Some holiday food traditions you want to whip up by hand, like a party-size batch of your grandmother’s milk punch or enough of your great aunt’s bourbon balls to feed the neighborhood. (And in case you’re in need of a tried-and-true recipe, try ours here and here.) But sometimes during the rush of the holidays, it pays to have someone else do the work for you—particularly if that someone is a talented Southern cook who will ship something special to your front door.
With the help of these mail-order goodies, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time by the punch bowl with family and friends.
Congaree and Penn Mayhaw Jelly
The Florida farmers at Congaree and Penn are carrying on a centuries-old tradition with their bright red mayhaw jelly. Records show that regional cooks have been putting up the tiny crab apples that grow in the swampy lower South since as early as the 1600s. Sweet and a little bit tart, the jelly was originally used in game dishes, but goes with hot biscuits just as well.
Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.
These ready-to-bake buttermilk biscuits took top honors at the 2015 International Biscuit Festival. Hand-rolled- and -cut before being vacuum-sealed, the fluffy breakfast favorites can go straight from the freezer to the oven. If you don’t tell your guests they’re not homemade, we won’t either. (Note: If you live in D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, you can order online, here. Otherwise, try your local Whole Foods or Harris Teeter.)
Milton’s Local Sausage
With ingredients from nearly thirty multigenerational family farms in North Carolina and Virginia, Milton’s two types of sausage—bell pepper and onion; chipotle and cilantro—are made with a blend of pork and hickory-smoked bacon. If you want to go ahead and check your Christmas morning meal off your to-do list entirely, order the “Breakfast Bucket,” which comes with two packs of link sausage, thick-cut bacon, waffle mix, coffee, and syrup.
Sweet Grass Dairy
Putting together a standout cheese board for your holiday party is as easy as ordering the “Taste of Thomasville” bin from Sweet Grass Dairy, which arrives complete with crackers, jam, and three of the dairy’s award-winning cheeses: Thomasville Tomme (a semi-soft, French-style table cheese), Asher Blue (a Georgia-take on the pungent classic), and Green Hill (a Camembert-like double cream).
Del Viejo Salsa
This handmade salsa, which gets its unique heat from the rare datil pepper (the golden fruit grows exclusively in St. Augustine, Florida), will keep hungry houseguests happy all season long.
Iva Jean’s Fudge
Every year, Iva Jean made her signature fudge to sell at the church holiday bazaar in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Today, her daughter Debra carries on the tradition. Using as many local and organic ingredients as possible, Debra crafts this rich, creamy fudge and pours it into eight-to-ten ounce tins that’ll slip right into stockings.
Seersucker Candy Co.
These throwback sweets from the same creative confectioners behind Nashville’s Olive & Sinclair Chocolate include a riff on a Southern bourbon ball called muzzle loaders, and cherry bombs, a twist on an old-fashioned cordial with pickled Maraschino cherries covered in buttermilk fondant and dark chocolate.
Although these handmade cookies come in sixteen Southern flavors, including Butter Pecan, Tupelo Honey, and Tennessee Whiskey, among others, the Classic Shortbread, which is still made from same forty-one-year-old family recipe, remains Willa’s bestseller—and is the perfect Christmas treat. Or order a tin of the Hot Cheddar biscuits if you prefer savory over sweet.
Loose Sugar Bakery Pralines
Using Washington County, Georgia, pecans, Loose Sugar’s mini pralines—about the size of a silver dollar—are made the old-fashioned way; that means no preservatives. Each bag contains six individually wrapped pralines. In other words, a single serving.