Reflections | Lifestyle Magazine Reflections Vol14 No5 - Page 28

LEGACY LO R E A TASTE of History THE LEGACY BEHIND GEORGIA FRUIT CAKE COMPANY BY CHRISTY SHERMAN P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y K A I T LY N D E LO N G P H O TO G R A P H Y small town of just over 2,300 CLAXTON This people holds a big history starring GEORGIA cake, candy, and Henry Ford. The one seemingly small storefront resting beneath the water tower says it all: Claxton, Georgia: Fruitcake Capital of the World. Within its doors, the taste of sweet, brandied cake that has been cultivated by four generations of bakers will be quick to tell you why. When you enter John Womble’s Georgia Fruit Cake Company, you discover that this little storefront dabbles in more than just fruitcake. Colorful cookies, brownies, cinna- mon buns, and donuts are displayed from glass cases. The fresh smell of southern pecan and hazelnut coffee fills the air. John and his fiancé, Yo Bok, can be found serving and chatting with customers at the counter, mixing a batch of homemade buttercream icing, or decorating a cake. Black and white photographs of the company’s founder and John’s grandfather, Ira S. Womble Sr., adorn the walls. Ira Sr., who opened the bakery in 1946, started baking when he was a young boy apprenticing under Italian immigrant, Savino Tos, at the Claxton Bakery during the 1910s. It was then that he learned how to make homemade pies, breads, pastries and, most importantly, fruitcake. This learned skill would go on to define both the Womble family and their beloved town. 26 Re f