Monday, May 31, 2010

We All Cheer for Cheerwine!

After living in North Carolina for three years, I’m becoming familiar with some local specialties. I had enjoyed boiled peanuts in Florida and was thrilled to see them here as well. I love sweet tea. Thanks to Matt and Ted Lee for recommending Duke’s mayonnaise. Cherry Lemon Sun Drop took some time, but it too has grown on me. As has Cheerwine.

Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soda that was first bottled in 1917. Rowan County, NC, has the highest consumption of Cheerwine. Since it’s a native of Rowan County, that’s really no surprise. I wouldn’t say that Cheerwine tastes like cherry soda. The flavor is hard to describe, so I will go with cherryesque. Once you get accustomed to it, it’s quite enjoyable. Since I live in Rowan County, I frequently run into items made with Cheerwine, most notably Cheerwine slush and Cheerwine cake. The best product that I’ve discovered, however, is the Cheerwine truffle.

Carla and Mark Whaley are the owners of Carla Anne’s Homestyle Cookies in Spencer, NC. After passing Mark and Carla’s booth at any number of the farmer’s markets I’ve been to, I stopped in. The Cheerwine truffles caught my eye. $3 for four truffles? That’s a steal. LA eyed them ominously, but took one anyway. The center of the truffle is a very moist red cake, almost like red velvet, but with the cherryesque flavor of Cheerwine. These are then coated with white or milk chocolate. I inhaled mine. Carla explained that she was asked to come up with the truffles and a barbecue cookie (I didn’t ask) for the Salisbury Rowan Cultural Arts Festival. Cheerwine syrup is purchased directly from the Carolina Bottling Company for the truffles, which gives it a stronger flavor than using a can of the soda. If you’re listening, Cheerwine, you should definitely endorse this product!

Carla and Mark moved here about a year ago from Modesto, CA. They had wanted to get their bakery up and running there, but, as anyone who’s ever met a Californian knows, California certainly loves the regulations. I’m glad they moved here. I wouldn’t have known the joy of the Cheerwine truffle otherwise!

Carla Anne’s sells a number of baked goods, as well, such as cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. I’ve had the chocolate chip cookie. It’s moist, as a good chocolate chip cookie should be. Carla and Mark attend all of the markets in the area—Kannapolis, Winecoff School Rd, China Grove, and Salisbury, and they have a schedule on their website. You actually have to try not to run into them somewhere. You can’t miss their booth—they have a giant banner that says Carla Anne’s. They also have samples of some the cookies and brownies. Definitely buy some of the truffles. If you’re not a fan of Cheerwine now, you will be after you’ve eaten just one of the truffles.

P.S. The Cheerwine website is awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment