Made in the South Awards
2011 Food Category
The 2011 award winners prove the best things are made in Dixie
Photo: Stacy Newgent
Food Category Winner
Charleston Beverage Company
Charleston entrepreneur Ryan Eleuteri credits the genesis of his Charleston Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary Mix to a hangover. “My roommate and I had a bunch of fun one Saturday night, and the next morning we went to the store looking for Zing Zang,” he remembers. “They were out, so we tried to make our own.” Six months of trial and error later, Eleuteri was serving his first batches at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. “We did okay, but for people who were Bloody Mary drinkers, the sweetness of our original recipe was not appealing.” Undeterred, Eleuteri started over. His second attempt added complex layers to the typical combination of tomato, Worcestershire, and pepper. “The biggest difference in the new one is that it has a beef and vegetable base, I used sea salt, and I used a habanero mash with more subtlety to it,” he says. The pursuit of perfect ingredients wasn’t lost on Made in the South Awards judge and James Beard Award winner Sean Brock. “As soon as I tasted the mix, I could taste the hard work that went into developing the flavor,” Brock says. “Last year I spent a week straight trying to get the Husk Bloody Mary right. It’s no easy feat. He nailed it.”
Food Category Runners-Up
Red Truck Bakery
Southern chefs across America will wish they’d thought of Sweet Potato Bourbon Pecan Pie, the latest recipe from sweets guru Brian Noyes at Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia. A combination of two of the South’s iconic desserts, Noyes’s confection is made from equal parts Rappahannock County, Virginia, sweet potatoes and Southampton County pecans mixed with cream, butter, eggs, bourbon-smoked sugar, and a splash of Weller bourbon. What does that all add up to? A very happy ending to any holiday meal.
Alabama’s Belle Chevre creamery is bringing foodies a reason to get up in the morning: sweet spreads made from mild and creamy chèvre blended with fresh figs, cinnamon, honey, or coffee. “The idea for our breakfast cheese was inspired by the French tradition of stirring honey and preserves into fromage blanc at breakfast,” says Belle Chevre owner Tasia Malakasis, who counts everyone from her local sheriff to cheese whiz Max McCallum among her fans. Try this combo meal: warm croissant, fig chèvre, and coffee.
Délicieux. $7; bellechevre.com