Hard numbers on cheesy treats

19:19, Jun 11 2014
Grantlea Downs Primary pupils
CHEESY PLACE: South Canterbury might be New Zealand’s cheese roll capital. Students at Grantlea Downs Primary school with the cheesy treat.

Southland might claim them, but South Canterbury consumes them.

The mighty cheese roll could be the region's fundraiser of choice with more than 200,000 made so far this cheese roll "season".

South Canterbury might even have eclipsed Southland as New Zealand's cheese roll capital.

The cheese roll season began in April and will last well into winter. And we know at least 208,484 have been made by schools in the district so far.

Grantlea Downs home and school committee chairwoman Haylee Davis said the committee made 45,600 last weekend.

Davis had exchanged friendly banter with parents from other schools about who made the best and most cheese rolls.


At 21 pieces of bread in a loaf, she worked out they used 2330 loaves of bread.

She said there was a small army making them over the weekend.

As a result of spending so much time on the production line, she has called for a break from the savoury treat in her life.

"I haven't looked at one since Saturday. Maybe in a few months' time I will get some out," she said.

Davis said her brother had moved to Hawke's Bay and was desperate for some cheese rolls.

He had requested she send him some as he could not find any. "It cost $80 to courier them up to him.

"If someone started selling them in the North Island, they would make a lot of money," she said.

Geraldine High School netball president Alison Patterson said they sold 38,400 rolls this year and still have people asking for them.

"We could probably do half that again, easily," she said.

However she said she did not have it in her to make that many again this season.

She said they advertise the rolls as the "famous cheese rolls" because every year they are in high demand.

But could the cheese roll do for South Canterbury what L & P did for Paeroa?

Timaru district councillor and cheese roll lover Steve Wills said this "hot topic" called for a "cheesy" new tourist attraction.

"Gore has the big guitar, Paeroa has the big L & P bottle and Timaru should have the giant cheese roll," he said.

It's not only schools that use the cheesy morsels to make some cash. Community groups and sports clubs also turn out hundreds of the tasty treats each winter.

For the record, Southland can't even claim the first cheese roll recipe - that appeared in a Dunedin church cookbook in 1951.


School Number of Cheese Rolls

Grantlea Downs Primary 45,600

Geraldine High School 38,400

Waimataitai Primary 29,000

Sacred Heart Primary 27,000

Roncalli College 23,112

Temuka Primary 22,800

Beaconsfield Primary 14,772

Mountainview High School 7080

Mackenzie College 720

Total 208,484

Total number of cheese rolls made by schools that responded to the Herald.

The Timaru Herald