Charleston Restaurant Chooses Christmas Cookie That Best Represents Charleston

A new cookie making its debut in historic Charleston, S.C., this holiday season is likely to tempt locals and tourists alike to stick their hand into the cookie jar.

Online PR News – 03-September-2009 – – A new cookie making its debut in historic Charleston, S.C., this holiday season is likely to tempt locals and tourists alike to stick their hand into the cookie jar. Earlier this month, Charleston-based Circa 1886 restaurant challenged local residents to test their culinary skills and answer the question, "If Charleston were a cookie, what would it be?" The answer turned out to be a cookie named the Polite Palmetto with Sweet Tea Glaze, giving a nod to the Holy City’s reputation as a friendly destination.

The AAA Four Diamond, Mobil Four Star restaurant will serve the cookie on its menu throughout the month of December.

With entries ranging from cookies with a sweet tea glaze to cookies rolled in crushed benne wafers, both classic Charleston staples, Circa 1886 Executive Chef Marc Collins and Pastry Chef Scott Lovorn narrowed the field down to three recipes. A panel of local Charleston judges, including Nathalie Dupree, chef and cookbook author; Judith Moore, owner of Charleston Cookie Co.; and Tara Lynn, co-anchor for News 2 Today and News 2 Midday, selected the winner.

The winning cookie recipe was submitted by Nona Pontiff of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., a sewing artist and teacher. Shaped like a palmetto tree, the cookie included pecans, rice flour and sesame seeds with a glaze of sugar, lemon juice vodka and black tea leaves.

"When I was coming up the recipe, I was trying to think of elements that would bring in the rich culinary history of Charleston," says Pontiff. "So I incorporated rice in the form of brown rice flour, brown pecans and also sesame that came from Africa to Charleston and the tea glaze, which we have the only tea plantation in the United States here in Charleston."

Pontiff received a complimentary dinner for four at Circa 1886, and her cookie will be featured on the Circa 1886 dessert menu during the month of December.

Check out a video from the contest at

About Circa 1886
Set inside the historic carriage house for the award-winning Wentworth Mansion® hotel at 149 Wentworth St. in Charleston, S.C., Circa 1886 is a AAA Four-Diamond, Mobil Four Star restaurant offering traditional southern cuisine with a modern twist in a sophisticated, historic setting. Executive Chef Marc Collins, named by Esquire Magazine as a chef to watch in 2001 and co-founder of the successful Charleston Food + Wine Festival, presents innovative southern dishes, which draw on the rich culinary history of Charleston during the time period when the Mansion was originally constructed. Collins also brings a French influence and a touch of 21st century culinary artistry to his creations. Circa 1886 has received numerous accolades, including the DiRoNA award for fine dining in North America, as well as the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

The restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and prices range from $8 to $16 for appetizers, $20 to $30 for featured courses, and desserts start at $10. For more information and reservations, please visit or call (843) 853-7828.