Northerners: Make this your shopping list the next time you're in our neck of the woods.
There are usually a few different jars of pickles rattling around in a Southerner’s refrigerator, from sweet bread and butter chips to tangy okra spears. If you like your pickles with a little kick, Wickles Pickles are brined with hot peppers and other spices.
2. Palmetto Cheese Spread
Homemade pimiento cheese is always best, of course, but sometimes a craving strikes and there’s no cheese grater in sight. Southern supermarkets stock all sorts of regional brands, but we like Palmetto Cheese Spread’s not-too-chunky, not-too-smooth texture and tangy flavor.
3. Ro-tel Tomatoes with Green Chilies
If you’re making queso, you need this stuff.
We're picky about our mayo, y'all. Southern mayonnaise brands like Duke’s tend to be a little tangier and looser in consistency than national brands like Hellmann’s and Miracle Whip. Whether you’re a fan of Bama, Blue Plate, or Duke’s, mayonnaise is a key component of many essential Southern recipes including pimiento cheese and Deviled eggs, and yes, the best chocolate cake ever.
5. Creole mustard
This coarsely ground, spicy mustard is a New Orleans sandwich staple. Also used to make Creole-style remoulade and mustard sauce, it packs a stronger punch than a traditional grainy mustard.
6. Barber’s buttermilk
The Southern Living Test Kitchen swears by Barber’s for any recipe that calls for buttermilk, including baked goods, marinades, and salad dressings. Our cooks say it has the best consistency and flavor, whether you're using whole buttermilk or low-fat.
Related: Our Best Buttermilk Biscuits
7. Blue Bell Ice Cream
This Texas-based ice cream company has earned a spot in freezers across the South for its rich and creamy texture and outrageously good flavors like Pecan Pralines n’ Cream and Coconut Fudge. Classic flavors have earned a devoted following as well. Once you’ve tried Blue Bell's Homemade Vanilla, you’ll never go back.
8. Wright Brand Bacon
There are lots of bacon brands out there, but Wright’s bacon has a good meat-to-fat ratio, just the right amount of smokiness, and cooks up nice and straight, thanks to the even, thick-cut slices.
9. White Lily Flour
Made from tender winter wheat, White Lily is the go-to flour for biscuit mavens across the South, including the Southern Living Test Kitchen. Bakers love this old-fashioned flour for its consistently tender results. Try it in our biscuit recipe and see for yourself.
Related: Taste of the South: Cheese Grits
10. Sorghum syrup
Whether drizzled on a biscuit, mixed in a cocktail, or whisked into a salad dressing, this rich, golden syrup has made a comeback throughout the U.S. (Although, to Southerners, it never went out of fashion.) Regional varieties, which are worth seeking out, are available online and at farmers’ markets and better grocery stores. We like Muddy Pond, which is made in Tennessee.
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12. Topo Chico Agua Mineral
Yes, we know this sparkling water is produced in Mexico. But it has a cult-like following in Texas that has slowly spread throughout the South. Fans love Topo Chico’s bracingly crisp bubbles, which are so refreshing on a hot day.