It's one of the most deliciously cheesy (and pickly) times of the year.
The hot competition where chefs up and down the country cook their tastiest take on the classic toastie, The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, has just kicked off for 2023. And while participant numbers for 2022 were impressive, this year they're off the charts with a staggering 185 eateries up and down the country from Kororāreka to Invercargill putting their hands up to be judged. Auckland entries include KOL, Cazador, The Grounds, Duo Eatery, Pilkingtons, Crave, Kind, Cheese on Toast, Bread and Butter, Good Day, Lord of the Fries, Burgernaut and Brothers Brewery. Ooft.
For those needing a refresher, the competition rules are simple. Each toastie must be sandwiched between two slices of bread and able to be eaten by hand. The toasted sandwich must also contain cheese (or an acceptable vegan substitute) and pickles from McClure’s Pickles range. Everything else is up to the toastie maker’s imagination.
This year's cuisines are diverse, from Korean to Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Cuban, Jamaican and American—and of course Māori and Kiwiana-style entries. Expect hero ingredients including smoked eel, gabagool, crayfish, wagyu steak tartare, pork belly, lamb pastrami, smoked prawns, wild deer, beef short rib, braised ham hock, smoked brisket, apple cider pulled pork, and sustainable line caught fish. Hot damn.
With participating eateries vying for a spot in the competition’s final round, it’s now up to the team of 30 judges to eat their way around all 185 venues, in order to decide which sandwiches make it to the final 12. Finalists will be revealed late May, and after a second round of judging—and more opportunity to smash the judges’ top picks—the supreme winner will be announced on June 2o.
Keen to get your own taste test going? Find the competition toasties near you right here and may the best toastie win!
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