Big cheeses turn mild row tasty

AUDREY MALONE AND FAIRFAX NZ
Last updated 05:00 13/06/2014
cheese roll
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

LOCKED AND LOADED: Mayor Damon Odey is ready to battle Southland for the title of cheese roll capital as he clutches a South Canterbury cheese roll.

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South Cantabrians, arm yourselves with cheese rolls; Southland has declared war on us.

It wants to claim back the title as the country's capital for the winter treat.

Over 200,000 cheese rolls have been made by schools in South Canterbury since the beginning of the year. The article detailing that impressive statistic in yesterday's Herald caused an uproar among our southern compatriots.

Southlander and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English waded in to defend his region.

"It's not about quantity, it's about quality," he said.

"They can't replicate the combination of taste and atmosphere that makes the southern cheese roll so unique. So they're just pretenders trying to boost themselves."

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt was equally dismayed by the usurping of their former title.

"It's a worse attack, in a way, than the Australians stealing our pavlovas, because [South Canterbury] are supposed to be our next door neighbours. At least with the Aussies we knew they were the enemy from day one, but with Timaru we thought we had a friend," he said.

"You'd think there'd be an element of solidarity but, oh well. If they're going to start trouble ..."

Timaru District councillor Steve Wills suggested there be a competition to see who could make the best cheese rolls in South Canterbury.

He said after a rigorous round of judging we could put the best four or five entries up against a Southland team.

Wills said it would sort out who should hold the supreme title once and for all.

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey yesterday scoffed at Southlanders being upset at the claim their title had moved north.

"I think for them it's now a case of stale cheese," he said.

He recalled double Olympic champion Danyon Loader's visit to Timaru last year.

Odey said Loader had talked about selling cheese rolls when growing up in Timaru to fundraise for his swimming.

"Our cheese rolls have funded a gold medal," he said.

The phrase #southlandsushi, coined in 2011 to describe cheese rolls, was trending on Twitter yesterday as Southlanders tried to stake their claim to the winter food item.

@SMcCarthyism said: "SHOCKER: Timaru Herald claiming Cheese Roll capital status for South Canterbury. #southlandsushi."

@MrLudlow tweeted: "Timaru Herald - make do with Caroline Bay, the Topp Twins and Exponents. Cheese rolls are OURS #southlandsushi."

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- The Timaru Herald

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