Whether you live far away or down the street from mom and dad, there’s nothing that creates the warm feelings of the holidays quite like a taste of home.
Alabama-made food and beverages have long been popular Christmas gifts. And these days, tried and true favorites share shelf space with newer flavors.
“Alabama’s makers are incredibly talented, and they excel in a wide range of fields,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This includes foods and beverages that are made in Alabama and represent some of the best products that can be found anywhere.”
As part of the 2019 Made in Alabama Holiday Gift Guide, here’s a list of those tasty products offered by farmers, chefs, brewers and entrepreneurs across the state.
Brothers Brandon and Jordan Greer’s search for a fun snack for their family has become a growing business that is stretching across the Southeast.
They created a standout snack that’s popped the old-fashioned way, in a kettle filled with hot oil and pure cane sugar. Then it’s mixed with other ingredients, with flavors that include Heavenly Cake, Cookies and Cream, Cinnamon Roll and Smokin’ White Cheddar.
Gadsden-based Kettle Brothers treats can be found in stores all over Alabama and in surrounding states.
These treats are also made the old-fashioned way, slow cooked in a copper kettle and stirred with a wooden paddle.
Christie and Patrick Jamison began selling the caramels – made from the milk of goats on their farm – at an Alexander City farmer’s market five years ago. Today, the business has grown into sales across the U.S. and a variety of flavors such as Sea Salt Pecan and Southern Peach.
Over the years, Montgomery’s Fox Point Farm has expanded its lineup of products made with goat milk to soaps, essential oil sprays and a creamy caramel sauce called Cajeta.
This bottled water comes from a centuries-old natural spring known as “The Great Blue Spring of Blount County.”
It’s a stunning blue-green pool that has generated stories of healing properties among locals and travelers to the area for generations. A small bottling operation was started 20 years ago, and it was expanded in 2017 when former filmmaker Cameron Cardwell took over the operation in Blountsville.
Blue Spring has a notable clean water pedigree. It has a neutral pH balance, and it comes through limestone aquifers that are naturally enriched with magnesium, calcium and silica, just like the world’s healthiest waters on record.
This won’t exactly fit under the tree, but a delivery of fresh seafood is the perfect gift for those who crave a taste of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Billy’s Seafood is a market that has been doing business in Bon Secour for nearly 45 years, serving up local catches like snapper, mahi, crab and more.
“If It Swims, We’ve Got It,” is the motto at Billy’s, and thanks to overnight and second-day air delivery, you can get a plate of Alabama oysters or Royal Red Shrimp for faraway loved ones.
Need sweets for a sweet tooth? The Birmingham Candy Company can help you with that sugar fix.
2019 has been a big year for the company, which opened a store in downtown Birmingham at the Pizitz Food Hall, an innovative lineup of culinary adventures from Ethiopian fare to chicken and waffles.
Birmingham Candy uses local ingredients to handcraft chocolates, caramel apples, candied nuts and other treats.
Folklore Brewing & Meadery is helping pioneer the modern-era brewing industry in southeast Alabama.
With beer names like Front Porch Ale, Snipe Hunt IPA and Wiregrass Wheat, the brewery also pays homage to its rural Southern roots.
It’s on an old family farm with a tasting room that has more than 14 varieties of beer and eight or more house-made meads to sample and order. Two years ago, a 5,000-square-foot annex doubled the size of the operation and added a new brew system, fermenters and tanks and an in-house canning line.
No Alabama-themed food list is complete without a nod to barbecue, and there are plenty of distinct options to choose from.
There are the tangy white mayonnaise-based sauces, along with vinegar-based and mustard varieties and the more traditional reds. Buy a bottle of your favorite or buy several different ones in a gift basket offered by Homewood retailer Alabama Goods.
And if you think Alabama barbecue is only a big thing inside the state, think again.
Consider the success of food celebrities like Chris Lilly, world champion barbecue pitmaster from Big Bob Gibson in Decatur and an award-winning chef and author. Lilly travels all over the U.S. for cooking contests, TV shows and other culinary events, where he rubs shoulders with a who’s who list of Food Network stars.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.