I was amazed at morning tea this morning that very few Wellingtonians actually know what 'cheese rolls' are. This great southern delicacy that we were brought up with making as a fundraiser doesn't seem to have made it into the North Island yet and maybe never will. It is bizarre when you are born and raised on a diet of swedes, oysters and cheese rolls to think that people haven't experienced the humble cheese roll before. Each time I go home I indulge in a cheese roll or three from the old Copper Kettle or the massive ones at Invercargill Airport and a Jimmys Pie. I remember the days of making cheese rolls at James Hargest High School for our sports trip to Aussie. You would make them and sell them uncooked, but getting guys to prepare any food can get ugly, and it did!
Have you heard of cheese rolls? How far north can you get cheese rolls? Christchurch? Oamaru? Cook Strait? What are some other foods that a regionally specific to either the North or South Island? This is different to regional brands like Jimmys Pies or Foxton Fizz, this is an actual food type.
According to Wikipedia
A cheese roll (occasionally known by the older name of Cheese roll-up) is a snack food similar to Welsh rarebit, but created by covering a slice of bread in a prepared filling consisting mainly of grated or sliced cheese, and then rolling it into a tube shape before toasting. Cheese rolls are a very popular food in the South Island of New Zealand, where they are commonly found as a menu item at cafeterias and similar food outlets. They are one of only a very small number of recipes which are specific to only one of New Zealand's two main islands.
History of the cheese roll
Early recipes for the food date from the 1930s, with the earliest being in New Zealand newspaper New Zealand Truth from 1935. Though known from this period, the popularity of the delicacy seems to have taken off with the widespread availability of sliced bread from the 1950s. Early recipes referred to the food under the seemingly disparaging name of "Rat traps", a play on the longstanding nickname of "Mouse traps" used for cheese on toast, but also likely a reference to the cylindrical shape, which was similar to commercial rodent traps of the era. The earliest known cookbook recipe for cheese rolls dates from Dunedin's Roslyn Church Jubilee Cookery Book in 1951, with numerous other South Island community cookbooks listing the recipe in the decade that followed. Cheese rolls were not found in any North Island cookbooks, however, until the late 1970s, and the food is still little known north of Cook Strait.
Below is an award winning recipe from the New Zealand International Science Festival
The New Zealand International Science Festival ‘ultimate’ southern cheese roll recipe by Joy Jones
500 grams grated cheese – (Mainland Mild Blend or Mild Cheddar)
1 tin Nestle carnation evaporated milk
1 pkt Maggi onion soup mix
1 finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon mustard powder
¼ cup cream
Heat in microwave for 6 mins – stirring in between time, cool – spread lengthways onto long cut white bread from Marlow’s Bakery, South Dunedin. Roll into cheese rolls (3 folds).