One cheese roll too many

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 08:38 24/07/2014
timaru cheese roll competition
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

THE BIG CHEESE: These are no ordinary cheese rolls, they are winners. Fusion restaurant chef and judge Lindsay Bennett and Karen Steven inspect cheese rolls from a Washdyke dairy that came out tops in an early morning tasting session yesterday.

timaru cheese rolls audrey malone
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ
CHEESE OVERLOAD: Timaru Herald reporter Audrey Malone has had quite a journey with cheese rolls.

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My heart is pounding. Sweat glistens on my forehead. The thought of another cheese roll is making me want to run for a bucket.

Yesterday morning I helped judge the first cheese roll competition for South Canterbury.

For those not familiar with the savoury concoction, it is a piece of bread coated in a cheesy spread, then rolled and toasted in the oven.

For years Southland claimed the title as the cheese roll capital, even renaming the rolls Southland Sushi. However, I discovered earlier this year the rolls were being made en masse in South Canterbury as fundraisers.

I must confess, at the age of 31, I lost my cheese roll virginity.

It was love at first bite. Why had I not thought to eat these before?

The ingredients are so simple, yet so tasty. So I started eating them with aplomb. Then I wrote an article about the thousands being made in South Canterbury as fundraisers.

It contained a flippant comment about Southland no longer claiming the title. Suddenly the two regions were at war.

National TV jumped on board with a debate on Campbell Live between the two mayors - which might I proudly add, Timaru Mayor Damon Odey won hands down. And then district councillor Steve Wills decided it was time to hold a South Canterbury-wide competition to show how good we were at making them.

When asked, I was all too willing to judge. Committed to the cause I left gym class early and fronted up, dreaming of the cheesy bread goo. Rolls were dropped off, cooked up, coated in butter and cut up. About 10 tastes in, I was ready to barf.

Smoked cheese, cream cheese and mozzarella had all been used in some form. Curry, sweet chilli and ham were among the additions. It dawned on me there was a skill to this craft, and the simpler the ingredients the better.

South Canterbury does produce a damn fine roll. But even so, there is a limit to just how much cheese and bread I can consume in one sitting. Pass me a chocolate fish.

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- The Timaru Herald

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