Sometimes the simplest foods bring out the best in a good wine. And the team at Unico Zelo reckons its skin-contact Esoterico drop is unbeatable when matched with a toastie. The staff were thinking about this on National Toastie Day (June 28), which led to the following idea: get eight chefs and eateries to create their ultimate toastie, then get the public to decide which is best.
The competition, which is live now, gives you the chance to cook all eight toasties, then vote on your favourite. (You have a month to work through them all.) Just follow the recipes and taste test at home – Unico recommend considering the crunch factor and melt pull when casting your vote. Voters go into the draw to win a dozen bottles of Esoterico to pair with future toastie creations (the winning chef will nab 12 bottles too).
Esoterico is an energetic, minimal-intervention blend of fiano, zibibbo, moscato giallo, gewürtztraminer and greco. It was created by the South Australian winery for one reason – drinkability – and it’s developed a bit of a cult following.
And the toasties? Well, they’re far from your basic ham-and-cheese number.
Sydney’s Mitch Orr (ex-Acme, Cicciabella) has made a truffle toastie (with fresh truffles and truffle paste for extra zing) on Wonder White bread. Perth cafe Toastface Grillah’s – aptly named the “Trillacheese” – combines gouda, Swiss Emmental and aged cheddar with lots of confit garlic in butter.
Adelaide bar Proof is also working the highbrow-lowbrow angle, spreading truffle paste on white bread and topping it with 50 grams of cheese. Mark LaBrooy from Three Blue Ducks gets a bit fancy too: his has mud crab and corn combined with bechamel sauce, sandwiched between Wonder White bread buttered with Pepe Saya butter. (“I know it’s super-shit bread, but sourdough just won’t cut the mustard on this one,” he says in his instructions.)
Fans of the 2014 film Chef, which is beloved for this delicious, sensuous toastie scene, can try their hand at its famous grilled cheese and vote on whether it lives up to its reputation in real life. Team Unico’s contribution is an ‘nduja (spicy soft salami) toastie, while Melbourne’s Rosella is innovating by cooking a fish pie in a jaffle iron. And finally, for a sweet take, South Australian chocolatier Steven Ter Horst has created a salted caramel and chocolate concoction.
Find the toastie recipes, vote for your favourite and enter the draw to win the Esoterico wines here. The competition closes at the end of July