Come-and-get-it favorites include Georgia-made pound cake and praline mustard sauce, plus grits from the Lowcountry.
Take the cake
When Carol Chanin built her home more than 25 years ago, the Macon woman insisted on three ovens in the kitchen because she loved to bake. The former teacher never thought about turning her part-time passion into a full-time business. But when Loretta Webb, a friend and longtime housekeeper, needed help when her husband became ill, the two women decided to bake and sell pound cakes for the holidays. Word spread about the cakes. Three years ago, the duo combined their names, kitchen talents and rented a commercial kitchen to start Caroletta’s Cakes. Their Signature Sour Cream Pound Cake ($35), which serves 12 to 14, is a best-seller for birthdays, holidays and showers. For an extra $7, add caramel or chocolate icing. Other freshly baked favorites include a lemon pound cake with a lemon glaze, plus cakes shaped like sunflowers, roses and hearts. The cakes are gift-wrapped in cellophane and tied with a colorful organza ribbon. The company recently added Wedding Cookies with pecans ($25). A tin holds four dozen of the old-fashioned cookies. To order, visit www.carolettascakes.com. You also can find some of the company’s baked goods, at Lucy’s Market, 102 West Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta. 404-357-0052.
Greg Johnsman knows grits. As a middle-schooler in upstate South Carolina, Johnsman was introduced to milling by Jack Brock, a third-generation miller. After high school, Johnsman put milling aside when he headed to Clemson University and later to a corporate job. But milling eventually drew him back. Three years ago, encouraged by his wife, he opened the Geechie Boy Mill on Edisto Island, S.C. The 1945 mill, which Johnsman had restored, sits inside the Geechie Boy Market, a seasonal fruit and vegetable market. Johnsman uses the antique mill year-round to grind corn (mostly from Kentucky) into grits and cornmeal. Bon Appetit magazine has said his grits are a must-have for your Southern pantry. And many of Charleston’s top restaurants, including Husk McGrady’s and FIG, won’t use anything else. A two-pound bag of stone-ground grits (white or yellow) is $5. Choose white for shrimp and grits. A two-pound bag of cornmeal (white or yellow) is $3. To order, visit www.geechieboymill.com.
Dr. T.A. Peterson, known as Dr. Pete to his patients in Savannah, often made house calls. But at home, he enjoyed cooking for family and friends. His grilled steaks and wine marinade was a favorite. In 1985, his daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Joel Coffee, began bottling some of the family recipes and selling them under the Dr. Pete’s label. The Burgundy Marinade was their first product, and it continues to be the company’s best-selling marinade. The company also offers other tasty marinades (Coffee Balsamic) and gluten-free dressings (Parmesan Pepper and Southwest Lime). But it is Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze ($8.25 for an eight-ounce jar) that gets raves from foodies and longtime fans. The glaze, a combination of brown sugar, mustard, spices and pecans, works on meats, cheeses (like brie) and vegetables. Three years ago, the company began to offer baking mixes, like lemon and Key Lime, wrapped in burlap bags for $7.25 per bag. Marinades and dressings in 12.7-ounce bottles are $8.25 each. To order, visit www.dr-petes.com. Also find some of Dr. Pete’s products at The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.
Best of the South
Do you have favorite finds from around the South that you give as gifts, buy for your home or rave about to friends? If, so please share them with us. Send suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, write Southern Made. Include your name and a contact number.
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