World famous in NZ

Cheese roll queen Joy Jones with some of her culinary masterpieces.
Cheese roll queen Joy Jones with some of her culinary masterpieces.

She's the queen of sushi in the south: "Southland sushi" that is.

Arrowtown cafe owner Joy Jones' "ultimate" southern cheese rolls have become famous since she scooped the New Zealand International Science Festival cheese roll competition in 2010, fighting off more than 80 other entrants from around the South Island.

Her cheese rolls have even made a mention in the Lonely Planet Guide.

"They said ‘come to Arrowtown for a cheese roll'. It's just a simple thing but a lot go for them."

Tourists now "seem to know". A sign outside Jonesy's Cafe and Bar in Arrowtown announcing her award-winning cheese rolls certainly draws them in if they don't.

"We get a lot of Asians who come in here and they love them."

They also star on the menu at Robbie's Bar and Grill in South Dunedin, which she also owns with husband Warren.

But these are no ordinary cheese rolls. The recipe hails from Mrs Jones' Southland farming mother, Noeleen Campbell, of Tuatapere.

The secret she reckons is in the cream that's added.

There's a definite art to the perfect cheese roll and as yet Mrs Jones hasn't been able to trust anyone else to get it 100 per cent right.

"I do them all myself. They're all handmade," she said, proudly.

Each day she rises early to prepare her culinary masterpieces for a new batch of hungry connoisseurs in search of that perfect taste, texture and "ooze factor" for which Mrs Jones' southern specialty has become famous.

"I probably make 100 a week all myself, so it's pretty time consuming."

During peak summer her cheese roll production can be up to 100 a day.

"I think I'll have to get someone to help me over summer this year. I just like to do them myself to make sure they're right."

"You need the right amount of mixture, the bread needs to be right so they roll properly, and you need just the right temperature," Mrs Jones said.

She only uses Marlow's Bread from Dunedin, because of its special long cut. She first started making them as bar food when she and Mr Jones had the New Orleans Hotel in Arrowtown about 10 years ago and they became very popular.

Jonesy's is not only famous for its cheese rolls. Mrs Jones said her chef Ben Devlin, who first encouraged her to enter the 2010 competition, "likes to think he's famous for his pies".

With delicious southern flavours like Goat and Blueberry, Wallaby with Venison Bacon and Seafood Chowder, it's no wonder.

The Mirror