The three Southern condiments you need to brighten up your meals

Olive Tapenade from Olive Affairs

Staying at home has meant lots of cooking. You’ve made your favorites so many times they’re favorites no longer. Time to rejuvenate your pantry and condiments are just the thing. Try one, two or three of these.

Olive Tapenade from Olive Affairs

Olive tapenade can be a salty, briny concoction with its mixture of olives, capers and anchovies. But Larry Eisenberg of Olive Affairs in Brunswick, Georgia, makes a tapenade that’s anything but overwhelming. We think he’s found just the right combination of black and green olives, olive oil, capers, pimentos and seasonings. There’s a “gourmet” version with anchovies and a vegan version without. You might be tempted to just enjoy the tapenade on a slice of baguette, but the Olive Affairs website suggests ideas like using it to dress a cold green bean, potato and tuna salad, or, our favorite, adding it to your avocado toast. Mixed with butter and used to dress grilled corn, used in place of relish on a hamburger, you’ll think of dozens of way to use this versatile condiment. While you’re looking at the website, check out the tomato bisque. Eisenberg tells us it’s as popular as his tapenades.

$12 per 8-ounce jar. Available at The Leaning Ladder in Woodstock or online at

Sweet Potato Mustard from Jack’s Cosmic Dogs/Provided by David Jackson

Sweet Potato Mustard from Jack’s Cosmic Dogs

There’s a hot dog stand on Highway 17 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, just northeast of Charleston. Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, owned by Jack Hurley (known to all as “The Big Dog”), offers sixteen types of hot dogs, along with sandwiches, fries, and specialty sides like their blue cheese cole slaw. Their “Cosmic Dog” comes dressed with that slaw and their famous sweet potato mustard. The mustard was a creation of Hurley and business partner Mike Zemke, both fans of sweet potatoes, both interested in creating a mustard that was sweet, but not as sweet as honey mustard. The result will remind you candied sweet potatoes with a little twang. You taste the sweet potatoes, but you also taste the molasses, brown sugar and two types of vinegar. We’re not limiting ourselves to using this on hot dogs. Now that we have a jar, we’ll be stirring it into potato salad and using it as a final glaze the next time we grill some ribs.

$4.80 per 9.5-ounce jar at the shop, or order a 3-pack online for $25.50. Available at

Kickin’ Pineapple Mango Sauce from Savannah Sauce Company

Kickin’ Pineapple Mango Sauce from Savannah Sauce Company 

Tracey Richburg and Mike Roberson of Savannah Sauce Company started their company in 2014. They developed two hot sauces and put them on the market with a plan to donate part of the profits to helping homeless veterans. Success with their hot sauces led them to produce many more products including our latest find, their Kickin’ Pineapple Mango Sauce. We’re big fans of sweet chile sauces, using them to brighten up all kinds of dishes from rice bowls to salads and as mix-ins for things like tuna and chicken salad. We were so pleased to find a locally produced option, and one that’s not as sweet as many other brands. This one is all about the tropical fruits - pineapple and mango - but it also includes coconut cream, lime juice and bell peppers as well as the cayenne for that bit of chile kick.

$7.75 per 16-ounce bottle. Available online at


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