Tasting the New Girl Scout Cookie
Lemon-flavored Savannah Smiles are named for the birthplace of Founder Juliette Gordon Low.
by Erin Z. Bass
Each spring, as the camellias start to bloom and the days get a little bit longer, Girl Scouts begin setting up tables in front of local businesses. If you have a Scout for a neighbor, you might get a knock on the door, but otherwise you’ll need to drive around town to get your annual cookie fix. Girl Scout cookies are sold at different times, depending on which region you live in, and some cities are already inundated with cookies. In South Louisiana, cookies don’t go on sale until March, so I contacted the local Girl Scout office to find out if we could get a taste of the new Savannah Smiles.
Introduced in honor of the Girl Scouts 100th anniversary this year, Savannah Smiles are bite-sized, lemon-flavored and dusted in powdered sugar. According to the text on the side of the box: “Girls visit the historic ‘Birthplace’ in Savannah to learn about their Girl Scout heritage, enriching their Girl Scout Leadership Experience, where girls gain Courage, Confidence and Character to Make the World a Better Place.”
Girl Scouts Founder Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah and educated in prominent boarding schools. She met Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the scouting movement, in 1911. His sister has organized the “Girl Guides,” groups of young girls doing outdoor activities and good works. Low organized troops in Scotland and London before bringing the movement to the United States in 1912. Her famous telephone call to her cousin is said to have gone: “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” Together, they recruited girls and leaders throughout Savannah.
The movement eventually spread across the country and, 100 years later, the Girl Scouts are still going strong. Girl Scouts Pines to the Gulf Communications Director in Louisiana, Erin Turner, says selling cookies is all about building courage and learning how to handle money. “Girls always tell me their favorite part is Girl Scout Cookie sales,” she says. “I don’t really understand it, because my favorite thing was camping, but they tell me they get to eat the cookies.”
Turner describes the new Savannah Smiles as “buttery” and similar to an Italian wedding cookie. Die hard cookie fans will be glad to know Thin Mints and Samoas remain bestsellers, and Turner’s personal favorite is Tagalongs. I’m a Samoa gal, but after tasting Savannah Smiles, I may rethink my order and can’t help picturing them being served with tea all over Savannah.
Savannah Smiles Tasting Notes
- The sweet smell of lemon drafts from the bag as soon as you open the box.
- Cookies are almost dangerously bite-sized and shaped like half moons.
- I had preconceptions of Key Lime cookies in my head, and these are similar, but not at all tart.
- Perfect blend of sweetness, with a hint of lemon and light dusting of powdered sugar.
- As the “Meet the Cookies” section on the Girl Scout Cookie website says: “Enjoy these delightful treats, remember where Girl Scouting began … and smile.”
Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace this year, but the house is open to the public seven days a week. General admission is $8 for adults ages 21 and over, $7 for registered Girl Scouts and students and $6 for scouts ages 6-18. In honor of the anniversary, free tours will be offered March 10-12. On view is the former carriage house, which served as the local Girl Scout club rooms.