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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

We're zonkers for North Carolina's Sonkers Trail

I thought I knew everything about Southern cooking, especially those unique dishes found nowhere else. Imagine my surprise to find sonkers in Surry County of North Carolina, a dessert dating back to the 1800s that’s similar to a cobbler.

Sonker dessert from Surrey County, North Carolina.
North Carolina Sonker Dessert

But then, it's not.

The story has it that sonkers originated after harvest, with North Carolina residents mixing fruit that had lost its ripeness with sweet ingredients such as sugar or molasses, then mixing it with flour to make a sort-of pie.

No two sonkers are alike. Some feature a crunchy top, while others look akin to a pot pie. Some resemble fruit swimming in a sweet soup topped by ice cream with dough pieces mixed in while others more like a custard.

Those differences are why there is a Surry Sonker Trail throughout the county. There are seven stops on the trail, all offering different versions of the North Carolina dessert, and we tried to sample sonkers at each one. For instance, Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy creates hers with seasonal fruit in small rectangular containers, then drizzles this doughy goodness with a moonshine-kissed glaze. If you want to kick this up a notch, add her special moonshine ice cream on top.

The featured stops along the Sonker Trail are:

· Rockford General Store in the village of Rockford;

· Southern On Main in Elkin;

· Old North State Winery in Mount Airy (which is haunted; read the ghost story on our Southern Haunts page) and

Want a Sonker Trail map? Call (800) 948-0949 or go online here.

Here are a few we sampled (heading down, Down Home Restaurant, Miss Angel's Heavenly Pies and Old North State Winery):

Down Home Restaurant, Mount Airy
North Carolina Sonker Dessert

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