Southern Product Tasteoff
Get a taste of the Deep South through some of the latest Southern food products on the market.
Earlier this fall, we rounded up some of the newest, and best, Southern food products available for a tasteoff during Lafayette’s Second Saturday ArtWalk. The spread included everything from peanut butter to chocolate, pepper jelly and barbecue sauce, and ballots provided asked tasters to vote for their favorites. Now that the votes have been tallied and the products officially “tested,” we’re ready to share the results. The products below, listed in order of the number of votes they received, would make perfect accompaniments to your holiday meal. Or, combine a few them in a gift basket with some cheese and crackers, and call it the ultimate Southern gift for a foodie. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you get a taste of these products yourself first. (Scroll down for recipes.)
1. Fischer & Wieser Sweet, Sour & Smokey Mustard Sauce
Based in Fredericksburg, Texas, the specialty foods company of Fischer & Wieser started as a family peach growing business in 1969. Among their now 100 products is Sweet, Sour & Smokey Mustard Sauce. “This is no ordinary mustard,” says CEO Case Fischer. Made from a blend of stone ground mustard, distilled vinegar, sugar, horseradish, white wine, ginger, garlic and maple, the sauce is recommended for spicing up classic recipes like potato salad and deviled eggs. “It’s even sophisticated enough to top Cornish game hens and grilled salmon,” adds Fischer. We served it as a dipping sauce with smoked sausage, and tasters were raving. The bottle and label may be unassuming, but this sauce definitely is not. $8.95 per bottle from www.jelly.com or click here for where to buy
2. Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies
Salem Baking Co.’s newest creation made with pumpkin puree, pure cream butter, brown sugar and a delicious blend of spices is a must at the holiday table this year. Dating to 1930 and located in the foothills of North Carolina, Salem Baking’s all-natural products are made from original recipes. The company recommends its cookies as a hostess gift or snack on a crisp, fall afternoon. Serve them on a colorful plate to contrast nicely with their outer dusting of powdered sugar. $4.99 per box from www.salembaking.com
3. Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Cheese Biscuit Mix
Based in Birmingham, with locations throughout the South, Jim ‘N Nick’s may be famous for their barbecue, but their cheese biscuits aren’t bad either. In fact, they’ve become legendary. Now, you can bake the warm, cheesy biscuits at home with a bag of Jim ‘N Nick’s biscuit mix. One bag makes 2 dozen, but those didn’t last long at our tasting. $5.99 per bag from www.jimnnicks.com
4. Reginald’s Homemade Peanut Butter
Peanut butter seems to be the “it” product in the South right now, and Reginald’s Homemade out of Richmond, Virginia, will convert even non-PB lovers. So as not to take away from from their all-natural flavors made with Virginia peanuts, we served up two of their products on tasting spoons. The Cinnamon Molasses Cashew Butter got a few more votes than Bourbon Pecan, but both are delectable and would be take baked goods, PB&J or just a slice of celery to a whole new level. Founder Andrew Broocker, who started the company with the help of his mom’s food processor in 2011, says his favorite way to eat the product is still just with a spoon. $5-8 per jar from reginaldshomemade.com or click here for store locations
5. One Screw Loose Jelly
Out of Atlanta, One Screw Loose claims to make the best jelly on the planet. Well, most likely. With varieties made with beer from Jailhouse Brewery, Jack Daniels, Vidalia onions and even sweet tea, this jelly is truly a taste of the South. We served up their Brew Ha Habanero, made with Jailhouse Mugshot IPA, Blackjack Jelly Rub with whole blackberries and Jack Daniels, and Balsamic Vinegar Jelly, which contains the aforementioned Vidalia onions. The Blackjack went over cream cheese, the Balsamic in a sandwich, and the Brew Ha was baked in their Great Hot Dip (recipe at bottom), which won out over the three. $8 a jar from www.onescrewloose.com or click here to find out when OSL will be in your area
6. Uncle’s Barbecue Sauce
A Certified Cajun product made in New Iberia, Louisiana, Uncle’s Barbecue Sauce is concocted from a secret Voorhies family recipe that is a perfect blend of hot and sweet. The sauce’s subtle peppery kick is softened with pure raw brown sugar and packed with plenty of onions and garlic. We served it alongside the mustard sauce for dipping of smoked sausage, but of course it would be great on ribs or burgers. $5.72 per bottle from unclesbbq.com or click here for store locations
8. Midnight Moon Moonshine
Named for bootlegging and moonshining legend and former NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, Midnight Moon follows his North Carolina family recipe and comes handpacked in a traditional moonshine jar. Aged with fruit and available in flavors ranging from Apple Pie to Cherry and Blueberry, we chose the latter to serve. This moonshine may be available at the local grocery store, but it still packs a punch. The blueberries only added a bit of sweetness and didn’t affect this moonshine’s potency one bit. We imagined sipping it around a fire on a cold night or in a cocktail (recipe below) for the holidays. average $20 per jar and available in 48 states, including Rouses Markets in Louisiana and Mississippi; click here for distribution by state
9. Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butter
The second peanut butter to make our list, Big Spoon Roasters makes handcrafted nut butters from scratch in Durham, North Carolina. A lifelong peanut butter lover, Mark Overbay started roasting nuts and grinding them in the fall of 2010. “Big Spoon” is a tribute to his dad, who bears the nickname and also loves peanut butter. We served up two flavors of Big Spoon: Peanut Pecan (in a sandwich with the One Screw Loose Balsamic Vinegar Jelly) and Peanut Cocoa, direct from a spoon. The cocoa got a few more votes and includes stone-ground chocolate. Mark suggests serving it over ice cream, but we can also see it in a pie or cookies (recipe below). $7-11 per jar from bigspoonroasters.com or click here for retail locations
10. Lauri Jo’s Strawberry Pepper Jelly
Preserving the South one jar at a time in South Georgia, Lauri Jo’s specializes in pepper jelly. Each batch is made by Lauri Jo herself, often with the help of her mother-in-law, and using her great-grandmother’s recipes. Her Strawberry Pepper Jelly is delicious over cream cheese, which is the way we served it, but Lauri Jo also recommends it on a turkey sandwich. $6.95 per jar on Shopify or click here for retail locations
A whole new style of condiment – and one we weren’t entirely sure about – Slawsa originated from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is based on a family recipe of Judson Odom. A unique mix of slaw and salsa, Slawsa is a great alternative for lovers of sauerkraut and works well in place of salsa. We served it with tortilla chips for tasting, but company partner Julie Busha recommends it atop hot dogs, as a sandwich spread or paired with pimento cheese. “Some of our friends in the South think that our consistency resembles a chow chow,” she says. “That is, until they taste how refreshingly different Slawsa is.” She’s absolutely right. It’s delicious. 6-pack case is $19.99 from www.slawsa.com or click here for store locations
12. Olive and Sinclair Buttermilk White Chocolate
The perfect end to our assortment, and yours too, Nashville’s Southern artisan chocolate company Olive and Sinclair’s latest creation is a Buttermilk White Chocolate bar. Made with creamy white chocolate that incorporates just a bit of bite from the buttermilk, this bar isn’t anything like you’ve had before. It also comes in a salt and pepper version, which we crumbled up and served in small wooden bowls. A whole bar or two would make the perfect stocking stuffer. $5.99 per bar from www.oliveandsinclair.com or click here for retail locations
Click here to see our album of tasting photos on Facebook.
Fischer & Wieser’s Sweet, Sour and Smokey Mustard Sauce Coleslaw
1 small head Savoy cabbage, shredded
1 cup very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup garlic-flavored salad croutons, ground fine
8 green onions, sliced thin, including green tops
1/2 cup Fischer & Wieser Sweet, Sour and Smokey Mustard Sauce
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Toss the shredded Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, ground croutons and green onions in a large bowl, blending well. In a separate bowl whisk together the mustard sauce, mayonnaise, Tabasco and black pepper until smooth. Stir the sauce mixture into the cabbage slaw with a large spoon until all dry ingredients are coated with the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 6-8.
Mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, egg and 1/2 jar of jelly well in oven-safe dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with remaining jelly and serve with crackers.
1-1/2 oz. Midnight Moon
Splash of dry vermouth
Shake with ice and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup (overflowing) Big Spoon Peanut Pecan Butter
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup rolled oats
Chocolate chunks (optional)
Toasted pecans (optional)
Mix the first three ingredients together until fluffy, then add the vanilla and egg. Mix well, then add the peanut butter. Mix at high speed before adding the dry ingredients. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt directly into the mixing bowl. Mix at high speed until well blended. Add the oats, and Whip it again in the mixer. Chocolate chunks or toasted pecan pieces can be added here if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes on foil-lined cookie sheets and and rotate them from the bottom shelf of the oven to a middle level halfway through.
Thanks & photo credits: Thanks to Zoom Photo Studio for hosting our tasteoff. Photos of sausage with sauces, shortbread cookies, jelly with cream cheese and hot dip by Travis Gauthier.
Nancy Staley / November 8, 2012
Cannot wait to try the peanut butter products and the buttermilk chocolate but I cannot agree more on Slawsa…how did we live without for so long? It’s a staple in our family…get mine at Kroger or Publix. Great deal for 6 though if you don’t have a store near you.
Melinda McGuire / November 8, 2012
Oh my goodness! I want one of each. 🙂
Beverly Shea / November 8, 2012
Some great products! Can’t wait to try several of these.