SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Surry County is famous for the fictional town of Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show. But those rolling hills also create a boundary, outside of which, a particular dessert is unknown.
"If you are outside of those hills, going any other part of this state or going to any other state or county, you’re not going to find it," Miss Angel of Miss Angel's Heavenly Pies said. "It’s here!"
It's Surry Sonker: a dessert only baked within the 536 square miles of Surry County
Miss Angel bakes her version of a sonker daily.
"Our specialty is apple, peach, pumpkin and sweet potato and strawberry rhubarb," she said!
Surry Sonker is a cobbler of sorts but juicer. There’s a crust on the top but not on the bottom and the fruit is just about as ripe as it gets.
"You might have berries that are a little bit too ripe you’d want to go ahead and do something with those berries or the fruit that was too ripe and you could stretch it," Marshella Correa said. "You could make a sonker and stretch it and serve several people."
Correa does just that at Rockford General Store. They're well known for the dessert that never fails to start a conversation.
"If they’re from Surry County they’ll probably tell you the story about how their grandmother or their mother made sonker," she said. "If they’re not from Surry County you’ll probably hear, ‘what is sonker?’"
So where did this elusive delicacy come from? Accounts differ but all agree that the sonker’s history runs as deep as its juices - all the way back to when people from Scotland settled in Surry County. The Scottish apparently had a word similar to sonker. Some say it means, “a little of this or that," others believe it referred to a small, grassy knoll.
Correa added this definition, "The sonker is a Scottish term meaning 'what’s for dessert?'"
No matter the origin, it's a universal truth that this dessert is just as much a part of Surry County life as Mayberry and those beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.