I am blessed to have grown up in North Carolina. With the beach on one side, the mountains on another and cozy towns around large cities in between, I dare you to try and find a more diverse and beautiful area. My entire life I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by nice people, beautiful scenery, and even better food.

However, as I found out while spending time in different states, most of the country doesn’t have the same amount of respect for these homegrown staples I’ve come to know and love.

1. Pimento Cheese

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/pimento-cheese/

There’s just something about a pimento cheese sandwich on a hot summer day that screams North Carolina. This cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, salt and pepper blend is perfect on anything; and you bet your soul we’ll put it on anything.

2. Cheerwine

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Cheerwine on Facebook

Although Cheerwine is served in other parts of the south, North Carolinians will never fail to remind you that this sweet concoction is from our very own Salisbury. There’s just something about drinking a Cheerwine from a glass bottle in NC that makes it taste better.

3. Calabash Seafood

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Captain Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood on Facebook

Crab legs + the Carolina coast = Bliss. Once you’ve had Calabash style seafood no other shrimp, crab legs and clams will ever measure up again.

4. Cookout

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Cookout on Facebook

Anything further north than Virginia and you’re out of luck, because you will never experience happiness in the form of a Cookout tray. Whether you’re stopping by at 10 pm or 2 am, it’s delicious.

5. BBQ

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Big Al’s BBQ on Facebook

Lexington or Eastern style? Ketchup or vinegar? Dark or light meat? There’s nothing North Carolinians enjoy more than arguing over who’s BBQ is better… except maybe Duke vs. UNC.

6. Krispy Kreme

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Krispy Kreme on Facebook

Dunkin’ doesn’t even begin to compare to Krispy Kreme and that’s something you grow up learning in North Carolina. A hot, glazed doughnut just tastes better under that Carolina sun.

7. Sweet Tea

North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Southern Breeze Sweet Tea on Facebook

It’s never sweet enough. Ever. If you can’t feel the cavities forming when you drink it, there’s not enough sugar. Keep it comin’.