If we say Breville, you say my misspent university years, right? For those of a certain age (and you know who you are) that nostalgic smell of charred cheese and cheap bread during the witching hour will be a familiar one. Post-student union, there were few things more comforting than some sliced white, butter (never margarine) and grated cheddar, toasted until golden and oozy.
But, of course, we mature (as does our taste in cheddar, among other things) and times move on. That is until you get reminded just how good a toastie can be. Street-food stalls have cottoned on in recent years – at this year’s festivals they were everywhere. Everyone from bakers to cheesemakers got involved. Our favourites include Toastie Toastie, from the family behind south-west outfit Hobbs House bakery – they combine their tangy Hobbs House St Martin sourdough with Lye Cross Farm cheddar and a little mozzarella – and Westcombe Dairy, which blends a combination of its cheeses with red onion between sourdough (follow our step-by-step guide to make your own here) before cleverly weighing it down with a brick on the grill for extra crunch.
Fillings have got more inspired. Deeney’s (on east London’s Broadway Market and at Deeney’s Café in Leyton) is famous for its Macbeth sourdough toasties, stuffed with hot haggis, caramelised onions, cheddar and rocket. But, for the recipe below, we were inspired by the recent one-month residency of Holly Chaves of Wine & Rind at Sourced Market, at St Pancras International. The nostalgic pop-up celebrated the Breville toastie with three offerings – The Cheese (a blend of raclette, Barber’s Somerset cheddar and Henderson’s relish), The Onion (raclette, cheddar, slow-cooked and crispy onions) and The Classic (raclette, cheddar, ham, cornichons and dijon mustard).
This is our take on the toastie, tapping into two of our retro favourites. Use a Breville, or whatever toastie maker you have.