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Finalists Found In Hunt For New Zealand's Top Toasted Sandwich

Finalists Found In Hunt For New Zealand's Top Toasted Sandwich

New Zealand is a step closer to discovering the best toasted sandwich in the land with the finalists in the 2023 Great NZ Toastie Takeover revealed. With a whopping 120,000 toasties served up since mid April and the battle for bragging rights heating up, the competition’s 185 entries have now been whittled down to 14 finalists from around the country. Hailing from Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton, Tauranga, Havelock North, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson, Ashburton and Lumsden, this year’s finalists encompass beloved neighbourhood eateries and cafes, a coffee roaster, a diner, a burger bar, several breweries, a tavern and a beer garden. Last year’s Supreme Winner, chef Rich Johns from Rotorua’s Okere Falls Store is once again in the running for the top title with his tantalising toastie, The Pickle Back, but with fierce competition and another round of judging to go, it’s still anyone’s game, say competition organisers. Competition criteria requires participating eateries to create sandwiches that are toasted between two slices of bread and – like all self-respecting toasties – able to be eaten by hand. All toasties also need to contain cheese (or a vegan substitute) and McClure’s Pickles, with all the other ingredients entirely up to the entrants’ imaginations. And what imaginations they have. Proteins on show amongst this year’s finalists include whiskey BBQ glazed smoked brisket, smoked eel, aged beef, ham hock, house-smoked lamb shoulder, lamb pastrami and gabagool (an Italian cured meat), slow roasted beef and Southland lamb. A number have also made inventive use of the McClure’s Pickles range, with a pickle brine sourdough on offer, alongside a pickle brine shot, pickle brine cure, pickle jelly, pickle juice gel and pickle caviar. Delicious cheese blends feature, while some finalists have chosen to extend the toastie experience with Japanese togarishi spiced spud skins and twice cooked chips seasoned with rosemary and garlic sea salt, and tempting dippers like French onion dipping sauce and housemade pickle hot sauce. Head judge Kerry Tyack says this year’s entries have been top notch, presenting his team of 40-plus judges around the country with an extremely tough task. “The team assessed many, many standouts in this year’s entries, and right around the country they’ve been wowed by the innovation on show, the new and unexpected ingredients and flavour combinations, and the effort being put into producing exciting, mouth-watering toasties. “In all regions, scores were close, with many contenders up for the finalist spots. Those who are on the list, which has increased to 14 for the first time, represent the best of the best. “We’ve seen great results from experienced old hands, matched by equally successful offerings from new entrants, with upscale restaurants competing alongside sandwich specialists, breweries, diners, food caravans, cocktail bars, you name it. “Every year the standard improves, both in terms of creativity and eatability. But while creativity sets an entry apart, at the end of the day it has to be technically strong. “Overwhelmingly, venues delivered sandwiches that were well toasted, easy to eat - even on the run and not too fatty, with carefully chosen ingredients to keep customers coming back time and again. And damn, they tasted good.” If you’re a toastie fan, you can sample these innovative toastie creations for a few more weeks, so be sure to head to your nearest finalist/s to see what all the fuss is about. You’ve got until Tuesday 20 June, when the nation’s supreme toasted sandwich will be revealed. Without further ado, the finalists are: NORTHLAND / AUCKLAND Cazador (Mt Eden): The Badabing: Housemade gabagool, green chilli rajas, mozzarella, McClure’s Spicy Pickles and chilli salt.  Good Day (Orakei): Croc MonShaw: Thick cut free range smoked ham (from local butcher the legend Mr Chris Knight), lashings of cheesy, mustardy bēchamel sauce, crunchy McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles and more cheese for the ultimate melt, on local baker the Dusty Apron’s grilled sourdough. Lord Kitchener (Sandringham): The Lord Truffle Pig: Glazed ham, truffled welsh rarebit, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, Tewkesbury mustard, parmesan crisp, on toasted sourdough with fries. WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY Okere Falls Store and Craft Beer Garden (Rotorua) (2022 Supreme Winner): The Pickle Back: Whiskey BBQ glazed smoked brisket, Swiss, cheddar and mozzarella, leftover pickle chilli wholegrain mustard, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, on Pantry D’or pickle brine sourdough brushed with whiskey compound butter and dusted with dill pickle salt. Served with a pickle brine shot.  Hayes Common (Hamilton): Grilled Pickle Kim-Cheese (vegetarian): Hayes Kimchi, sesame mayo, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, cheddar, crispy shallots and spring onion greens on toasted Volare Pain au Levin. Served with kumara crisps. Freeport Cleaver & Co (Tauranga): Surf, Turf & Smoke, Monsieur!: Housemade smoked lamb pastrami, smoked prawns, mozzarella, smoked cheddar sauce and McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles between BreadHead sourdough. Served with smoked aioli and pickle juice gel. CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND Best Burgers (Havelock North): The Joey: Slow cooked beef in a rich Sloppy Joe sauce, American cheese & McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles in sourdough bread. Shining Peak Brewing (New Plymouth): The Joestie: An in-depth delve between land and sea. Smoked eel, kawakawa aioli, smoked cheddar, McClure’s Pickles, puha, topped with McClure’s pickle caviar.  WELLINGTON REGION Café Polo (Wellington): Come Out With Your Hams Up!: Ham hock and three cheese béchamel croque monsieur with McClure’s Garlic & Dill Pickles and watercress pesto.  Huxleys (Wellington): Le Grand Dipper: Aged beef, Swiss cheese, provolone cheese, garlic butter and McClure’s Bread & Butter Pickles, on Shelley Bay Sourdough, with a French onion dipping sauce. UPPER SOUTH ISLAND BEERS Craft Brewery (Christchurch): The Meaty’Oaker: Lamb pastrami, McClure’s pickle brine cure, McClure’s sauerkraut, McClure’s pickles, cheese, Beers by Bacon Bros Wookiee Sauce, on rye bread, topped with a mint glazed lamb cutlet. Sprig & Fern Tavern (Nelson): Baabaa Ganoush: House smoked lamb shoulder, baba ghanoush hummus, peppery rocket, Thor’s Hammer Manchego style cheese, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, fresh hop aioli, on Don Rodrigo’s quinoa sour dough bread. Served with house cut twice cooked chips seasoned with rosemary and garlic Marlborough sea salt flake. LOWER SOUTH ISLAND The Fine Lion (Ashburton): Baa Baa Baa, Baa Baa BaLamb: Lumina lamb katsu, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles, daikon, sour plum, pecorino, sheep camembert and smoked kawakawa kewpie mayo on Harvey’s bakery special bread. Served with togarashi spiced spud skins and McClure’s Pickle hot sauce. Roasted and Toasted (Lumsden): Sheep Thrills: Slow roasted Southland lamb, Old Yella mustard, creamy mayo, McClure’s Bread & Butter Pickles, three cheese blend and Kel’s homemade McClure’s pickle jelly.  Due to such high scores this year, competition organisers Cook & Nelson would also like to acknowledge other venues and toasties deserving of a special mention: Auckland / Northland - Beaufort & Co (Albany), Bramble (Matakana), Bread & Butter Bakery (Grey Lynn), Cafe Aroha (Manurewa), Cheese on Toast (Mt Eden, Birkenhead), Crave (Morningside), Duo Eatery (Birkenhead), KOL (Ponsonby), Smokin Cole BBQ (Grey Lynn), Superfly (Mt Eden), Swings (CBD), The Grounds (Henderson)  Waikato / Bay of Plenty - Last Place (Hamilton), The Orchard House (Katikati), The Packhouse (Te Puke), The Public Office (Ngatea), Weave (Hamilton), The General (Mt Maunganui)  Central North Island - Replete (Taupõ), The Figgery (Hasings), Toasted Chef (Food Truck)  Wellington Region - Korky’s Catering Food Truck (Wairarapa), The Crafted & Co (Palmerston North), The Land Girl (Pirinoa), Honey Badger Saloon (Wellington)  Upper South Island - Austin Club (Christchurch), Bacon Bros Farmers Market Stall (Riccarton), South Town Club (Christchurch), The Quarters at Riccarton House (Riccarton)  Lower South Island - Johnny Crema (Queenstown), Little River Cafe (Little River), Waipiata Country Hotel (Waipiata)   With the competition’s toastmaster royale Joe McClure arriving in New Zealand this week, the final round of judging begins today, with McClure hitting the road to taste the finalists’ creations over the coming fortnight, alongside head judge Kerry Tyack and Nick Brown from organisers Cook & Nelson. In New Zealand for the first time since 2019 due to travel restrictions, the McClure’s Pickles founder says he can’t wait to get stuck in and sample the final toasties. “From what I’ve seen and heard so far from photos and judges’ comments, they all look and sound incredible. It really is something to see such innovative ingredients and flavour combinations being used and our pickles being incorporated in such clever ways. Kiwis really do know how to make a good toastie.” Each toastie will again be judged on presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality, with the nation’s top toasted sandwich set to be revealed on Tuesday 20 June. The supreme winner will walk away with a year’s worth of McClure’s Pickles, a bespoke Rikki Berger trophy and the well-deserved reputation for the best toasted sandwich in the country. A firm feature on the culinary calendar, the sixth annual competition has seen 185 eateries battle it out for the title of this year’s top toastie, with 120,000 toasted sandwiches consumed since mid April and that total expected to jump to 150,000 by the competition’s conclusion. Open to all New Zealand eateries, this year’s participants have come from as far north as Kororāreka, to as far south as Invercargill, and ranged from sandwich specialists, to fine dining restaurants, breweries and food trucks, with a vegan fast food chain, a subterranean cocktail bar, Wellington Airport, the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry and even a retirement village in the mix. For more about McClure’s Pickles, see mcclures.com. Previous competition winners include Rich Johns from Okere Falls Store and Craft Beer in Rotorua (2022), Steve MacDougall from Mollies, Hotel D’Urville in Blenheim (2021), Romeo Dowling Mitchell from Hungry Hobos Dunedin (2020), and Joseph Walker from the Hokitika Sandwich Company Hokitika (2019). McClure’s Pickles are a product of the USA.

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An event to truly relish: Pickle Week returns for 2022 - Cook & Nelson

An event to truly relish: Pickle Week returns for 2022

Pickle fans should block out their calendars from November 14 because Pickle Week is returning with a range of pickle-inspired creations and activities - including a Pickle Festival. While International Pickle Day is officially recognised on November 14, several establishments are dedicating a whole week to this auspicious occasion, with some very special menu items available until November 20.Best Ugly Bagels is bringing back its hugely popular Pickolas Cage Bagel (made with McClure’s Pickles, Zany Zeus Cream Cheese, Tasty Cheese, Fresh Chopped Dill and Onion Soup Mix) available in six Auckland and Wellington outlets. Set to be on the menu for its third year from November 14-20, pickle fans have just seven days to up their bagel game with this creamy, crunchy, zingy delight.Also making a return after selling out last year, is the DOE Donuts’ Pickle (Dickle) Donut.  Deceptively delicious, this donut is filled with whipped cream cheese, feta and chunks of pickles, topped with a dill pickle glaze and garnished with more pickles. It quite rightly caused a social media frenzy last time around and will be available again from November 16-19 at DOE’s mini pink store in Grey Lynn. Wellington’s Dirty Burger and The Kaarage Kid have created the unusual but tantalising Peanut Butter Pickle Shake, made from McClure’s Pickle Juice & Pic's Peanut Butter blended with creamy soft serve.  Finishing off the week is a Pickle Festival on Sunday, November 20 at Churly’s Brewpub in Mount Eden.  Special items on the festival menu include the Pickle Dog, Corned Beef and Pickle Croquettes, Pickle and Cheese Sando and Fried Pickles. True pickle fans can wash all that down with a glass of Behemoth Brewing Company’s Gold Medal winning Pickle Beer, a Pickle Nick Pickle Juice sour 5.5% and a pickle back. And if you still need more pickles, Cook & Nelson will running a Pickle Stall on the day.Of course, no festival would be complete without games – and no game could be more appropriate for this festival than pickleball. Pickleball is an indoor or outdoor racket/paddle sport where two players, or four players, hit a perforated hollow polymer ball over a 36-inch-high net using solid-faced paddles. Opponents on either side of the net hit the ball back and forth until one side commits a rule infraction (source Wikipedia here).This family-friendly event kicks off at midday on Sunday, November 20 and finishes at 8pm. Becs Caughey, co-owner of Cook & Nelson, distributor of McClure’s Pickles says Pickle Week - and all its pickle-inspired creations - is one of her favourite times of the year. “We love collaborating with brands who love pickles as much as we do and we’re stoked to have Churly’s on board for the inaugural McClure’s Pickle Festival –there will be pickle fun for the whole family.”“Pickles really go with almost anything,” she says, “in previous years we’ve collaborated to create pickle ice cream, pickle soda and this year we’re bringing back the pickle milkshakes and the D’ickle DOE donut,  to the naysayers, try them, you might be pleasantly surprised.” McClure’s Pickles are Made in the USA by the McClure family. STORE LOCATIONS AND AVAILABILITY: BEST UGLY BAGELS Available : Monday 14th November – Sunday 20th November Cityworks Depot – Corner of Wellesley and Nelson Streets, Auckland City 3A York St, Newmarket, Auckland  Commercial Bay – Lower Albert Street, Auckland  5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington  Wellington Airport 153 Featherston Street, Wellington CHURLY’S Pickle menu items available: Tuesday 15th November – Sunday 20th November (not available Sat 19th). Pickle Festival on Sunday, November 20 at Churly’s Brewpub in Mount Eden. 1a Charles St, Mt Eden, Auckland DOE DONUTS Available: while stocks last at DOE Donuts from Wednesday 16 November - Saturday 19 November  356 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland OKERE FALLS The Pickle King: Pickle chunk brisket/chuck beef patty, cheddar, pickles, pickle brine bacon, pickle infused sour cream, mustard, in a milk bun with a pickle + mozzarella wonton crown.  Available: this Friday at the Okere Falls weekly Burger Night. 757A State Highway 33, Okere Falls 3074 DIRTY BURGER Available: Tuesday 15th November – Sunday 20th November 245 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 237 Jackson St, Petone 144 Main St, Upper Hutt THE KAARAGE KID Available: Tuesday 15th November – Sunday 20th November 144 Main St, Upper Hutt 20 Parumoana Street, Porirua

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North Island Lays Claim To Country's Top Toasted Sandwich

North Island Lays Claim To Country's Top Toasted Sandwich

Rotorua café smokes the competition with “perfect” brisket toastieThe North Island has finally snagged bragging rights to the country’s best toasted sandwich, with a Bay of Plenty cafe winning the 2022 Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover. Chef Rich Johns from Rotorua’s Okere Falls Store and Craft Beer Garden has won the hotly contested title – and brought an end to the South Island’s three-year winning streak in the competition – with his ‘Get Smoked, Pickled + Toasted’ creation. The winning sandwich consists of house-smoked, beer-brined brisket, McClure's Pickles, hop-salted mozzarella, smoked cheddar, watercress, and horseradish on Bread Asylum X Lumberjack Brewing spent grain sourdough with pickle brine sour cream and a beer gravy dipping bowl – all served up for a very reasonable $15.50.  Johns, who has worked at the Okere Falls Store café for the past six years, entered the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover last year and just missed out on making the finalist round. Undeterred, he returned for another attempt, proving that second time can also be the charm.  Johns was so determined to use brisket in his toasted sandwich entry, he convinced the café’s owner to purchase a smoker. The brisket was brined in a house lager from local brewer Lumberjack Brewing, then spritzed with McClure’s pickle brine and smoked for 24 hours on site using a special rub.  A former wedding photographer with a deep passion for food and flavour, Johns switched careers when he decided photography took him away from his young family too often. He started working as a barista at Okere Falls Store, and after displaying an interest in menu development, moved to the kitchen, where he eventually became head chef.  Johns says he’s thrilled to be crowned the country’s toasted sandwich champion. “It’s still sinking in, but it’s a huge honour,” he says. “It reinforces the love and care we put into the creations at Okere Falls - we get lots of compliments from our diners on the food. “We don’t have a traditional menu and try to be a little different, so to win this shows it’s paying off and it’s so amazing to be rewarded. We’ve had so many rave reviews about the toastie and to win, it means a lot.”  The previous three winners of the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover were all from the South Island - Steve MacDougall from Mollies (Hotel d’Urville, Blenheim) in 2021, Romeo Dowling-Mitchell from Dunedin’s Hungry Hobos in 2020, and Joseph Walker from the Hokitika Sandwich Company in 2019.   The competition’s head judge, Kerry Tyack, says this year’s winner was highly innovative in using the familiar and readily available. “The Okere Falls Store is a craft beer café, and it was great to see they maxed out the influence of craft brewing - for example, using hop-salted mozzarella, beer-soaked brisket, and artisan sourdough bread made from spent brewing grains,” he says. “We also enjoyed the nod to wild food via the use of watercress, while using the pickles as a palate-cleansing element was inspired. Their juice lifted the sour cream to a pickle and dill inspired high. “The entry also delivered epic mouthfeel and both complementary and contrasting flavours. No ingredient was superfluous, we gave it a perfect score for taste. “We should also mention the inclusion of a brief note explaining the brewing philosophy behind the main ingredients. It tied everything together perfectly.” McClure’s Pickles co-founder Joe McClure says while the quest to find Aotearoa’s tastiest toastie may be over for another year, it’s clear the Kiwi love affair with the toasted sandwich is as strong as ever. “This has been another watershed year for the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, one in which the judges were given the mammoth task of choosing a winner, while the entrants had to manoeuvre through the unique trading challenges thrown up by Covid-19,” he says. “But everyone made the necessary adjustments in typically innovative ways, and we’ve had another hugely exciting competition.” This fifth year of the popular competition saw more than 140,000 toasties served up to customers across the more than 180 eateries vying for the title.  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 180 entrants and were all judged on the same criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation, and originality.  Rich Johns and Okere Falls Store can now claim to the top toastie award by way of a bespoke Rikki Berger* trophy, a year’s worth of McClure’s Pickles, and $500 in vouchers to give away to customers. The winning toasted sandwich remains on their menu seven days a week (from 10am – 4pm) until the end of August – and potentially beyond! For more information about the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, check out www.toastietakeover.com.

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Grills At The Ready: Great NZ Toastie Takeover Back & Bigger Than Ever - Cook & Nelson

Grills At The Ready: Great NZ Toastie Takeover Back & Bigger Than Ever

The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, the nation’s premier toasted sandwich contest, is back for a fifth year and commences tomorrow (13 April), ready to titillate taste buds right around the country. The popular competition has been steadily gaining momentum, with last year’s contest attracting more than 120 entries and serving up an incredible 80,000 gourmet toasties. But those numbers have taken off for 2022, with 185 venues participating from Waitangi in the north to Lumsden in the south – an increase of 53% on last year.This year’s entries are a mix of iconic eateries and local gems, made up of bars, restaurants, cafes, a boutique hotel, an iconic cinema, breweries, food trucks, hole-in-the-wall serveries, a winery and even an RSA. Other unique entrant locations include a bowling alley, salmon farm, destination cheese store, and the Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry.The competition rules remain the same as previous years. Each toastie must be sandwiched between two slices of bread and able to be eaten by hand if necessary. The toasted sandwich must also contain cheese (or an acceptable vegan substitute) and pickles from the McClure’s Pickles range. Everything else is up to the toastie maker’s imagination – and those imaginations have certainly been in overdrive this year.A wide array of ingredients can be found across the entries in 2022, including brisket, bacon hock, buttermilk chicken, beer-poached beef, lamb chops, and venison mince, while entrants have been equally adventurous with their toastie condiments – think homemade feijoa BBQ sauce, peanut butter, caramelised banana, confit beetroot, and the quintessential Kiwi onion dip. The trend towards vegetarian or plant-based entrants also continues, with 17 vegetarian and six vegan entries, with ingredients like vegan black pudding, plant ‘pastrami’, and cauliflower and facon bits on the menu. A keto toasted sandwich entry has also made the cut this year.With Easter and the school holidays looming, it’s the perfect time for Kiwis to hit the road and check out a few of the entries, with a list of the competing eateries and a description of their toasted sandwich creations available at toastietakeover.com/find-your-nearest-toastie.Last year’s Great NZ Toastie Takeover was won by Steve MacDougall from Mollies in Blenheim with his Mo Jo Pork Cuban with a Twist. With slow roasted pork belly, provolone, chimichurri, American mustard, McClure's Pickles, and apple chilli gel slathered between toasted sourdough and served with kumara crisps, the sandwich was a true standout for customers and the competition judges.The People’s Choice Award, which was awarded to Toastie Picton last year, will also return in 2022, giving Kiwis the power to vote for their favourite participating eatery and toasted sandwich. More information on the People’s Choice Award can be found at the competition website. Judging begins tomorrow (Wednesday, April 13), with the 12 finalists from each of the six competition regions revealed on June 22. The supreme winner will be revealed on July 27. A group of approximately 30 judges overseen by head judge Kerry Tyack will be casting their eyes (and taste buds) over this year’s entries. Judging will be split into the following six regions: Auckland/Northland; Waikato/Bay of Plenty; Central North Island; Wellington/Lower North Island; Upper South Island (including Christchurch and West Coast); and Lower South Island. Each toastie will be scored on a set criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation, and originality. The competition’s grand toastmaster and McClure’s Pickles founder, Detroit based Joe McClure, will then visit the finalists to sample the entries and liaise with Tyack to determine New Zealand’s top toastie for 2022.McClure says he’s humbled by the number of entries, especially given the tough couple of years the hospitality industry has faced.“What an incredible list of entries - I’m blown away by the sheer number and the quality of the entrants, as well as the time that has gone into developing some innovative and incredible sounding toasted sandwiches. Covid-related restrictions permitting, I’m really looking forward to returning to one of my favourite countries to judge the top toasties in June.”All Great NZ Toastie Takeover finalists will receive a case or pail of McClure’s Pickles and dine-in vouchers to give away to locals via social media. The People’s Choice winner will also receive a case of McClure’s pickles and dine-in vouchers.The supreme winner 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. Previous competition winners include Steve MacDougall from Mollies, Hotel D’Urville in Blenheim (2021), Romeo Dowling Mitchell from Hungry Hobos Dunedin (2020), and Joseph Walker from the Hokitika Sandwich Company (2019). Go to toastietakeover.com for more info and follow @cookandnelson on Instagram for regular competitions and updates.

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Pickle Week 2021: November 13th-19th 🥒 - Cook & Nelson

Pickle Week 2021: November 13th-19th 🥒

It’s kind of a big dill: NZ eateries embrace International Pickle Day  Kiwis can once again relish the delights of International Pickle Day as eateries right around the country prepare to roll out their best pickle-inspired creations. While International Pickle Day may be officially recognised on November 14, New Zealand establishments have quite rightly dedicated an entire week to this auspicious occasion, with some very special menu items available to customers from November 13-19. Making a cameo appearance in Auckland for one day only on Saturday, November 13 is the DOE Donuts Pickle Doughnut. Made with cream cheese, feta and dill filling, slices of pickles, and topped with a pickle juice dill glaze, Auckland-based pickle fans would be wise to get in early before they all sell out.  Also participating in Auckland - Best Ugly Bagels, Bird on a Wire, Brother’s Beer, Dedwood Deli, Hero Sandwich House, JoBros, Lowbrow, Peach’s Hot Chicken, Whitestone Cheese Bar and Winner Winner.  Although many of the participating eateries can be found around Auckland, pickle enthusiasts in Hamilton, Hastings, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Picton, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown can get in on the action too, with menu items that vary from decadent cheese toasties and elaborate burgers to crispy fried pickle snacks and special cocktails.  A full list of participating eateries can be found below.  Meanwhile, those in the South Island are in for a double treat, with two previous winners of the Great NZ Toastie Takeover serving up their popular pickle-inspired toasted sandwiches. Dunedin’s pickle connoisseurs can take another bite of the ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ from 2020 Toastie Takeover champs Hungry Hobos, while further north, the ‘Pete from Picton’ - a delicious salmon and pickle toastie – will be available from Toastie Picton, this year’s Toastie Takeover People’s Choice Winner. And the pickle love isn’t restricted to food items – the drink experts at Black Pineapple Co. have also come up with four limited-edition boxes including a McClure’s Mary (Bloody Mary box), Pickleback Box (including branded shot glasses), McClure’s Mary & Pickleback bundle and a Weekend at Frankie’s. While the legend of the pickleback origins vary, McClure’s Pickles maintains the pickleback originated in Brooklyn, USA in 2006 at the Bushwick Country Club where a bartender was eating McClure’s pickles when a customer came in. The two shot some whiskey, followed by McClure’s pickle brine.  And hence the pickleback was born.  Nick Brown of Cook & Nelson, the New Zealand distributor of McClure’s Pickles, says that while it’s been a difficult year for many, they still wanted to celebrate Pickle Week, support their customers, and encourage the public to also continue to support hospitality, wherever they are in the country.  “Whether you fancy trying one of these special pickle-inspired items or something else that’s caught your eye on our customers’ menus, we’re encouraging everyone to support our hospitality industry where they can,” he says.  “Everyone needs our continued support and Pickle Week is a great opportunity to do exactly that.” The International Pickle Day dishes will be available at participating eateries from November 13-19.  The limited-edition Black Pineapple Co. Bloody Mary & Pickleback Boxes with McClure's Shot Glasses are available for purchase directly from Black Pineapple Co. here.  For more information about the Pickle Day festivities and giveaways, go to www.pickleweek.co.nz or follow the Facebook or Instagram pages of McClure’s Pickles distributor, Cook & Nelson. See Pickle Precincts below. #pickledaynz PICKLE PRECINCTS NORTH SHORE Bird on a Wire: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red Onion Winner Winner, Takapuna: Winner Winner cheeseburger with local Hereford beef, McClure's pickles, cheese, onion, mustard, mayo & ketchup Jo Bros Food truck at Farro Fresh Constellation Drive: Wagyu Burger: NZ wagyu beef patty, NZ cheddar, tomato, iceberg, onion, Jo Bros original sauce, make sure you add the pickles! (13/14  November, 10am until sold out) CBD Best Ugly Bagels: Pickolas Cage Bagel: McClure’s Pickles, Zany Zeus Cream Cheese, Tasty Cheese, Fresh Chopped Dill & Onion Soup Mix  Hero Sandwich House: Jalapeno fried chicken scone with McClure's Pickles Whitestone Cheese Bar: - BBQ pulled pork, McClure’s pickles, sauerkraut, Totara tasty & Monte Cristo (sheep milk cheese) on sourdough + truffle roasted mushrooms, McClure's pickles, spinach, grilled brie on sourdough Bird on a Wire: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red Onion UPTOWN Brother's Beer:  McClure’s Pickles on sandwiches and throughout menu Lowbrow St Kevin’s Arcade:  Hot Chicken Sando - Lowbrow hot spice fried chicken thigh, American cheese, McClure's Pickles or try the O.G Chicken Sando or Bronco Burger NEWMARKET Bird on a Wire: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red Onion PONSONBY / GREY LYNN Doe Donuts: Doughnut : Cream cheese, feta, & dill filling, with slices of pickles, topped with a pickle juice dill glaze and a hunky piece of pickle on top. Only available Saturday 13 November until sold out Bird on a Wire: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red OnionDedwood Deli: New York Reuben - slow cooked silverside, Swiss cheese, McClure’s pickles, sauerkraut, Dedwood sauce TITIRANGI Jo Bros: Deep fried McClure’s Pickles available 13/14 November at Street Feast REST OF AUCKLAND Brother's Beer, Onehunga & Orakei: McClure’s pickles on sandwiches and throughout menu Peach’s Hot Chicken, Panmure: Crispy fried McClure's Pickles with ranch dressing; plus McClure’s pickles throughout menu Winner Winner, Pukekohe: Winner Winner cheeseburger with local Hereford beef, McClure's pickles, cheese, onion, mustard, mayo & ketchup Bird on a Wire, Ormiston: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red Onion HAMILTON Bird on a Wire, Hamilton East: (Bird Club Sandwich) Brioche Loaf, Cos, Pulled Chicken, Bacon, Cheese, Bird Special Sauce, McClure's Pickles & Red Onion Cream: Cream Eatery Cheeseburger with McClure’s pickles  Winner Winner, Hamilton East: Winner Winner cheeseburger with local Hereford beef, McClure's pickles, cheese, onion, mustard, mayo & ketchup HASTINGS Black Betty BBQ: Double Smash Cheeseburger with McClure’s Pickles  ROTORUA Okere Falls: Reuben Sandwich featuring McClure’s Pickles  PALMERSTON NORTH Crafted & Co (Food Trucks): Meat, Cheese, Pickle with Double Wagyu Pattie, Double Bacon, Double Cheese, Double Pickles and Mac Daddy Pickle Sauce on a toasted Brioche Bun WELLINGTON Eva Beaver: Pickle inspired menu for the week featuring Deep Fried Pickles, Pickle Mac & Cheese and more!  Dirty Burger: McClure’s pickles available throughout the menu & add extra pickles for free to any burger when you order via the app or online at dirtyburger.nz Winner Winner: Winner Winner cheeseburger with local Hereford beef, McClure's pickles, cheese, onion, mustard, mayo & ketchup Best Ugly: Pickolas Cage Bagel: McClure’s Pickles, Zany Zeus Cream Cheese, Tasty Cheese, Fresh Chopped Dill & Onion Soup Mix  PICTON Toastie Picton: Pete from Picton - Marlborough salmon, cream cheese with lemon, dill and capers, McClure’s pickles and Parmesan garnish. People’s Choice Winner, Great NZ Toastie Takeover 2021 BLENHEIM Mollie’s Eatery: Deep fried  McClure's Crinkle Cut  Pickles served with apple chilli gel CHRISTCHURCH Bacon Bros: All of their beef burgers including Andy the Electrician, Shane the Legend, Mark the Snowboarder and The Man Mountain, as well as Picklebacks at the bar Civil & Naval: Fried Chicken or Cauliflower with Big Mac Sauce and McClure’s Garlic & Dill Pickles      DUNEDIN Hungry Hobos: “Bat out of Hell” toasted sandwich featuring homemade meatloaf (made to Grandma's recipe), creamy mashed potato, gravy, aged cheddar and McClure's Sweet & Spicy pickles slathered between herb-buttered ciabatta. Winner, Great NZ Toastie Takeover 2020 QUEENSTOWN Love Chicken: Love Chicken’s Southern Mac and Cheese Toastie. Southern-fried Bostock's organic chicken, sandwiched between two slices of white bread, topped with a three cheese mac & cheese, grilled onions, smoky mayonnaise and finished off with a dozen McClure’s pickles.  

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South Reigns Supreme Again in Great NZ Toastie Takeover - Cook & Nelson

South Reigns Supreme Again in Great NZ Toastie Takeover

The South Island is once again home to the country’s tastiest toasted sandwich with a relatively new Blenheim eatery taking top honours in the Great NZ Toastie Takeover. Chef Steve MacDougall from Mollies Bar & Eatery (attached to boutique Hotel d’Urville) has won the competition with his toastie creation, the Mo Jo Pork Cuban with a Twist. With slow roasted pork belly, provolone, chimichurri, American mustard, McClure's Pickles and apple chilli gel slathered between toasted sourdough and served with kumara crisps, the sandwich has been a standout for customers and competition judges alike.  MacDougall’s win marks the third in a row for South Island eateries, with Joseph Walker from the Hokitika Sandwich Company taking the title in 2019 and Romeo Dowling Mitchell from Dunedin’s Hungry Hobos winning in 2020.  MacDougall has previously made the finals of the Great NZ Toastie Takeover while working for Blenheim’s Vines Village Café in 2019 - and his win this year follows a particularly tough 2020 for the chef. He was made redundant when the Covid pandemic forced the temporary closure of the café and spent nine months at home looking after his young son before taking on the head chef role at Mollies in December.   MacDougall says he was determined to give the Great NZ Toastie Takeover another crack after coming so close to a win in 2019.  “Falling at that last hurdle always bugged me, so it was my mission to re-enter the competition, not only to win but because I love the pickles,” he says.  “I am honoured, overjoyed and overwhelmed to have won this time around. My 2019 entry [a slow roasted duck toastie] wasn’t for everyone, so this year I tried to please as many as possible with a combination of flavours. I based the whole thing on the classic ham and cheese toastie but took it to a whole new level. “There were the McClure’s pickles and the slow cooked pork belly where the marinade was turned into a sauce that was also added to the toastie. I wanted to hit all the flavour notes in the sandwich - sweet, spicy, heat, sour and savoury. Crunch and texture and temperature were all considerations, too. It really was a labour of love.”Head judge Kerry Tyack says MacDougall’s sandwich was top amongst another superb selection of terrific toasties for 2021. “Pulled pork, smoky beef, salmon, venison, fried chicken, tofu, ciabatta, sourdough and rye – they all found their way into the hands of toastie lovers this year. It really was so difficult to choose a winner,” he says.“In the end it came down to which toastie impressed most across all criteria. Mollies nailed it. They delivered a perfectly presented stack, comprising expertly toasted bread and a generous portion of pork, with apple, pickle, mustard and cheese adding interest and texture. “It was a well-orchestrated and harmonious partnership that felt like comfort food through and through. The extensive use of house made components was impressive and the locally made hot sauce was to die for. Judicious use of two variants of McClure’s pickles sealed the deal.”The competition attracted more than 120 entries nationwide and saw more than 80,000 toasties served up over the duration. Co-owner and founder of McClure’s Pickles Joe McClure was unable to be in New Zealand again this year for judging but was involved in the process every step of the way and offered his congratulations to Mollies and MacDougall for the win and to all of the finalists.“I have heard the feedback from the judges and there’s no doubt that Kiwis know how to make a great toasted sandwich,” he says. It was clear to them that consideration had been given to the role of each ingredient and how it would contribute to the overall enjoyment of the toastie and in particular the mouthfeel, ensuring the ingredients complemented and also contrasted”.The Great NZ 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.Twelve finalists were selected from the 120 entrants and were all judged on the same criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality. Steve MacDougall and Mollies Bar & Eatery now have bragging rights to the top toastie award by way of bespoke Rikki Berger* trophy, a year’s worth of McClure’s Pickles, and $500 in vouchers to give away to customers.  The toasted sandwich remains on the menu Tuesday to Saturday from 4:00pm onwards, until the end of August.

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Finalists Revealed in Hunt For NZ's Top Toastie - Cook & Nelson

Finalists Revealed in Hunt For NZ's Top Toastie

The 12 finalists battling for bragging rights in this year’s Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover have been revealed – and they show the country has well and truly upped its toasted sandwich game. The finalists hail from Auckland (three), Tairua, Mount Maunganui, Hastings, Clareville, Wellington, Picton, Blenheim and Dunedin (two), and have been chosen from a pool of more than 120 delicious entries nationwide. Finalist eateries include an historic pub, brewery, restaurants, burger bar, bakery, food trucks and even a boutique hotel. Last year’s Supreme Winner from Dunedin’s Hungry Hobos is in the running for the title once again with their tantalising Sweet & Spicy Pulled Carrot toastie - but the competition is tough with a range of other carefully curated sandwiches also in the mix. Competition criteria required sandwiches to be toasted between two slices of bread and – like all respectable toasties – able to be eaten by hand. The toasties also needed to contain cheese and McClure’s Pickles, with all the other ingredients left entirely to the entrants’ imaginations – and imaginations they certainly had with vegetarian and vegan finalist entries in the mix and a variety of mouth-watering protein and flavour combinations.  And the finalists are:   AUCKLAND / NORTHLAND Churly’s Brew Pub (Mt Eden): Southern Swine - Smoked ham hock rillette, house made pimento cheese, McClure's Sweet & Spicy Pickles, garlic aioli, zesty ranch dressing. Served with fries. The Daily Goods (Pukekohe): The Smoky Loaf - Bacon wrapped meatloaf, shaved and toasted with McClure’s pickles, three cheeses and smoked garlic mayo on sourdough. The Occidental (Auckland CBD): "BRT" Beef Rendang Toastie - Indonesian style rendang, Emmental cheese, McClure's Sweet & Spicy Pickles, served on toasted brioche with prawn crackers. WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY / COROMANDEL / ROTORUA Johnny's Tairua (Tairua): Tairua Time - 100 grams NZ Wagyu beef, McClure's Sweet & Spicy pickles, caramelised red onion, Swiss gruyere cheese, house-made Johnny mac sauce, Old Yella Habanero mustard on brioche bread. Fire Restaurant (Mount Maunganui): White as Snow - Slow roasted, korma spiced merino lamb shoulder, McClure's Spicy Pickle Spears, American cheese, curry leaf, kasoori, and spiced buffalo curd. CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND Black Betty BBQ (Hastings): The Cornstar - Betty's Jalapeño Cornbread toast with 8-hour smoked black Angus brisket, McClure's Pickles, caramelised onion and cheddar sauce. *From 24 July moving to premises and opening Black Betty BBQ at 408 Warren Street Hastings. WELLINGTON REGION The Clareville Bakery (Clareville): Good-bye, Pork Pie! Toastie Takeover! Oh My! - Local free range pulled pork, McClure’s Sweet & Spicy pickles, Swiss cheese, hoisin special sauce, and house made kimchi sandwiched between two slices of locally grown durum wheat, sesame and McClure’s Pickle sourdough bread. Wilson Barbecue (Wellington): The Spicy Smash - 100g brisket smash patty, blue cheese, sliced jalapeños, caramelised onion, McClure's Sweet & Spicy Pickles, mayo and American cheese sandwiched between two perfectly golden slices of German sourdough. UPPER SOUTH ISLAND Mollies Bar and Eatery (Hotel d’Urville, Blenheim): Mo Jo Pork Cuban with a Twist! - Slow roasted pork belly, provolone, chimichurri, American mustard, McClure's Pickles with apple chilli gel on toasted sourdough with kumara crisps. Toastie Picton (Picton): Pete from Picton - Marlborough salmon, Pete’s legendary cream cheese flavoured with lemon, dill & capers, McClure’s Pickles, parmesan garnish.  LOWER SOUTH ISLAND  Hungry Hobos (Dunedin): Sweet & Spicy Pulled Carrot - Slow-cooked pulled carrots in peanut butter BBQ sauce, layered with aged cheddar and McClure's Sweet & Spicy pickles, grilled in herb buttered ciabatta. (Vege). Morning Magpie (Dunedin): Miso Mushroom - Miso mayo, house walnut pesto, pepper rocket, miso portobello mushrooms, house kimchi and McClure's Sweet & Spicy Pickles on pan fried organic sourdough. (Vegan). Each finalist will now receive a case of McClure’s Pickles and dine-in vouchers which will be given away via social media this month.  More than 60,000 toasties have been served up since this year’s competition began in mid-May, with 30-plus judges scoring the 120 entries. Head judge Kerry Tyack says the standard of competition this year has been top notch.  “Just when we thought our enthusiasm for toastie innovation may be slowing, along comes some of the finest toasties we have had since the Takeover began,” he says. “Not only were this year’s entries a step up in the creativity stakes, it’s clear the critique from previous years has been taken on board. Entrants delivered toasties that were made better, held their shape, and had better balance. There were fewer battles between meat and cheese, a more even spread of ingredients, and less jarring of flavours competing for attention. “These toasties were the result of a more thoughtful, more considered approach, and better cooking. And, damn, they tasted good.” The competition’s toast-master royale will now visit all 12 finalists to sample their entries before liaising with Tyack and McClure’s Pickles co-founder Joe McClure to determine New Zealand’s top toasted sandwich. The creations will again be judged on presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation, and originality.  The supreme winner of the Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover will be announced on Friday July 30 and will walk away with a year’s worth of pickles, more dine-in vouchers, a toastie trophy, and the well-deserved reputation for the best toasted sandwich in the country.

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