Taking in the colorful leaves or doing a little wine tasting in north Georgia? You’ll want to check out these items for your pantry.
Unicoi Preserves Georgia Vineyard Fire Spread
In 2014, Suzy and Clark Neal started their company, Unicoi Preserves, in Sautee-Nacoochee, right in the middle of north Georgia’s wine country. These small batch preserves makers specialize in fruit spreads which are sweet but not too sweet. And they frequently incorporate a little heat into their spreads. We tried the Georgia Vineyard Fire Spread, made with Georgia-grown Chambourcin grapes from nearby Habersham Winery. The Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid that grows pretty well here and produces rose and red wines that are labeled “boisterous” and “peppery.” The Neals match it with a bit of jalapeno and lemon to make a spread that’s got a bit of heat and a bit of acid. Open the jar and the aroma is very wine-like, with a definite jalapeno undertone. Their Apple Cider Pepper Spread was a 2015 Flavor of Georgia finalist and their Salted Caramel Peach Spread is probably their best seller. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
$5.50 per 4-ounce jar. Available at the Habersham Winery in Helen, Buford Highway Farmers Market in Doraville and And That! in Kennesaw. unicoipreserves.com
Hughes Pure North Georgia Sorghum Syrup
Up in Young Harris, the Hughes family has been growing sorghum and making syrup from it since 1954. Sorghum syrup is often called “mountain gold,” a tribute to how well it grows on Southern mountainsides. It was the primary sweetener for Southerners before the late 1940s when refined sugar became more widely available. The nickname is also a tribute to the syrup’s rich golden color. Small scale producers like the Hughes have been keeping the tradition of syrup making alive and more and more you’re seeing chefs putting sorghum grain and sorghum syrup on their menus. Use the Hughes’ syrup anywhere you’d use honey or maple syrup, and as you enjoy it, thank the Hughes for all the work of harvesting and pressing the sorghum cane and boiling down the juice to make this thick, golden syrup.
$9.99 per 16-ounce jar. You can buy it at the farm at 2074 Hughes Road, Young Harris. Or at Jaemor Farms in Alto, Striplings General Store in Bogart, Farmview Market in Madison, and R & A Orchards, Penland’s Apple House and Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay. gafarmtrail.com/item/hughes-sorghym-syrup-mill
Hillside Orchard Farms Miss Davie’s Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue sauce abounds with dozens of varieties on your grocer’s shelves and every barbecue joint in Georgia boasting about its very special sauce. We were up near Lake Rabun recently and stopped at Hillside Orchard Farms for a frozen apple cider to fuel our mountain scenery viewing. While there, we browsed the shelves and picked up a big bottle of Miss Davie’s Barbecue Sauce. We’re so glad we did. This is barbecue sauce made just as we like it. It’s thick, it’s sweet and it’s got plenty of black pepper. The story goes that for many years Miss Davie made big batches of this sauce for the annual campground barbecue at Trinity United Methodist Church in Durand. Miss Davie was the mother of Robert Mitcham, who along with his wife Patsy started Hillside Orchard Farms in 1980. Miss Davie died in 1986, but her family continues to make the sauce in the same way she did and now it’s available for us to purchase. $4.75 per 12-ounce bottle, $8.99 per 32-ounce bottle. Hillside Orchard Farms, 18 Sorghum Mill Drive, Lakemont. 706-782-2776. Or order online at hillsideorchardsfarms.net.