Need help in finding that perfect little piece of South Carolina to give your friends and relatives? Have we got a list for you!
We've scoured the state, looking for gifts that celebrate all the wonderful things about South Carolina. Here's a list of items that might be just right for your favorite food-lover.
Give a cookbook and maybe you'll get to test some of the recipes. Several South Carolina authors have published cookbooks in the past several years:
"Southern Biscuits" by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Stevens Graubart. Dupree, of Charleston, has written about 11 Southern cookbooks, and any one of them would make a fine gift. You can find it at many local bookstores or kitchen shops, including Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston and Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island. You can order an autographed copy through her website. It's also available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
"Glass Onion Classics: Recipes from a Southern Restaurant" by Sarah O'Kelley. Since O'Kelley, Charles Vincent and Chris Stewart opened the Glass Onion restaurant in Charleston in spring 2008, it has earned a reputation for delicious fresh food. This paperback includes not only great recipes but also profiles of some of the farmers, fishermen and others that she says inspire the restaurant. Go visit the restaurant to buy one or buy it online from restaurant. It's also available at Amazon.
"Gullah Cuisine: By Land and by Sea" (Evening Post Publishing, 2010) by Charlotte Jenkins. This gem of a cookbook is packed with recipes for the kinds of delicious foods. But it's also a beautiful cookbook, with colorful art throughout of prominent South Carolina artist Jonathan Green. You can buy the cookbook online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Either of the Lee Brothers' cookbooks, "The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook" (Norton, 2006) or "The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern" (Clarkson Potter, 2009). Both are excellent books that are as fun to read as they are to cook from. Matt and Ted Lee's first cookbook was the 2007 James Beard Cookbook of the Year. Order autographed copies on the Lee Brothers' website. You'll also find this cookbook in many book and cooking stores, as well as online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Fill a pretty basket or bowl with Southern specialties. Here are some things I'd love to find under my tree:
- A jar of marinated feta cheese with sundried tomatoes and your choice of black and green olives from Split Creek Farm in Anderson. This is so delicious I eat it from the jar. The goat cheeses from this farm have won numerous national competitions, and you'll understand why when you taste it.
- Honey from South Carolina. Fortunately for all of us who love food, a number of beekeepers in the state supply us with honey. The bees, of course, play a vital role in much of food we eat. You can find many brands of South Carolina honey at gourmet shops or farmers markets. Some of the beekeepers are Carolina Honeybees Farm in Pickens; BeeWell Honey Farm, which has a market in Pickens; and Bell Honey in Rembert.
- Any of the delicious Sallie's Greatest herbal fruit jams. These come in such yummy flavors such as strawberry and basil, peach and mint, and fig, sweet onion and rosemary. Some flavors are delicious on breads, and others are perfect for spreading on cream cheese as an appetizer. You can buy Sallie's Finest in shops across the state; check locations on her website. You also can order on her website.
- Biscuits from Callie's Charleston Biscuits. The mother-daughter team of Callie White and Carrie Morey behind Callie's Charleston Biscuits has been getting rave reviews across the country. The biscuits are made by hand and then frozen; all you have to do is heat and serve. You can get buttermilk biscuits, county ham biscuits, cinnamon biscuits and more. Retailers are listed by state on the website; in South Carolina, you can find them at some gourmet shops, including Ted's Butcherblock and Caviar and Bananas in Charleston and The Gourmet Shop in Columbia. Also, many Piggly Wiggly stores carry the biscuits. You can also order on the company's website.
- Slatherin' Sauce. This concoction cooked up by Robin Rhea of Charleston is a blend of ketchup, honey, pineapple, crushed red peppers, garlic and spices. She recommends using it on almost any food that needs to be livened up. In addition to Piggly Wiggly stores, you can buy it at many specialty shops across the stay. There's a list on the website.
- Mother Shucker's Cocktail Sauce.When Mary Sparrow's son opened an oyster bar, the Oyster Bar in Columbia, she whipped up some cocktail sauce for him, and a new business was born. It's delicious with oysters and other seafoods. Check her website for a long list of places across the state to buy it, or go by the Oyster Bar in the Vista.
- Pecans or pecan candies. At least two South Carolina companies sell pecans and all types of delicious pecan candies - like chocolate pecan caramel clusters or chocolate pecans. Golden Kernel Pecan Co. is in Cameron and Young Plantations is in Florence. Both have stores and you can buy online.
- A bottle of cider. Carolina Cider Company in Yemassee sells cider in lots of flavors - apple, of course, but also blackberry, red cherry, blueberry, strawberry, peach and muscadine. This neat country store also sells jams, jellies and preserves.
- Grits or rice. No South Carolina food basket would be complete without a bag of grits or rice, or both. Anson Mills is a company you'll see listed on the menus of many of the finest restaurants in the state. Founder Glenn Roberts has been trying to restore almost extinct varieties of corn for milling into grits. Anson doesn't have a retail operation, but online you can buy several types of grits, Carolina Gold rice, Sea Island red peas and more. You can buy Carolina Plantation Rice, which is grown in Darlington, at stores and shops all over the state. See the website for a list of retailers or to order online.
Cakes or Pies
OK, maybe it won't fit into a basket or a bowl, but this is perfect for the person who has everything. There are bakeries all over the state that make fine cakes and pies. A few of the specialty shops are the pies of Laurel Goodman sold at Carolina Cider Company in Yemassee or Daisy Cakes, which has been featured on "Shark Tank." Daisy Cakes, which is in Pauline near Spartanburg, ships delicious cakes, including gingerbread cakes for the holidays, all over the country.
Whether a great cook wants to improve or a novice needs to learn the basics, cooking classes could be a great gift. Here are some places that offer lessons: Abingdon Manor near Florence and Let's Cook Culinary Studio in Columbia. Also, if there is a technical college near you, check to see if they offer any short-term classes through a culinary program.
Carolina Oyster Knife
You need the right tool to break into these treasures of the sea, and the Carolina Oyster Knife, made in Greenville, does the job. You'll find them at many seafood markets, (they're the ones with the blue handles) including Huff's in James Island, where they're priced at $5.99. The company only sells wholesale, so unless you need 144 oyster knives, check your local markets. The company website also directs you to other places to order online.
Restaurant Gift Certificate
Nothing could be easier to give, and a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant will be especially appreciated during the busy holiday season.