Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crocodille Turkey Club Sandwich

"The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake... but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. It is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules."

- Joan Didion, "Slouching Toward Bethlehem" (1968)

Who knew the midnight hunger for a sandwich could mean so much? After I read this, the world finally made sense.

Turkey clubs conquer continents. Munchies meet Manifest Destiny.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of sandwiches in Prague I'd cross the street for, much less a continent.

There is one company that makes sandwiches that are available on almost every corner, in almost every supermarket, and in almost every gas station. I've even seen them sold in bars.

We don't love them. We just can't get away from them. Yes, I'm talking about Crocodille sandwiches.

It has been well over a year since I'd had my last Crocodille. Then, hunger struck. Options were few. Time was short. I decided to bite the bullet and buy the sandwich.

I've tried a number of varieties, but the only one that has the slightest appeal is, of course, the Turkey Club. I picked one up for 38.50 CZK.

It wasn't all bad. There were some nice touches. They used cherry tomatoes that actually did have some flavor, instead of big, watery unripe slices. Also, there was whole grain mustard in there.

The inner workings, shown in the interests of food science

But there are lots of problems. It comes on a very dense nut and poppy seed bread that is quite hard when cold. The turkey is flavorless. There are a few wilted leaves of lettuce. The bacon is often difficult to chew.

Above all, the Turkey Club, like so many Crocodille sandwiches, is a mayonnaise bomb. They call it a "mustard dressing," but it really is mustard mixed with mayo. I love mayo, but it is too much for me.

All that mayo also leads me to look very carefully at the package whenever I buy one. At the bottom of the label, there is an expiration date. I will never buy one unless the expiration is at least two days away. There's nothing scientific about this, but let's just say I've felt unwell on several occasions after eating Crocodille sandwiches.

The company lists a number of their sandwiches on their website.

Crocodille also makes a Mexican chicken sandwich. I haven't had one in years, mainly because it has a large amount of a butter-like substance on it. They call it a "light cream" spread.

The tuna and egg sandwich does not appeal to me at all. I'm not a big tuna guy. They used to make a bacon and sliced egg sandwich that I liked, but it was discontinued for some reason.

There is also a baked tomato, cheese and cranberry sauce sandwich that I have not tried. The combination doesn't grab me.

They also make a number of baguette sandwiches, which I've never tried, so I won't go into.

Most of these sandwiches come from what the company calls a "state-of-the-art" food-processing plant in Žiželice nad Cidlinou. They say they are distributed to more than 2500 customers daily, and the EU certifies them for export.

Having just recently sampled gas station sandwiches across Europe, I'd say the Crocodille people still have some improvements to make before they can seriously think about conquering the continent.


Anonymous said...

Try the newish roast beef and turkey wrap when in dire need. It's only drawback is the inappropriate blue cheese like substance in the middle which strikes just the wrong note. As Crocodille output goes, that's getting off relatively light.

Brewsta said...

That's the thing -- really don't like blue cheese

Nomes said...

That's sad Brewsta, cos the sundried tomato and niva sandwich (on the same bread as the turkey club) is lovely.

However, dude, don't diss the turkey club! I love the chewy bacon. I REALLY love the 'mustard dressing'. And as far as I can tell, they can hold the lettuce. I also love the chewy denseness of the bread - I wish I could find in loaf form (any ideas).

I know we all have our own opinions as foodies...but this is the ONLY sandwich I'll bother with.

Ditto on the mexican chicken butter bomb. Why isn't it at least 'spread' on the bread?

Brewsta said...

I will give the tomato sandwich a try. Curiousity is getting the better of me.

I do like the whole grains of mustard on the club, but the sandwich just doesn't float my boat. I have to admit, the bread is my least favorite part -- but I'm not a big fan of grainy breads in general.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the packaging they use for their baguette-style offerings as it seems to be a combination of paper and plastic. So it seems like it cannot be recycled. Convenience foods like this are bad enough as it is in regards to packaging waste, especially when you consider that most people "on the run" don't throw the wrapper into recycling bins.

Anonymous said...

Their business distribution practices must be good. This is why they have such good in store placement and point of sale locations. The sandwiches are hardly the case. They appear to be fresh but don't taste that way and have a lack of flavor. I'd take a normal American Sub or Hoagie any day of the week over one of these. The missile base might not be a good idea but an American sandwich is. Croc's is another example of poor consumer goods available in the Czech Republic. When did Chicken Nuggets on a roll with a mayo and ketchup mix become in demand anyway?

This town lacks good "food on the run" or cafe's to get a quick fresh affordable meal where you don't have to to sit down and eat and deal with the depressing plain face wait staff. What are the late night options anyway MacDonald's and Colonel Sanders and his KFC empire? Catch up Czech business owners and fill the gap in the market!

Praguetwin said...

You ought to try the BBQ chicken on the baguette. The only drawback is the over-abundance of onions (like on the cheese baguette) but they can be removed. Also, that chewy bacon, which I don't mind at all.

The wrap is my favorite though, and they seemed to have toned down the blue cheese since the initial launch.