36 finalists advance to final round of Flavor of Georgia contest

Published on 03/16/23

By Lillian Dickens

Judges tasted their way through 124 products entered by 82 Georgia businesses in the first round of judging for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ annual Flavor of Georgia food product contest on March 10, selecting 36 finalists who will compete in the final round of competition on March 28.

Since its inception in 2007, the competition has acted as a launching pad for small businesses around the state. Including this year’s group, as many as 1,650 products have been entered.

“It's really good to connect with all these small businesses and see the innovation of some of these people,” said Isa Gutierrez, program coordinator for the Department of Food Science and Technology Extension office, who also plans the yearly event.

Submitted food products are judged across 12 categories based on flavor, texture and ingredient profile. Judges also consider marketability, how the product appeals to the consumer and how well the product represents Georgia.

“There was a company that made strawberry lemonade marmalade at last year’s competition called We Bee Jammin’ — now known as Christie B’s Jams and Jellies,” Gutierrez said of the company that captured first place in the Jams and Jellies category at the 2022 finals. “It was so fun to watch people come up and say ‘Whoa, how did you think of this?’ … It’s great to see how these businesses bloom after the competition.”

2023 Flavor of Georgia finalists

This year’s finalists are listed by company, product name and hometown within the 12 competition categories. Each product comes from a company based in Georgia.

Baked Goods

Lady Belle Macarons, Gritscuits – Smoked Gouda and Garlic, Stone Mountain

Suga's Enterprises, Suga’s Pimento Cheesecake, Powder Springs

Honey Specialties, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, Millen

Barbecue Sauces

Savannah Bee Company, Honey Habanero BBQ Sauce, Savannah

Oconee Creations, Oconee Gold White Gold, Statham

Davis’ Sauces, Davis' 1929 Sauce, Peachtree City


Deer Creek Farm, Blue Harvest Tea, Covington

Yardie Beverages, Ginger Beer, Suwanee

HIBO, Energize Original, Bishop

Condiments, Sauces and Seasonings

Jar Masala, Garden Masala, Snellville

Braswell Food Company, Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce, Statesboro

Amici Food Group, Honey Hot Sauce For Wings and other Things, Madison


Maybird Confections, Dark Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Toffee, Alpharetta

RoHo Bakery, Give Me S'more, Decatur

Brittle Brittle Bakeries, Pecan Brittle, Fort Gaines

Dairy Products

Dulce Gelato, Probiotic- Kefir Gelato, Woodstock

Gatherings, Kimchi Pimento Cheese, Decatur

The Cheese Plant at Hidden Creek Farm, Brasstown Bold – Double Blaze Appalachian Goat Cheese Peppered Honey, Blairsville

Honey and Syrups

White Oak Pastures, Cane Syrup, Bluffton

Barlow's, Peach Cobbler Syrup, Atlanta

L. Franklin's Honey, Cinnamon Creamed Honey, Statesboro

Jams and Jellies

Elusive Jams, PEARadise Jam, Carrollton

Christy B’s Jams & Jellies, Peaches 'n Whiskey Preserves, Pooler

Georgia Jams, Georgia Scorcher Pepper Spread, Williamson

Meats and Seafood

Jensen Reserve, Biltong Style Bresaola Make Your Own Charcuterie Kit, Loganville

White Oak Pastures, Beef Jerky, Bluffton

Rocking Chair Ranch Cattle, Smoked Biltong, Forsyth


Sweet Treats Cannery, Blueberry Lavender Pie Filling, Springfield

Woodpecker Trail Olive Farm, First Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Glennville

Tey's Southern Treats, Southern Fillings, Conyers

Pickled Vegetables, Relish and Salsas

Point Blank Pepper Company, Hallow Rings, Marietta

Crazy Nay’s, South Ga Redneck Caviar, Baxley

Sully's Slammin Fresh Salsa, Mild Fresh Salsa, Roswell

Snack Foods

All the Fixin’s, Burnin' Slap Up Spicy Pecans, Twin City

CaJa Popcorn, Vadouvan Curry Popcorn, Smyrna

The Savannah Cheese Straw Company, Cheese Straws, Savannah

The final round of Flavor of Georgia will take place in downtown Athens at The Classic Center. Finalists face a full day of judging and networking with other finalists, including a “Shark Tank”-style panel of judges to pitch their products.

“The Flavor of Georgia contest is a unique opportunity for the Department of Food Science and Technology to engage with food entrepreneurs from around the state of Georgia,” said Manpreet Singh, food science and technology department head. “The contest serves as a resource to assist the local food industry with product development and prepares entrepreneurs to have their products market-ready.”

For the first time, the award ceremony and reception will be open to the public. Attendees will get to sample the cream of the crop from the competition before the winners from each category and the overall contest winner is announced.

Register to attend the reception and award ceremony and learn more about the competition at the Flavor of Georgia website at

Lillian Dickens is the communications, public relations and program coordinator for the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology.

Source: UGA CAES Media Newswire