Heidi Billotto

Make Mine Local

Six local products from across the Carolina prove how very easy it is to Eat Local and help support local economies.

In some cases, these products also support local communities in the process. Keep these six staples in you pantry, your fridge and your freezer and enjoy them in a myriad of ways all summer through.

I was delighted to share the scoop on these tasty GotToBeNC and Certified SC summer snacks on a recent broadcast of WCNC’s Charlotte Today.

In case you missed it you can watch the video here. Then, read on for all the delicious details. Stay tuned for more in the days and weeks ahead as I post recipes for several of these great ways to Eat Local.

Alley Twenty Six Tonic Syrup, handcrafted in Durham NC by Behind The Stick Provisions Company



This delicious handcrafted syrup makes it super simple to make your own tonic water. Its a great way to take your bartending skills the next level. Talk about upping the recipe for your favorite summertime cocktails! Just add sparking water and the booze of your choice.

Or, on its own it also makes a mean marinade and a super delicious salad dressing!  No artificial flavors just real cinchona bark (the plant that quinine comes from), lemon grass, lime juice, sugar and water.

The recipe for this cocktail mixer turned multi-purpose ingredient was first developed by Rob Mariani when he was the bartender at Alley Twenty Six bar in Durham NC.

Stay tuned for several cocktail recipes and one for my favorite Alley Twenty Six Tonic Syrup marinade recipe, plus all the where to buy info in a follow up post – see details below.

Carolina Kettle Chips – Raleigh NC 

This is the perfect salty snack from summer and a local food that gives back to the community! Not only are these delicious crispy chips in a half dozen or so flavors, but for every bag you buy, a contribution of 5 or 10 cents ( depending on the size of the bag) is donated to a Raleigh NC food bank.

Its the perfect reason to eat these delicious small batch chips with every meal. In Charlotte Carolina Kettle Chips are available at lots of specialty shops and restaurants. Yesterday I shopped local when I stopped for lunch at Roots Cafe Just off of South Blvd. As if they knew I was in the chip buying mode, Roots’ order of Carolina Kettle Chips had just arrived. I can tell you with certainty, they have every flavor!

Cape Fear Pirate Candy Candy Jalapenos, Banana Peppers and Bacon Salsa – Wilmington NC


I first discovered these sweet and spicy beauties when I was on a run to check out new area restaurants for one of my Hidden Gem Restaurant Roundups. My stop: The Po Boy Restaurant in Clover, SC which is located next door to its sister establishment, Saltwater Market. Both places are located in a strip at 733 Bethel Street in Clover, SC. And they have a second location of Saltwater Market in Gastonia on New Hope Road.

In addition to a wonderful seafood selection at Saltwater, they also have a host of local Certified South Carolina and Got To Be NC North Carolina product. Among the bags and boxes of local eats, you’ll find jars of Cape Fear Pirate Candy Candied Jalapenos. Wow!

Pair the Candied Jalapenos with a jar of Candied Banana Peppers and a Candied Jalapeno Bacon Salsa and you’ve got a trio of condiments, sure to make your summer sweet and spicy!

Clemson’s Best Gourmet Ice Cream – From Clemson SC

If you’ve read many of my Eat Local |Drink Local pieces through the year, you know that I’ve written quite a bit about Clemson Blue Cheese and Hickory Hill Milk. The former doesn’t happen without the latter, as the contented cows from Hickory Hill Milk in Edgefield SC produce the milk that makes the cheese.

And now, from the the same cream-top milk, I bring you the sweet news of Clemson’s Best Ice Cream. Grab a spoon and dig in on the fun!

Available in 4 flavors, with a 5th on the line, all from local South Carolina farm families… who grow strawberries, peaches and pecans. In and around Charlotte, Clemson’s Best Ice Creams are available at all area Ingles stores.

All of these South Carolina farmers – from Hickory Hill Milk, Yon Farms, Titan Farms, McLeod Farms – are Clemson grads and this “Nothing Skinny ’bout It” ice cream is a wonderful way for them to give back and help future farmers get a leg up.

The sugar on top of the sweet here, is that 10% of the proceeds of each ice cream purchase go to fund campus programs, internships, scholarships for the students in the College of Agriculture at Clemson University.

Cloister Honey – Charlotte NC

Cloister Honey was in my very first Eat Local round up. Since that time this local Charlotte “Mom and Pop”, owned by my friends Joanne de la Rionda and Randall Young, is all grown up. Cloister Honey is now available in 40+ states across the country! Randall works the bees. It’s a hobby turned profession, that started in 2006. Joanne thought Randall needed something to do with his spare time and gave him a bee box.

The team at Cloister Honey has lots of new on market with cutting edge blends you will love. Can’t wait to write about all that is new, up and coming; but that’s a blog post for another day.

Suffice to say that Joanne, the mastermind behind each and every flavor and infused blend, is working overtime.

Right now I am loving the trio they debuted this spring! Say hello to Cloister Honey’s new Lemon Ginger, Turmeric and Matcha honey. Good and good for you, too!

Each variety of Cloister Honey – from the original wildflower to the popular whipped cinnamon – is available at specialty shops and grocers. Lots of area chefs feature it as well. That includes this new trio of flavors.

You can also order directly from the website. For more info visit them there. If you stay on the site for anytime at all, a little customer service icon pops up for a  chat. You will see Randall’s head pop up in the window – yes, its really him! #TellHimHeidiSentYou

Carmoolita from Looking Glass Creamery in Columbus NC – tasting room in Fairview NC

I first touched on our final product today when I did my cheese roundup earlier this year.

It is the perfect go-to to serve with summertime sweets. And this time, I wanted to give it its own little spotlight.  

This is a delicious small batch hand crafted Dulce de Leche. It’s made from local cows milk – the same milk that goes into all of the cheeses at Looking Glass Creamery.

It is THE perfect condiment to a summer peach cobbler. Of course you must add vanilla or peach ice cream (just pick your favorite Clemson’s Best Ice Cream here.) Or drizzle it over any sort of baked goods, fresh fruit or yogurt!

Want more local in your life?

Simply follow my social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But first, subscribe to follow HeidiBillottoFood.com now by typing in your email in the box at the top right hand corner of the home page at my blog.

Stay tuned for several sister versions of this same post with recipes ( including the one for the peach cobbler pictured above) and additional photos. Plus, I’ll also bee ( pun intended) sharing details on how you can have a signature bee box for one of the hives at Cloister Honey – its all the buzz.

Then go and get each of these products for yourself and get one of each for a friend so that all can enjoy a taste of local throughout the summer season. #TellThemHeidiSentYou


  1. Guess what would be delicious? Looking Glass Carmoolita in Dulce de Leche French Toast! Recipe in “Morning in the Mountains” cookbook from the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association.

    1. Oh my goodness, yes! I will most certainly be sharing that in tomorrow’s follow up post!

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