The Search for New Zealand’s Top Toasted Sandwich is Back

Get the grill ready, the third annual Great NZ Toastie Takeover competition is back for 2020 with 83 establishments vying for the title of New Zealand’s top toasted sandwich in 2020, a 66 percent increase on the number of entries last year.

Cook & Nelson and McClure’s Pickles will be scouring the country for the best toasted sandwiches from the end of this month and they’re encouraging the public to do the same at the participating eateries.

Eateries include restaurants, bars, cafes, supermarket, garden and department store cafes, café-stores, breweries and even a hole in the wall servery – ensuring many toastie lovers have the chance to warm up this winter with a delicious toastie creation.

The competition is bound to be tough as the luminaries of the toastie world look to take the mantle from the Hokitika Sandwich Company, who wowed the judges in 2019 with their winning combination of corned beef, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, Havarti and cream cheeses, red onion and their own in-house sauce.

This year’s entries include The Squishy Combo - a cross between a toastie and burger from Burger Burger Newmarket, The Mount McClure’s Mauler from The General in Mt Maunganui with its 12-hour braised pulled pork and apple, chilli and mint slaw, and a new take on the famous South Island cheese roll at Christchurch’s Earl Bistro. There’s even a vegan toastie on offer at Wellington’s Mockingbird, with vegan mascarpone, Angel Food cheddar, miso butter, caramelised onion, facon and McClure’s Sweet & Spicy pickles.

Judging will take place over July with the 12 finalists (made up of two entries from each of the six competition regions) announced in August. The competition’s toast-master-royale will then visit the finalists to sample their creations and liaise with McClure’s Pickles co-founder, Joe McClure, to determine New Zealand’s best toastie of 2020.

“I’m gutted to miss my annual Kiwi road trip. I long for the beautiful sights and sounds of New Zealand, not to mention the world-class toasties,” expressed McClure who visited New Zealand from the United States to judge the competition in 2019.

“Much like everyone else, we’ve had to find a way to do things online in 2020, but I can’t wait to see what everyone has been creating and get detailed tasting feedback from my toast-master-royale.”

Head judge Kerry Tyack and his group of 20 toastie aficionados will be ensuring each entry meets the following competition guidelines:

  • Toasties must be sandwiched between two slices of bread and be able to be eaten by hand if necessary.
  • The toasties must also contain cheese, pickles from McClure’s delicious range, with all other sandwich elements left up to the participating cafes’ imagination.

Each toastie will be scored on a set criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, edibility, taste, innovation, and originality.

All finalists will receive a case of McClure’s pickles and dine-in vouchers to give away to their customers. The supreme winner will be announced in September and will walk away with a year’s worth of pickles, more dine-in vouchers, a toastie trophy – and most importantly, bragging rights to the best toasted sandwich in the country.

For more information about the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover competitions, check out

A full list of eateries, toastie descriptions and locations can be found here.

For more about McClure’s Pickles, see

When brothers Bob and Joe McClure were first given the recipe for their Grandma Lala’s legendary pickles, they decided to share her genius with the world and produced a range of small-batch pickles under the McClure name. Now, with the support of their family and friends, the Detroit-based duo hand-pick and produce more than 2 million jars of pickles every year. Known for their tangy, crunchy punch, McClure’s Pickles have a cult-like following and are now stocked in 4,000 retailers across America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Cook & Nelson are purveyors of the most exciting and exceptional fare crafted by the best artisan producers in the world. They search the globe to find individuals who share a passion for crafting extraordinary food and who innovate with exciting new processes and recipes resulting in remarkable and unexpected fare. Their product range includes Seedlip, McClures Pickles, Noble Maple Syrup, Huffman’s Sauces, Lillie’s Q sauces, 5 Olive Oil, Haku Schoyu and The Jam Stand.