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Whilst I wouldn't quite say "It's a knockout!", removable plates make the George Foreman 14685 a practical and excellent all-round grill.
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The George Foreman 14685 sandwich toaster is a smooth, silky black, all gentle curves and ergonomic design. For all of its visual charms, it's also built robustly and has the feel of a well-made bit of kit. Big George should be proud of the appliance that bears his name! It's certainly given me many happy snacks.
A couple of notes on its physical architecture before proceeding: firstly, don't expect it to cook four portions of anything unless they're microscopic. It may be touted as a family-sized device, but you'd be lucky to get three portions in, and I typically use just two. Despite that, it's actually got quite a footprint, muscling in on the kitchen worktop and daring kettles or other devices to get out of the way. Combine that with a short cable (just over two feet) and the 14685 can be a little awkward to set up in your kitchen. Fortunately it folds up well and can be stored relatively easily.
Anyway. On to the meat of this review: how it actually toasts a sandwich.
The answer is pretty damn well. The Foreman 14685 takes 2-3 minutes to get up to temperature and toasts evenly. It doesn't have a timer or temperature controls, though, so you need to keep your eye on it. Perhaps my repeated successes are because I'm a garlic-scented god of the kitchen... or because it's not that big a chore to judge.
It's in the later rounds, so to speak, that the Foreman really proves its worth, which is ironic given that George was at his best in the early moments of a fight. The 14685 is exceptionally easy to clean, because it features removable grill plates that are easily taken out and put back in. As a consequence it's possible to deal with any grime by throwing them in the dishwasher and forgetting about it. Most of the time I've found that they don't tend to get very grubby because of the company's tilted design encourages a lot of the fat and mess to drain into the drip tray, and the non-stick coating means that most other dirt can be wiped away. Sandwiches also slide out easily!
Sometimes the fat has a habit of missing the drip tray and landing on the worktop, which annoyed me when I first used it. Later I realised that all I needed to do was put a bit of kitchen towel underneath or create a funnel using tin foil and hey presto, problem solved. Still. It's a bit sloppy of them, though.
I tend to use my 14685 exclusively as a sandwich toaster, but it can of course be used to grill steak, chicken and no doubt all manner of other things. It's a versatile bit of kit and has made my life easier and tastier than it otherwise would have been.
To read more on this model, check out the George Foreman 14685 homepage here (opens new window).
If you want a sandwich toaster that'll go the distance and then some, I'd highly recommend the George Foreman 14525 Family Grill. It packs a real punch (excuse the pun).
You'd expect the company that invented the sandwich toaster to produce a high quality product, and so it proves with the VST026. Thank you Breville for solving my sandwich-toasting needs!
The Breville VST025 sandwich press is a tough, heavy-duty beast whose mission is to provide great toasties with minimum fuss and mess. Target terminated.