Toasties: The humble New Zealand delicacy crafted by most Kiwis - from struggling uni students to busy mums alike. After 150,000 sammies were consumed for the 2023 edition of the Great NZ Toastie Takeover competition, the country’s greatest toasted sandwich has now been announced.
Mount Maunganui cafe Freeport with Cleaver & Co. took out the top toastie honours with their ‘Surf, Turf & Smoke, Monsieur!’ sandwich.
Senior Chef de partie Brooke Moore becomes the first female to win the competition since it began in 2019. Her winning sandwich contains housemade smoked lamb pastrami, smoked prawns, mozzarella, smoked cheddar sauce and McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles all packed within locally made BreadHead miso tahini sourdough with smoked aioli and pickle juice gel on the side. Wow.
One of the judges, Joe McClure, applauded Brooke’s creativity and the synergy of her chosen ingredients.
“The brilliance of Moore’s toastie lies in its great use of ingredients and the innovative concept of surf and turf within a region that truly exemplifies both,” he said.
“Each bite was a harmonious blend of flavours, with the succulent surf and turf elements perfectly complementing each other. It was a delightful culinary journey that showcased the creativity and skill of Chef Moore.”
Head judge Kerry Tyack said Aotearoa stepped up the toastie game this year, but there are still slight improvements to be made across the board.
“It is clear that around the motu, entrants are taking this comp very seriously and that plenty of thought has gone into the delivery of top-flight toasties,” he said. “Seasoning levels were much more consistent, the choice of cheese more considered and the importance of monitoring fat content has been noted."
“Where we feel there is still opportunity for fine-tuning is in bread type and thickness. Some toasties were too bread-heavy and so lost points.”
All kinds of eateries, from fine dining institutions to cocktail bars, made up the 185 total entrants. To view a list of finalists, visit the Toastie Takeover website.
If you’re keen to try the winning toastie (get in line) the cafe will be keeping it on their menu seven days a week until early August.