Grilled Cheese Smackdown with Toad&Co

Dear Friends and Foodies!

Gourmet Girl Gail here writing from windy Santa Barbara. Did you know that April 12 is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day? Yep! It has its own unofficial holiday, celebrating one of the most popular comfort foods on the planet. In a ranking of America’s favorite cheesy foods, pizza ranks #1 (94% of Americans claim to love them), followed by grilled cheese sandwiches (87%), macaroni & cheese (87%), and cheeseburgers (82%). 

This Philly Voice article points out five establishments where Philadelphians can find some delicious melted goodness on Friday.  And I thought Philadelphia was only known for its Philly cheesesteaks, a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed rib-eye beef and melted cheese. Not true!

Maybe you’re planning on being creative and making your own grilled cheese wonderment come Friday! If so, the Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook has an awesome recipe for a gourmet grilled cheese.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Los Padres ForestWatch to lead a team in their first time competing at the Toad&Co’s Annual Grilled Cheese SMACKDOWN. It was a lot of fun, and we won 4th place!

Here is the line-up of winners.

Best Overall: Guin and Helena – Toad&Co

All That Jazz – UCSB Bren School

Best Solo Act – Ian – Toad&Co

Most Balanced – Los Padres ForestWatch (that’s us!)

People’s choice – Alpha Resource Center

We used three types of cheese (it’s not a day to count calories!): Quebec cheddar, sharp provolone and fontina. We spread tomato jam onto one of the slices of bread, piled on the cheese, and added a slice of Prosciutto cotto, an Italian style ham. The bread we used was from D’Angelo’s Bakery in Santa Barbara. We chose loaves of sourdough with Kalamata olives and put lots of butter on the outside of the bread before placing the sandwich in the panini press. Once the cheese was melted, we took the sandwich out of the press and let it sit for a few seconds before opening it up and adding avocado and arugula. Voila!

“What do you think? Is it done yet?” I asked my friend Ellen who came on as sous chef.

We were the first ones to share our creation with the judges. Then we went on to make several more sandwiches that we handed out to the crowd.

The Organic Soup Kitchen was on hand serving up bowls of delicious tomato soup. I think grilled cheese and tomato soup must be one of the most iconic duos in the history of food!

Where will you be getting your grilled cheese on this coming Friday? Let us know in the comments here. Better yet, send us your favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipe to! We’ll consider it for next year’s smackdown!

Bon Appetit!

Gail, Denise and Lindsey

#gourmetgirlsonfire, #grilledcheesesmackdown



4 Comment

  1. Polly says: Reply

    Congratulations on the big grilled cheese win! Personally, I believe any holiday as important as Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day should be celebrated in excess and for several days before and after April 12th. I love the Grilled Cheese recipe in the Gourmet Girls cookbook. I also love the truffle cheeses at C’est Cheese in Santa Barbara which make a supremely decadent GCS. Because GCS Day should not be limited to America, I will use some Moroccan msemen I just learned how to make and have in our freezer and put in some brie. And perhaps this recipe which I’ve never done before But never forget Velveeta or cheese whip on GCS Day! As for an accompaniment, I may substitute a Bloody Mary for the tomato soup.

    1. Thanks Polly. Love your tips for grilled cheese yummyness! I’ll definitely check out the truffle cheeses at C’est Cheese.

  2. Regina E McCarthy says: Reply

    OMG your sandwich looks amazing!!! Congrats on your win! And have a wonderful Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. (Isn’t that every day???)

    1. Thank you! And, yes, GCSD should be every day!!

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