles which can ooze into the lid, escaping as soon as you open them..... Another benefit of having a squeezy bottle is that you don't get relish all the way up the handle of your knife as you try and access the bottom half of a jar.....!
Branston in a squeezy bottle is slightly more expensive than in a jar, but I am more than happy to pay the extra few pence for less mess, and less wastage......and for the ease of having an easily spreadable relish. Quite often, these are on offer in the supermarkets as part of a multibuy - making them ideal to put in the cupboard, although once opened, they should be kept in the fridge and used within 6 weeks.
Branston Pickle is one of those things that you either love or hate, and I expect there are many people who have sailed through life without so much as ever tasting it, but if you want something to make that cheese sandwich perfect, then in my opinion you can do no better! Oh, and don't try and save any money by getting an own brand version - Branston is worth every penny!