Hokitika eatery crowned Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover winner

26 August 2019
Development West Coast
The West Coast is officially home to the country’s best toastie, with the Hokitika Sandwich Company winning the inaugural Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover competition.

Created by owner Joseph Walker, the eatery’s $10 ‘Detroit’ took out top prize in the contest with its combination of corned beef, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, Harvarti and cream cheeses, red onion, and Walker’s own in-house sauce toasted on a locally sourced and baked to order loaf.

The Hokitika Sandwich Company’s entry was deemed the best from 13 stellar finalists and was praised by the judges for being simple, unpretentious, yet bold – and clearly made by someone who knows a great toastie.

Those judges included Joe McClure of McClure’s Pickles in Detroit, who travelled to New Zealand to sample the finalists’ toasties. After travelling a couple of thousand kilometres across the country to visit all 13 establishments, McClure was full of praise for the Hokitika Sandwich Company’s toastie.

“Their choice of just a few exceptional ingredients was considered and carefully prepared and layered to deliver sensational flavour and a great mouthfeel,” he said.

“With buttery, velvety toast crunching into warm, flavoursome melted cheese, rich peppery meat and a generous layer of fresh pickles to refresh the pallet, this truly is the country’s supreme cheese toastie.”

Joseph Walker has owned and operated the Hokitika Sandwich Company for almost two years. All sandwiches are served on fresh baked ciabatta bread with a minimum of eight sandwiches on the menu at any time, boasting names such as The French, The Fish, The Coaster, The New Yorker and more. All meat is free range and sourced from a local artisan butcher, their cheese is handmade by a variety of South Island cheesemakers and all condiments are made in-house daily. The eatery is open 10am – 2pm Tuesday to Saturday.

More than 50 cafes and restaurants submitted their own unique take on the quintessential toasted sandwich this year – and with more than an astonishing 10,000 toasties served up over the course of the competition, it’s clear the snack remains a classic Kiwi favourite.

The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover competition criteria required sandwiches to be toasted between two slices of bread and able to be eaten by hand. The toasties also needed to contain cheese and McClure’s Pickles, with all the other ingredients entirely up to the entrant’s imagination.

Thirteen finalists were selected from the 50 entrants and were all judged on the same set criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality.

McClure said the quality of the toasties overall was exceptional.

“The entrants all demonstrated that the love affair with the humble toasted sandwich - and great local fare - is alive and well.

“We saw sandwiches with wild duck, sautéed cauliflower, smoked kahawai, pastrami, brisket, you name it. And that’s what a toastie is about - getting what’s to hand and putting it together to create a great, simple and tasty bite.”

Head judge Kerry Tyack adds, “The success of Hokitika Sandwich Company proves that regional eateries throughout New Zealand can match the offerings of much higher profile players.

“The judging team is delighted for Joe Walker and his team and equally chuffed that a toastie expert from overseas saw in this entry the same qualities we did; the skill to take something traditional and with a dash of Kiwi ingenuity create something moreishly simple and tasty”.

The Hokitika Sandwich Company now has a bespoke Toastie Takeover trophy to proudly display, as well as a year’s worth of McClure’s Pickles. The trophy, which resembles a toasted sandwich, was designed by Rikki Berger in Christchurch and is made of Pohutukawa (the bread), Puriri (pickles) and Ash (cheese).

A full list of the 12 finalists and one winner can be found below. For more information about the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, check out www.toastietakeover.com For more about McClure’s Pickles, see mcclures.com.