Food + Drink + Small Business = three of my favorite topics which is why I decided to add a food pantry to the CP Studio Shop. All the great additions to the CP Gifting line-up are made in the southern USA (almost all in NC) and make unique and welcomed gifts.
There is so much heart behind these businesses and love included in each jar, bag, bottle, box and can that I thought it was about time I share a little bit about the people that make the pantry goods I stock in the studio and online shop. Not only will you be inspired by their stories, I'm sure you'll fall in love with their product too.
Interested in trying a sample of what we offer in our Artisan-made Food Pantry? Grab our sample box HERE!
Hudson & Lee - NC: Hudson & Lee Honey Simple Syrup is the brainchild of Greta McCoy - she worked on her recipe for over two years and after working with food scientists at UNC, she found a way to keep it preservative-free, allowing the honey simple syrup to sit safely for up to two years. Hudson & Lee, named from her sons’ middle names, officially launched in May 2016. This natural, shelf-stable substitute for sugar, honey, or regular simple syrup works wonders in iced tea and lemonade. And for cocktail lovers, impress your guests with one (or several) of Greta and her husband’s recipes, available on Hudson & Lee’s website - personally I think all margaritas should be made with Hudson & Lee!
Slingshot Coffee - NC: Slingshot Coffee Co. was founded by Jenny + Jonathan Bonchak - a husband-wife team of national award-winning baristas with nearly 15 years of coffee-brewing experience - dedicated to building on a foundation of quality, knowledge and innovation. Slingshot Coffee starts with only organic, in-season beans that have been meticulously sourced and roasted and produces the most delicious cold brew coffee we've ever tasted. They also make Cascara 'Tea' which is what we are stocking in the studio and adding to gift boxes. What's Cascara you ask? Cascara is a tea-like drink with a fine, fruity flavor and plenty of caffeine. Made from the often discarded skin and flesh of the coffee fruit, it’s a tropical, berry fruit that just happens to be coffee. It's not tea — it's 100 percent coffee. But it smells like herbal tea. It's a great cold drink, because it's refreshing, and it's caffeinated. It's kind of like nature's Red Bull. Read more about Cascara HERE.
Cloister Honey - NC: Cloister Honey started when founder, Joanne gave her husband, Randall, a hive for a gift. What started as a hobby has turned into a wonderful small business offering some amazing honey creations from Charlotte, NC. We are particularly fond of the Cinnamon Whipped Honey in our house - and customers feel the same because it sold out very fast. I also love the whipped cocoa, bourbon infused and salted varieties!
Merry Cheese Crisps - AL: Merry Cheese Crisps are made in the small company's own facility in Birmingham, AL. Meredith, the founder of 'Merry', is committed to producing locally, and inclined to believe no one can make them the "Merry Way". A cheese crisp is like a cheese straw, but round and the formula used is based on a family recipe that has been fine tuned for over a decade. The cheese crisps are light, full of sharp cheddar flavor, and just a slight spicy kick in the finish. I promise it will please even the most ardent 'cheese straw snob'. These are the best I've ever tried and you'll have to try hard not to eat the entire bag in one sitting.
Sunshine Beverage Co - NC: Sunshine Beverages was founded by Keith Vest and Joe Parrish and operates out of The Variable, an ad agency in Winston-Salem (also founded by the pair). They say they have created a beverage that is different from its “eXreme” energy drink brethren - some energy drinks have more than 150 mg of caffeine, but Sunshine has just 50 mg, typically less than the caffeine contained in a small cup of coffee. Sunshine's first flavor is was Ginger Berry and its key ingredients are 50 mg of caffeine, electrolytes, Vitamin B-12, ginger-root extract, Stevia for a sweetener and a touch of blackberry for flavor. They've since added Clementine Twist and Blueberry Lemonade flavors to the mix. We love a cold Sunshine on its own but happen to think they make a wonderful cocktail mixer too.
Videri Chocolate Factory - NC: Videri Chocolate Factory began as the shared dream of three chocolate lovers: Sam, Starr, and Chris. From the moment Sam first sunk his hands into a bag of cocoa beans, he knew he had a love for making delicious gourmet chocolate, and the talent to match. His mission was to turn his passion for handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate into his profession. Sam’s wife, Starr, and his longtime friend, Chris, came on board to head up the business side of the company, and the three have been having a blast ever since. Now a few years on, the chocolate factory is even more beautiful and delectable than they had dreamt it would be. I love the Videri story and wish everyone could visit their slice of heaven in downtown Raleigh but if you can't, we have you covered by offering a selection of their chocolate bars in CP Gift Boxes and the studio shop. My personal favorite is their dark chocolate bar with sea salt.