Georgia's Top 5 Must-Have Foods
Road trips can be inspired by everything from historical landmarks to family visits, and in Georgia's case, food! Georgia's diverse terrain, long growing seasons and long-standing culinary traditions make it a natural choice for a food-focused road trip vacation. Any trip to Georgia isn't complete without a stop to sample some (or all) of these five top must-have Southern classics.
Whether you like your peanuts ground into peanut butter, roasted in the shell, deep fried or boiled, Georgia’s official state crop is loved the world over. Any way they are prepared, peanuts are a fan favorite, with boiled peanuts being a Georgia favorite. What is a boiled peanut, you ask? It's a fresh peanut, still in its shell, boiled in a pot of highly seasoned water and served warm. Maybe it's their earthy taste, tender texture or the spices they're cooked in that make them so popular.
Georgia is affectionately known as The Peach State. Home cooks and chefs around the state use peaches in pies, jams, jellies, ice cream, and of course, peach cobbler. Sweet ripe peaches surrounded by thick syrup and a flaky crust will turn the heads of even the most diehard dieters.
Fried chicken is eaten around the world, but it’s been said that the best fried chicken is cooked (and eaten) in the South. Georgia tops the list for chicken that is tender and juicy inside, with a well-seasoned and crispy outside.
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Whether you like your fried chicken breaded, battered or just dredged in flour, you’ll love the fried chicken at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours in Atlanta. Try it for brunch with vanilla bean waffles and bourbon maple syrup for an extra special treat.
Georgia is the top pecan-producing state in the nation. What does that mean to you? Lots of pecan-laden goodies, like pecan pies, cookies, candy and even savory dishes like pecan-crusted catfish, turkey dressing laced with pecans, and believe it or not, hummus.
For those with a sweet tooth, River Street Sweets in Savannah should top your list of stops on your foodie road trip. Savannah’s oldest candy store offers its best-selling candy, the pecan praline. Made with only Georgia pecans, sugar, cream and butter, this candy is the perfect pecan lover's treat.
You can't call yourself a true lover of Southern cuisine unless you can make — or at least know where to buy — good pimento cheese spread. (Shopping tip: look for pimento cheese from Atlanta favorite Home Grown at Kroger, Target and on Amazon Fresh.) This roasted red pepper and cheese spread can be used as a dip for crackers, chips and veggies, spread on toast points or biscuits, and even turned into deviled eggs. It doesn’t matter how you enjoy your pimento cheese spread, so long as you do. Try my recipe for Hickory Smoked Pimento Cheese Stuffed Deviled Eggs (below), and cook like a true Georgian.
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Deviled Eggs
This Southern-inspired cheese spread is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, as a dip with fresh-cut veggies and the perfect deviled egg.
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields 4 dozen deviled eggs
2 dozen eggs
1 ½ cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup hickory smoked bacon, cooked and cut into ¼ pieces
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimento, drained
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup cooked hickory smoked bacon, crumbled
4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
24 fried popcorn shrimp
In a large sauce pan, place eggs in a single layer and cover with enough water that there's 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs.
Heat on medium high until water begins to boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute.
Remove the covered sauce pan from the heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.
Remove the eggs from the water, gently crack the egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water.
Blot the eggs dry with paper towels.
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place half of the yolks into a large bowl and all of the whites on a large serving platter. Save the remaining yolks for another recipe.
Mash the egg yolks into a fine crumble using the back of a dinner fork.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and using a rubber spatula mix until well combined.
Season to taste, with salt and black pepper.
Using a spoon or piping bag, evenly divide the deviled egg mixture into the egg whites.
Garnish with crispy bacon, scallions or fried popcorn shrimp.
You can also mix your pimento cheese spread with an electric mixer using the paddle attachment.