My foodie friend, who hails from Kentucky and is now settled in North Carolina, often accused me of being afraid of the South while we spent time together living in the Mid-West. Not true! I'll admit I dug into my Northeastern persona when I suddenly found myself no longer surrounded by fellow Northeasterners. And Deliverance scared the crap out of everyone. (Kidding, of course, I don't think the film is representative of an entire region. Still, it was scary...)
But in my defense, it's soda, not pop and the appropriate answer to my missive that "I miss the coast" is not "Just head up to Cleveland, the Lake is there." Still, foodie friend took a lot of pride in teaching the Yankee to drink bourbon and worked hard to get me to appreciate grits. She openly laughed at me when I saw biscuits and gravy on a breakfast buffet for the first time (And we were in Indy, NOT the South). Again, I really don't think being surprised by GRAVY for BREAKFAST is all that crazy.
So, for one birthday, she sent me a North Carolina staple - Moravian Cookies and Cheese Straws from Salem Baking Company, a gift I openly bragged about here. The nice thing about this tip, at least for you Capital District folks, is you can just march your butt over to the Fresh Market and pick up the cookies. I'm not sure if they carry Salem Baking brand cheese straws, but they do have their own which aren't too bad. The Gingerbread variety is fantastic, as is the Myer Lemon. My favorite were a special edition wafer with caramel, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with fluer de sal. If anyone sees those, you know where to find me!!