Blackberry Patch



Tonight, I'm having dinner with my friend Nan Myers, owner of Firefly, based in Thomasville, Georgia. That got me thinking of my favorite jams, salsas and syrups, also from Thomasville. At Blackberry Patch, they make the most delicious small batch, edible concoctions. And I'm not alone in my adoration. Oprah Winfrey just picked Blackberry Patch's syrups as one of her favorite finds for 2014. Impressive...  
 

Founded in 1988, this company has grown to offer over 60 different products. Their success can be contributed to their commitment in utilizing real, local fruits and following time-honored southern techniques and family recipes.

If you're not convinced to try one of their tasty toppings, their recommended list of recipes may convert you. These include Turkey, Cheddar and Apple Butter Sandwiches, a Maple Praline Smoothie or Mayhaw Glazed Pecans. It's all just so good. Peruse their online shop to pick a favorite... 

 

Images: Blackberry Patch


Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon

As my fabulous longtime friend, Jeff Santiago is in town for the night from Asheville (we went to the Falcons/Jets game last night. He's a die hard Jets fan, bless his heart), it's only right that I blog about Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, also from Asheville. This above is their Peach 'Shine Jam, made with Troy & Sons Moonshine, also from Asheville. It can be served with cheese, biscuits, your favorite dessert or my preference, a cocktail. Yum...

What's wonderful about the folks behind Copper Pot is they harvest their fruits locally from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Everything looks so scrumptious - like the Strawberry Rhubarb jam and Red pepper & Peach jam, above. 

Spiced Apple and Beer Jam? Ah, yes please... This incredible jam, which is perfect for autumn, is made with local Haywood County Apples and handcrafted beer via Waynesville's Frog Level Brewing Co.

They also make pickled things- which I'm always a fan of. This includes asparagus, green beans and garlic or spicy jalapeno pickles. 

Their Honeyed Citrus Marmalade is made with seasonal Red Grapefruit and Navel Oranges and of course, Carolina Honey. It's tangy, sweet and addictive. 

I'm loving what Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon is all about. Peruse their entire shop of local, tasty goodness here.

 

Photos: Copper Pot Traditions     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Gift Sets

They say it's better to give than to receive...which is especially true with this box of manly goodies. Guys tend not to buy the best skin care products so make it easy for them with this Shaving Gift Package from Prospector Co. in Savannah, Georgia. It includes a rag soak, shaving oil, shave creme and aftershave. ($60) 

Another great option is their Sampler Pack, which includes beard oil, shaving oil, aftershave splash, shaving and absinthium cream. ($48) 

Who knew with a bit of vodka, juniper berries, spices and botanicals, you can craft your own gin at home? This Homemade Gin Kit is a fun gift that comes via some creative folks in northern Virginia. 

Each kit contains enough ingredients to make two bottles of handcrafted gin. As stated on their site, users "have reported that their small batches rival the mass produced, store bought gin brands in aromatics, flavor and complexity." ($80)  

The quick way to any man's heart is food. So may I suggest a gift set from one of my favorite people in the world, Emily Myers. She crafts the best jams and sauces. And I love her suggestion of combining Almond Butter with her Peach Marmalade Jam to make PB & J Wings. Wings and football sounds very Manly Monday...

Click here for the Almond Butter and Jam gift set ($33) or here for your favorite mix of three ($30) or two. ($24). And it's hard not to please any man's taste, as you'll have 21 options of jams and sauces to choose from- which include Peach Ginger Hot Sauce, Strawberry Chipotle and Berbere Sauce.  

 

Photos: Prospector Co., Homemade Gin Co., Sweet Peach    Content: Sweet Peach


Sweet Grass Dairy + Emily G's

I recently had the honor of a special taste testing of Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and Emily G's jams a few weeks back at The Family Dog in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta. For those not yet in the know, Sweet Grass Dairy is situated in southern Georgia and makes incredibly delicious cow's milk cheese. They utilize New Zealand style rotational grazing, as the cows are moved every 12-24 hours to feast on various Georgia grasses.

Their most versatile cheese, the Thomasville Tomme is made in the style of a French mountain Pyreneese Tomme. As stated on their site, "The higher butterfat milk provides this cheese with smooth, rich and buttery characteristics. It's finish is tangy and slightly salty."  

I love to add a little something to cheese and Emily Myers' line of bold and tasty jams bring instant gastronomic happiness. Emily is one of my favorite people in the world, made better by her culinary savviness, witty banter and love of a good cocktail. Her Bold Blue is made with blueberries plus an added kick of chilli pepper, cumin and a touch of cayenne. Bold, sweet, surprising- I'd say that's much like Em herself.

The Georgia Gouda (right) is buttery and creamery and works well served with an Imperial Stout or a big American Porter. The Tomme cheese (left) goes beautifully with a Pale Ale or a glass of Pinot Noir...

I love the Sweet Grass Asher Blue cheese. It has an incredible flavor- part earthy, part sweet. It's distinction lies in its mild finish and is a cheese that must be tried. 

I could feast on cheese and jam all day! A big thank you to Emily, Mat of Sweet Grass and the owners of Family Dog- such a fun outing for an afternoon. Click here to learn more about Sweet Grass and here for Emily's jams, sauces and seasonings.

In honor of cheese, may I suggest you take a trip to Nashville this weekend for their annual Southern Artisan Cheese Festival. Both Emily G's and Sweet Grass will be there, as well as Manyfold Farm, Pine Street Market and a host of others. You'll find over 20 artisanal cheesemakers from the southeast as well as the creators of the South's tastiest chocolate, cured meats, jams, pickles and breads. Sounds like heaven...

Buy tickets here, before they sell out! 

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach  (First pic via Sweet Grass Dairy) 


Emily G's

Fresh baked bread and homemade jam is a nice way to start the morning. For Emily Myers, that's just another typical day in her household. She's the mastermind behind Emily G's, a scrumptious line of jams and sauces that are packed with flavor, texture, depth and pure deliciousness. 

The first thing you notice when you meet Emily inside her home kitchen in Dunwoody, Georgia, is that she's serious about food. Everything is organized and tidy, yet there is a lot going on. Perhaps most of which is in her head. When she's creating new recipes, she's in her zone; mixing and tasting, refining and fixing. As she shared with me, "Food drives me. I love food. I dream in food." I believe her. 

Less than a month ago, Emily introduced new packaging and some brand new flavors to her popular jam lineup of 14 flavors, like Peach Marmalade, Fig Pomegranate and Blackberry Vanilla. She also sells three delicious sauces and an incredible crunchy and chunky Three Pepper Relish.  

I went to an Emily G. tasting last week and I have to say my two favorites were these bottom two, Jalapeno Raspberry and Peach Marmalade. I loved the spicy kick of the jalapenos, which are grown locally in Georgia, and the Peach Marmalade tasted so fruity and dense, I just couldn't stop eating it. In her Cheese Pairings section on her website, Emily suggests pairing the Peach Marmalade with Brie cheese and the Jalapeno Raspberry with Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese or Brie. Yummy...

The new product Emily is most excited about is her Berbere Sauce. Berbere is a spice mixture that you often see in Ethiopian and Eritrean cooking that, as she states on her site, "has notes of clove, coriander, nutmeg and cadramom." It's described as the African Mole sauce and as she said to me, "You can put it on everything, from scrambled eggs to pork or fish." 

Jam is Emily's specialty and so is quality control. As she shared, "As my company grows, the quality of the product cannot change from when I first made it in my kitchen." She adds, "It's a reflection of me and if it's not the highest quality possible, then I just can't have it." Her recipes, which all start in her kitchen, are now made and bottled close by in Statesboro, Georgia. 

Emily is a Southern chef. Her mom was raised in Mobile, Alabama and everyone in her family is from Alabama. She has fond memories of picking figs at her grandfather's house and eating lots of grits and drinking too much sweet tea as a kid. Emily loves the authenticity of the South. As she shared, "Southern cooking is based on the heart. It's about making people feel loved and special at the table. It's about heritage, sharing and tradition." I think all of these reasons are why the South is the new hot spot to watch in the culinary world. 

 

On the day I visited with Emily, she was creating new spice blends like Tuscan, Mojito, Smoked Salt and Chocolate Espresso. These are still in the development stage but she hopes to have them on the shelves very soon. The best part is I know Emily is going to keep on creating delicous new foods and toppings day after day. It's in her blood. As she said, "Cooking is what heals me. It's my therapy. It grounds and inspires me. I need it." That's good news for all of us. See all of her tasty creations here, including the local retailers of her products, now in 23 states and Washington DC. Thank you Emily, we feel the love in every bite...

 

Photos: Sweet Peach   Product shots against white: Cortni   Content: Sweet Peach