The 13 finalists for New Zealand’s Great Toastie Takeover have been announced. The competition for the final spots was fierce, with around 10,000 toasted sandwiches getting served up over July. Two finalists were chosen from each region, apart from Auckland, where a tie in points allowed for an extra finalist. As the head judge of the competition, Kerry Tyack said, “The Kiwi toastie is no longer simply comfort food—it’s become a thing of culinary art.”

Auckland’s finalists are Luncheonette by Culprit, with their Macaroni and Brisket Burnt End with McClure’s Pickle Toastie, Fed Deli with their Pastrami ‘n’ Swiss Melt, and The Apothecary and their “Dagwood” Reuben sandwich.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s finalists are The General’s toastie, which was comprised of Golden Harvest Organic Sourdough, 12-hour braised beef brisket and McClure’s Sweet and Spicy Pickles; and Hayes Common’s Ol’ Smoky.

Central North Island’s finalists are The Federal Store Café & Deli, with their 12-hour slow-cooked corned beef with sauerkraut, and Replete Café’s Kiwi Cuban.

Wellington’s finalists are Goods Manufactory and Café, and Park Kitchen, with a Roasted cauliflower, garlic kale, Taleggio and McClure’s Spicy Pickles, and PK’s Tuna Melt respectively.

Christchurch’s finalists are Joe’s Garage Riccarton, with their pulled lamb shoulder and Havarti cheese toastie, and Otto Delicatessan, with their “French Dip”.

Finally, the finalists from the South Island, excluding Christchurch, are The Hokitika Sandwich Company, with “The Detroit”, and Vines Village Café, with their Little River Duck Toastie.

Tyack said, “Cooks have become more adventurous. No longer is it sufficient to slap slabs of cheddar and ham between slices of white bread. Artisan breads, piquant pickles and richly braised meats are all being carefully compiled to create exotic treasure troves of taste.”

“All 13 finalists’ toasties look incredible,” said Joe McClure of McClure’s Pickles. “It’s great to see how our pickles have been used in each sandwich and have been combined with such amazing flavours. I can’t wait to come over and try them all and also to see some of New Zealand’s spectacular scenery while I’m on the road.”

The final judging will critique the sandwiches presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality, with the nation’s best toastie being revealed August 26th.

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