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      30.09.2004 20:41
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      The BEST Sandwich shop around.

      Border Baguettes
      41 Market Square
      Duns
      Berwickshire

      Visitors to the Little Borders town of Duns should take the opportunity to visit my favourite shop there – Border Baguettes.

      Before I go any further I must make it clear that I have no interest what so ever in plugging this shop – I don’t work there and don’t know any of the staff or its owner(s?). I just visit the shop and I am blown away by the experience and felt the need to give credit where it is clearly due.

      Within the beautiful and quiet market square of Duns the small unassuming shop sits on a corner and to see it you wouldn’t think it was such a gem.

      You walk into the doorway and have to go through one of those awful blue and white striped curtains made of lots of thin plastic strips that blow in the wind, restrict your access a little, make you fear for death by a thousand cuts, strangulation or even possible decapitation but it does its job by allowing you access while keeping flies and wasps out of the shop.

      Once safely inside you are now free to look around. The shop is clean and tidy, the staff are also clean and tidy in white lab coats, white food prep hats, plastic disposable gloves, and hairnets (one of the guys there has a bushy moustache and I think this requires a hairnet too but I just want to see him wear it for a laugh rather than any fear of food contamination from his fine display of face fuzz).

      While on the whole the employees are very friendly and willing to help. That said, they can become a little impatient during busy times and it can depend on who serves you as to whether you get a good sandwich or a GREAT sandwich. By the way, the guy with the moustache is the one to catch for a really great sandwich.

      The strongest points of the shop are the amount of sandwich variations available and the quality and freshness of the foods.

      The menus are very broad indeed and I reckon there must be over one hundred cold sandwich variations available – the bottom line is that if you can see it in the shop they will put it into bread, combine it with any other items you fancy and sell it to you. I have managed to resisted the urge to make a Mars Bar and Bacon Baguette with blue cheese and Horseradish dressing but I am sure they would make it if I asked.

      Things available for you to add include (but are not restricted to) Chicken, Beef, Ham, Pork, smoked sausage, Tuna, cheeses, mayo (full fat or light), sweet corn, corned beef and tomato, crispy bacon (hot or cold), coronation chicken (mild or spicy), horseradish, a selection of salad items and the list goes on and on and on.

      At Christmas they make a wonderful special sandwich containing Turkey, cranberry and dried stuffing sprinkled over it – sounds okay but tastes divine.

      Border Baguettes offer enough choices of bread available to satisfy just about anyone so even the same filling every day could still hold your interest in various breads.

      There is a wide selection of drinks, hot fresh soups, flapjacks, crisps and various other snacks as well as a good selection of fresh fruit.

      The most important thing that makes Border Baguettes so wonderful is the quality and freshness of the produce they offer. Any sandwich shop can offer a huge menu but that does not make a good sandwich shop. Where Border Baguettes seems to have it cracked is that the menu is large enough to be exciting it is not so large that the ingredients go past their best before being sold.

      The bread is exceptionally fresh and depending on what time you enter the shop it can still be hot from the oven. The salads are crisp and fresh and I have seen ingredients being thrown away because they are in danger becoming slightly less than fresh – nice to see.

      The prices for all this quality won’t break the bank either with sandwiches with your choice of filling starting at £1 for a good sized bun (large enough for a satisfying lunch) and only slightly more for a large baguette and the filling you request.

      Once you have bought your sandwich it is prepared quickly to order and rarely fails to match your requirements. It is then wrapped in a quality bag which keeps it fresh for ages and never goes soggy and drops to bits (important for school kids who keep it in their bag for lunch time or office and shop workers who store them until lunch time).

      You pay your money to the friendly person who just made your sandwich and the only thing left to do is get through that darn plastic curtain to get out.

      One down side of Border Baguettes is down to its success, it can be quite busy at times and as I mentioned the staff tend to lose their smile and get their heads down and work hard at these times. The queues can be long (sometimes out of the door) but the anticipation of your sandwich can make the experience of tasting it so much better. Even at busy times the staff don’t make you feel uncomfortable if you can’t decide right away which sandwich you want or even if you change your mind while they are in the process of making them – great customer service in my opinion.

      The shop makes it clear the options on the menus which are healthy options and they are quite happy to discuss any of the fillings you see but aren’t quite sure what they are.

      As I write this opinion the shop is running a competition for school kids to enter where they devise their own healthy sandwich and the winner will see their creation added to the menu as well as a prize. This is a clear attempt to encourage kids to eat healthily and that can only be a good thing.

      The shop owners are keen to offer the best service and even offer an open suggestion book for comments, complaints and suggestions. Needless to say the book is very low on complaints but high on satisfied customers.

      In June 2004 Border Baguettes became one of the first Berwickshire caterers to gain the Scottish Healthy Choices Award. This award is not just handed out to anyone and winners need to show a committed approach to offering healthy food to their customers. This commitment alone proves that Border Baguettes is aiming high and trying to provide the best service possible - I think they are succeeding.

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