Nic Butler with the Charleston County Public Library wrote a great article about the benne seeds that are used to make our famous Charleston Benne Wafers! We enjoyed working with Nic on the article and even gave him some Benne Wafers, so those showing up to hear the lecture could sample the history!
Excerpts from the article –
The benne (or sesame) seed has long been a staple in the traditional foodways of the South Carolina lowcountry. Most people here, especially tourists, first encounter this delicious seed in the benne wafer—sweet, crunchy, bite-sized discs that one finds everywhere in and around Charleston. In recent years, however, historically-minded chefs have been using benne in a wide variety of dishes, from pastries to main courses, in the effort to restore the tiny seed to its former place as a staple of lowcountry cuisine.
As tourism began to emerge as a viable local industry in the early twentieth century, visitors embraced the small, sweet benne wafer as a deliciously curious souvenir of the lowcountry experience. In fact, for many tourists, the benne wafer, especially those crafted by our friends at Olde Colony Bakery, is the signature taste representing Charleston in their memories.