When it comes to the festive season, if there's one thing better than nice, warm pubs and Christmas completes, it's all the different Christmas-dinner-based goodies that proliferate in the weeks leading up to the Big Day.
From Greggs' festive bakes to Currywurst and Yorkshire pudding wraps, we've been working hard, extensively researching the best food offerings of the festive period to try to separate the naughty from the nice.
The Sage Deli - Turkey, Stuffing, and Cranberry Sauce Roll with Pigs in Blankets and Gravy - £6
Sage Deli is a firm favourite in the CSC/Maximum Respect office with their bangin' choice of sandwiches, wraps, and salads, and their Christmas roll is something we look forward to all year. Although it's probably one of the simplest options from this list, you can't really beat the combo of turkey, stuffing, cranberry, and gravy. While it's not got the biggest variety of fillings, the sandwich itself is an absolute monster that requires some serious jaw-power to get through and will definitely leave you a quivering, gravy-covered mess (in a good way). Only complaint is that it would be nice if the pigs in blankets played a more significant role within the sandwich rather than just being a garnish that you kind of have to eat separately.
Fresh The Baguette Bar - Roast Turkey and Pork Stuffing Baguette with Chipolata Sausage, Butter, Cranberry and Gravy Dip - £6.50
As expected of the undisputed GOATs of the Cardiff lunchtime scene, Fresh have come through with a Christmas 'Frunch special' that stands strong among their other signature baguettes, even if it does look like a bit of a beige banquet in the photo. For those unfamiliar with Fresh, you may be wondering "how good can a baguette be?", something I wondered myself before I was enlightened by the legendary team at Fresh, and the answer is: "You can't even begin to imagine". The turkey is delightfully tender and is complimented perfectly by the porky stuffing and generous serving of chipolatas, the butter is a lovely addition that makes a surprising difference in the overall enjoyment of the sandwich, but the gravy is something else altogether. A shimmering pot of rich, glossy, meaty goodness that perfectly coats the crisp baguette for a flawless mouthful with each bite. Not gonna lie, I downed the leftover gravy at the end, and I felt absolutely no remorse. If I had to make one suggestion, it'd be nice to see the sausages wrapped in bacon, or at least some bacon in the baguette, because we all know pigs in blankets are the best thing about Christmas.
Ffwrnes - Tomato Base Pizza with Mozzarella, Blue Cheese, Sprouts, Pancetta, Cranberry Sauce, and Pecorino - £8.50
Probably one of the most unique offerings from this selection, Cardiff Market's legendary pizza purveyors, Ffwrnes, have come through with a bangin' Christmas-themed pizza that doesn't have turkey or stuffing on it. Pretty bold, I know. Despite the lack of turkey [insert Peep Show joke], the addition of sprouts brings some serious Christmas flavour which goes hand in hand with the pancetta, even if the idea of sprouts on a pizza will raise a few eyebrows. I don't think anything says Christmas quite like sprout-y burps, and the decadence of eating a whole pizza for lunch is definitely in the Christmas spirit. Go on, treat yaself.
Bomber's Sandwich House - Hoagie Style Christmas Special with Turkey, Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli, Pigs in Blankets, Cranberry Sauce, and Gravy - £5.50
The cheapest offering from this line-up, Bomber's Christmas hoagie (also available as a hollowed-out bread bowl for an extra quid) definitely delivers the most bang for your buck. This wonderful monstrosity is basically an entire Christmas dinner stuffed into a hoagie, complete with roast potatoes and broccoli. The stuffing was some of the best we've had, and The Gaffa reckons it was his favourite turkey too (I preferred Fresh), but for me the roast potatoes take the cake, providing some lovely textures with their crispy outside and soft, fluffy interior. Apparently the broccoli was a little bit hard - I opted out of having anything remotely healthy in mine - although this could probably be attributed to the Wales Online article which said the broccoli was too soft, so I guess you can chalk it up to personal preference. For me, this could only be improved with a splash more gravy, although this would likely compromise the structural integrity of the hoagie, so I'll let it slide. Safe to say, for £5.50 this is by far the best value out of the lot and it's definitely up there with the tastiest.
Franks - Bacon-wrapped Hotdog with Grilled Sauerkraut with Sage and Onions, Mustard, and Gravy Dip - £7.50
Ignore the ratty dog's dicks they call hotdogs in the Christmas market, get yourself down to Franks in Cardiff Market for some proper wiener. Franks serve hotdogs with serious girth and a delightfully snappy skin for a sausage-munching experience like no other. Did we say it's wrapped in bacon too? The sage/sauerkraut/onion combo brings some seriously Christmassy flavours, while still maintaining the look and feel of a traditional 'dog, and the addition of a gravy dunker is joyfully hedonistic. Just make sure you wear a bib. The only thing that could improve this would be a bit of sweetness to contrast with the strong savoury flavours, but that's just being fussy.
That's enough chit-chat though. Head to the shop now to check out the latest products available at Cardiff Skateboard Club, and check out more of our Top 5s on the blog. Safe.