The humble cheese toastie

Easy to whip up and seriously tasty, a toastie has always been the perfect ‘I don’t have any food in the house’ or ‘I had one too many wines last night’ meal.

Our nation loves toasties so much, that every year, The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover scores the country for the very best. This year’s winner was Rich Johns, from Rotorua’s Okere Falls Store and Craft Beer Garden. His flavour combination? 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. While the winning toastie might take you a few hours to try and replicate at home, here are a few tasty combinations to try next time you fancy whipping up a toastie.

Keep it classic
You aren’t going for fancy with this one, just good honest comfort food. Layer a few different cheeses for ultimate flavour – we recommend a combination of cheddar, mozzarella and gruyere. Ensure your bread is crusty white bread, and don’t forget the butter for a golden finish.

Hot and spicy
For those that like a punch, this is the toastie for you. Use two cheeses, a melting cheese and a tasty cheese (Havarti and smoked cheese, or mozzarella and aged cheddar are winning combos), and then add a layer of spicy jalapenos and your protein of choice and toast away.

The gourmet grill
Everyone feels a little fancy sometimes, even the humble toastie. For a gourmet option, try a combination of cheeses like gruyere, white cheddar and muenster. Adding flavours like truffle really up the indulgence, so shave in some truffle or for an alternative, try using truffle butter or truffle oil on the bread. Caramelise some onions for sweetness, and add in fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary for a delicious fragrant layer.

The idea of grilling bread and cheese has been around for centuries, all over the world. Roman cookbooks say to combine bread and cheese when eating dinner. In France, the Croque Monsieur was first on menus in 1910.


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