After countless flat whites, smashed avocados and eggs benne by the dozen, the country's best cafes have been crowned.
Prepare to upgrade your brunch-game, folks, Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year have officially crowned a winner.
On Wednesday night, food and hospitality professionals, judges, media, families and friends gathered in Auckland's Grey Lynn, to acknowledge and celebrate the unsung hospo heroes.
For the sixth year running, the Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year Awards showcased the diverse, the delicious and the delightful Kiwi culture, while shining a light on outstanding artisans across New Zealand.
This year's supreme title went to The Daily Café in Te Puke, dubbed "a café with a conscience" by visitors, judges and staff alike. The Daily Café is owned by The Search Party Charitable Trust, a not-for-profit, registered charity that focuses on giving back, with all profits going to the local Te Puke community through crisis meals, assistance and training.
The focus of local trustees Marty and Chrissi Robinson, Richard Crawford and Andrew Reid, is on making the local community better, serving Te Puke and promoting goodness to grow, in both our own backyard and well beyond. Even the coffee beans at The Daily Café give back, with the proceeds of every coffee sold providing one week of fresh water in Cambodia through the Good Trust.
Offering much more than just a well-made cuppa, The Daily Café is a labour of love that took two-and-a-half years to create.
“What a find! Tucked away just off the Te Puke highway sits one of the most interesting cafés we came across," said judge and critic, Kerry Tyack.
"Its cheekiness brings an immediate smile as you approach through an outdoor seating area into a vast mélange of mismatched seating. The service is coordinated and uncomplicated. The sweet and savoury fare is home-made and certainly tasty. When the food and coffee arrive, you know someone in the kitchen knows how to satisfy a Kiwi appetite with generous portions."
In addition to receiving the night's highest accolade, The Daily Café also went home with the award for National Best Regional Town (Upper North Island) and the Best Regional Town. The winning team will not only receive the acclaim of being crowned supreme winner, but will also enjoy a trip to Victoria's culinary hub, Melbourne, receive an editorial feature in Dish and additional marketing materials to further promote and support their big win.
Among this year's winning line-up was central Auckland favourite Welcome Eatery, who took home the award for Best Metro/CBD Café.
“It has been a stellar year for the café society of New Zealand." said judge Kerry, on the standard of this year's entries. "The great have remained great and the new have excited with their confident innovation and commitment to providing good food and drink.
Consumers are clearly loving the opportunity to rock on up to enjoy some of the best coffee in the world, served in relaxed and often uniquely Kiwi atmospheres. A prominent trend is the venue that seamlessly transforms from a casual café in the day to a trendy bistro-like diner in the evening, making good business sense and giving the punters a great reason to make a return visit."
Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year 2018 – Full list of award winners
Best Regional Town – The Daily Café, Te Puke
Best Rural – Orepuki Beach Café, Southland
Best Suburban – Sweet Vanilla Kitchen, Lower Hutt
Best Metro/CBD – Welcome Eatery, Auckland
ICG Classic Kiwi – Nick’s Café, Waiuku
Meadow Fresh People’s Choice Award – Portershed, Christchurch
Unilever Food Solutions Award for Innovation & Sustainability – BearLion Foods, Christchurch
To learn more about Meadow Fresh New Zealand Café of the Year, see here.