When you tell someone they absolutely have to try Surryano ham, be prepared for a raised eyebrow or two. Most people will think you said serrano ham. Some people will think you mispronounced serrano ham. The lucky ones will just say, "totally."
Surryano ham will try to fool you. It sounds like serrano ham, looks like prosciutto and its cousins from other countries, but has a taste that is distinctly American. This Virgina-made, dry-cured and hickory-smoked ham has become one of our favorite things on earth, and is produced by the Edwards family (also responsible for excellent sausages and more) in Surrey, Virginia. They, of course, describe their hams particularly handily:
Surryanos are produced only from rare Six-Spotted Berkshire hogs... 100% pasture-raised under Certified Humane conditions and absolutely free of antibiotics and added hormones.
Each perfectly marbled Surryano is dry-cured by hand with natural ingredients... and smoked in Edwards family smokehouses over smoldering hickory wood for 7 full days. Then, it's aged for more than 400 days to put the finishing touch on its unique mahogany color and rich, savory flavor.
We can't think of a bad way to eat this, but we've thought of a few of our favorites: straight out of the package with your hands, wrapped around a wedge of ripe peach, coiled atop a deviled egg, swirled into sauce for shrimp and grits, on a pimento cheese sandwich. We had to stop there, because if we didn't, we'd go on forever.
These incredible hams have American chefs and food-nerds alike falling all over themselves to get some. We think the flavor is totally worth it -- from the buttery layer of fat to the rich, smoky meat within. At $35 for 3/4 pound, the ham is absolutely not cheap, but when you think about it, neither are the best Spanish and Italian hams, and Surryano is definitely the best American ham. There, we said it.
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White Lily Flour
Ask a Southerner, and they'll tell you <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/29/white-lily-flour_n_3347963.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">White Lily Flour</a> makes the world's best biscuits.
Graeter's Ice Cream
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/graeters-ice-cream-cincinnati_n_3308761.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">This incredible ice cream</a> almost makes us want to move to Cincinnati.
Blue Sky Cherry Vanilla Creme Soda
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/10/blue-sky-soda-cherry-vanilla-creme_n_3247956.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">This soda, originally produced in Santa Fe, NM</a>, tastes like you introduced a can of seltzer to a cream soda and a cherry, they shared an afternoon and went their separate ways, forever imprinted on each other.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/scrapple-pork-pennsylvania_n_3149645.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">Scrapple is sort of like toast made out of meat</a>, and we totally love it. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/saucesupreme/" target="_blank">Ron Dollete</a></em>
These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/sopapillas-fried-dough-stuffed_n_3071765.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">New Mexican pillows of fried dough</a> can either be filled with carne adovada and cheese, or topped with honey and eaten for dessert. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31296768@N07/3491407008/" target="_blank">fj40troutbum</a></em>
Nashville Hot Chicken
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/12/nashville-hot-chicken-video_n_3056029.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">This fried chicken is so hot</a>, it was invented as a punishment. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckypurdue/4605435430/" target="_blank">AtomicPope</a></em>
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/surryano-ham-serrano_n_2994204.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">Surryano ham</a>, an amazing cured, smoked ham from Virginia, gives the best imported prosciuttos and serrano ham a run for their money.
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Oklahoma Onion Burgers
These <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/17/oklahoma-onion-burger_n_2876356.html?utm_hp_ref=american-regional-foods" target="_blank">burgers are cooked down with onions</a> smashed right into the patty.
This German-Jewish sweet roll, popular in the mid-Atlantic, is named <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/08/schnecken-german-cinnamon-roll_n_2831881.html" target="_blank">Schnecken</a>, after the German word for snail.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/narragansett-beer-lager_n_2776650.html?utm_hp_ref=taste&ir=Taste?utm_hp_ref=taste&ir=Taste">Hi neighbor! Have a 'Gansett!</a> Rhode Island's favorite lager, which once commissioned Dr. Seuss to illustrate their advertisements.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/moxie-soda-new-england_n_2784571.html">Moxie is a gentian root-flavored soda</a> popular in New England. It is incredibly strange, and oddly addictive.
Rhode Island's official state drink is coffee milk, and the requisite flavoring agent for that delight is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/coffee-milk-autocrat-syrup_n_2736223.html">Autocrat Coffee Syrup</a>.
This New Orleans delicacy is basically <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/12/muffaletta-new-orleans-muffaletta_n_2664294.html">an antipasto platter shoved into a sandwich</a>, and we are totally in love.
America has totally adopted this Canadian treat of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/poutine-fries-gravy_n_2617084.html">fries, cheese curds and gravy</a> as its own. We love you, adopted poutine.
Durkee Famous Sauce
This <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/durkee-sauce-famous_n_2553291.html">mustardy, vinegary mayo spread</a> is rumored to have been loved by Abraham Lincoln.
Too full? You need an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/underberg-german-digestif_n_2482105.html">Underberg, a bitter German digestif</a>.
The key to a proper, Brooklyn egg cream is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/egg-cream-foxs-u-bet-syrup_n_2442907.html?utm_hp_ref=taste&ir=Taste">Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup</a>.
This southern American staple is the star of tomato and mayo sandwiches, and helped us make the best deviled eggs to ever come out of our kitchen. The secret to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/dukes-mayo-mayonnaise_n_2412033.html?utm_hp_ref=taste&ir=Taste">Duke's Mayonnaise</a>: no sugar.
You've got to try the "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/cheerwine-north-carolina-soda_n_2293059.html">Nectar of North Carolina</a>."
This danish-like pastry is most famously made by <a href="http://www.kringle.com/">Racine Danish Kringles</a>. We had to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/kringle-racine-wisconsin-pastry_n_2271429.html?1355162905">give a homemade version a go</a>, as well.
Vernors Ginger Ale
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New Mexico Green Chile
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/new-mexico-green-chile_n_1917450.html">New Mexicans take their green chile</a> very seriously.