Let us pause to consider the sandwich, that magnificent unit of consumption, a construction so minimal that its form may be expressed as: Bread. Not-bread. Bread again. The existence of the sandwich can be seen as a marker of civilization—this is why ham-on-rye is not on the Paleo diet. There can be no sandwich without mono-crop agriculture, mechanisms to grind flour, fuel for ovens, and tools to slice the bread. The rise of the sandwich is inseparable from its convenience, from its ability to be consumed quickly and neatly while doing something else.
Because a sandwich is a blank slate, it can be perfectly evocative of its time and place—the tiny truffled sandwiches eaten at a marble table on an elegant shopping street in Florence after your first visit to the Uffizi; a chip butty in Brighton; or a post-Phillies roast-pork sandwich at Tony Luke’s, with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe cooked down almost into jam. In the dance-off between sandwiches and lived experience, it is often the sandwich we remember best.
Check out the slideshow above to find out where to go for some of the world's best sandwiches.