Family fruitcake for everyone

The holidays just arent the same without the nutty goodness of this signature dessert handmade with care in the Piedmont.

Sitting high on the hill in the middle of the vast country fields, is a fruitcake and chocolate factory where men and women have been molding the fruitcake and dipping the peanuts into chocolate all by hand and all with great care.Southern Supreme Fruitcake in Bear Creek is steeped in tradition, secret family recipes, and crafting food by hand and not machines.”I was a hairdresser — tease it, spray it, tease it, spray it — with everyone getting a perm. I would make this fruitcake for my customers every year, and they would always ask when I would have more cake,” said Berta Scott, the matriarch of the Scott family business.”I told them, ‘well, I can quit doing your hair and go sell fruitcakes.'”So that’s what she did. She started selling fruitcakes off her dining room table.Thirty years later, her small fruitcake business in her home grew into a thriving food business offering everything from fruitcakes, cookies, candies, nuts, and brittle to jams, jellies, pickles, and cheese.Even though the business has grown, the values and principles formed at the beginning remain the same.”We make everything in small batches and small pots. Nothing is mass produced as you lose quality that way,” said Scott.Chocolate is all dipped by hand. Fruitcake is molded and decorated by hand. Lemon biscuits are packaged by hand. Bows on gift baskets are designed and tied by hand. It’s dedication, craftsmanship, and care wrapped in every package, all by fellow North Carolinians.”We put a lot of care into each package. There are no smears on the bags, tea biscuits are packaged one by one and weighed,” said Rita Garner, supervisor. “There are a lot of steps, but we take great care because we love what we do.”Recipes are old family recipes. The relish originated with Scott’s mother. The five varying types of pickles were created by Scott’s daughter. Southern Supreme has grown to include 130 employees which include some of Scott’s former customers from her days as a hairdresser.The company’s biggest seller remains the fruitcake that put them on the map.”Our fruitcake is different because it is stirred the whole time it is cooked. There is no hard crust and there is a different texture. It never dries out, always stays moist. We use a lot of nuts — English walnuts and pecans. A little fruit,” said Scott. “Nothing overpowers it.””If we can get a person to try the fruitcake one time, we have a customer for life,” said Randy Scott, her son and company president. “We are trying to make everything as close to homemade as we can and give them the very best we can give.”Visitors are always welcome here. Tour groups rotate through the kitchens watching the masterpieces in progress. See cooks mix, stir and pour peanut brittle. Witness the molding and decorating of fruitcake cookies. Watch chocolate melt for the dipping of pecans. Between 60 to 65 different chocolate items are made in the kitchen daily using 200 pounds of chocolate.In addition, the tasting room is open for the sampling of the homemade goodness while the showroom is bustling with gift wrapped goods to take away.”I want to sit down and cry sometimes when I see all the people. It makes me so happy,” said Berta. “We make everything fresh here — homemade — and people enjoy getting something good to eat.”Her son added, “People love to see a family business. It means a lot to them, and it means a lot to us.”