Posted by: oysterculture | February 28, 2009

We owe the Earl of Sandwich a great deal

The Earl of Sandwhich (photo from Wiki)

The Earl of Sandwich (photo from Wiki)

If the man had not figured out a way to eat and play poker at the same time, imagine what our lunches might have been like – no PB&J, no grilled cheese, and just forget the BLT.  Although an alternative, and thoroughly less compelling theory on his invention of the sandwich, is that his commitment to duty in the Royal Navy tied him to his desk where he discovered the advantages of placing a bit of meat between two slices of bread.

If the second story is true, based on some reports, he might have served England better if he had left office to at least eat his meals at home or his club or where ever else he elected to partake.  The Earl served as First Lord of the Admiralty under Lord North’s administration from 1771 to 1783.  Despite the number of important posts, Sandwich had a record of incompetence and corruptness that inspired the suggestion that his epitaph should read: “Seldom has any man held so many offices and accomplished so little.”  Ouch! 

Further, his incompetence in the Admiralty may have undermined the British efforts in America’s War of Independence. (Thank you again, Earl of Sandwich)  Although, to be fair, some historians have suggested that the Earl may not have been as incompetent as suggested, but that previous historians emphasised sources from his political enemies.

Hawaiian Islands (photo from Wiki)

Hawaiian Islands (photo from Wiki)

Bit of trivia, Captain James Cook named the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) after him.

Cava (photo from Wiki)

Cava (photo from Wiki)

 Here’s my version of a grilled cheese, which I enjoy with a glass of cava.  =)  I’ll call it The Earl in honor of the gentleman who invented the sandwich.

The Earl

  • two slices of a sweet batard bread  (thinly sliced, and fresh – although any good bread will do)
  • triple cream cheese
  • part of a chocolate bar broken into even bits  (I prefer dark chocolate)
  • fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • clarified butter (you can use regular butter, just watch that it does not burn)

On one slice of bread add the slices of cheese, leaving a little distance to the edge of the bread, so when it melts you do not loose it.  On top of the cheese spread the basil leaves.  On top of the basil evenly distribute the broken pieces of chocolate.  Place the second slice on top.  In a frying pan on the stove, add the clarified butter, and when the pan is hot add the sandwich cooking on one side for ~ 5 minutes, until it is nice and brown, and than flipping the sandwich and cooking the other side to achieve the same color.  The cheese and chocolate should be melted.  Of course this sandwich works equally well prepared with a panini maker.

Note the times are approximate, you need to judge based on your experience of a perfect grilled cheese sandwich – which I’ve found everyone has an opinion.  I like basil, but the fun is in experimenting with different fresh herbs; thyme I’ve found to be a good choice too. 

Finally, if you do not intend to share, go find a quiet place where no one can disturb you, and enjoy this decadent bit of paradise in private.  ssshhh!



  1. I really enjoyed reading the history part! And what a neat recipe – triple creme and chocolate – now that’s a perfect grilled cheese sandwich!

  2. My, that is a decadent sandwich, worthy indeed of its noble title!

  3. We made a trip to sandwich two years ago and I must say, it was very difficult to find a decent sandwich. Ironically, we ended up having fish and chips at a local pub.

    I would further like to comment that, after our trip to Spain last year, the pairing of an (albeit decadent) grilled cheese sandwich (or anything else for that matter) with Cava gets major bonus points from me. 🙂

  4. 5 Star – I always enjoy tying what I eat to history or culture. I saw a reference about the Earl of Sandwich in passing and it got me thinking.

    Daily Spud – It is truely a decadent sandwich and if you can share, you’re a better person than me.

    bciardiello – Wow, if you think any place had a built in marketing campaign it would be Sandwich, but. But if you have to substitute nothing beats a tried but true fish and chips. I’m with you on the cava – you cannot go wrong, and it just makes everything taste better.

  5. I really love reading your posts, I learn a lot from them. I didn’t know these about sandwich. thank you for this so informative post. And this recipe is totally new to me, we generally don’t put chocolate in our sandwich. Chocolate and cheese together sound interesting, but worth a try.

  6. The sandwich is my creation – we do not usually put chocolate in our sandwiches as well, but it was one of those things I stubbled upon, and well, I do not see why we don’t do it more often. =)

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