Southern Fixings Pralines bring unique flavors to the River Parishes

Published 7:44 am Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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NORCO – Natasha Jones of LaPlace loves when people take a bite of her Southern Fixings pralines and reminisce on sweet memories shared with parents and grandparents. Her business is built on family traditions surrounding the century-old southern treat.

When Jones was 5 years old, she stood on a chair next to her mother and helped stir batches of delectable pecan candy over a steaming stove.

The smell of vanilla emanated through the house as they added in the nuts and laid out the mixture over the kitchen counter. Jones could never wait for the candy to cool before grabbing it and burning the tips of her fingers in the process.

Jones recalls her mother’s finished pecan candy was hard, thick and cut into squares. She always preferred eating it while it was still warm and soft. Using the basis of her mother’s recipe, Jones tweaked the ingredients to make her own delicious confection. Southern Fixings pralines are round and soft, with a rich melt-in-your-mouth flavor.

There are actually more than 49 flavors, but the classic is the most popular, followed by wedding cake, rum, dark chocolate, toasted coconut and coffee. These flavors can be found in stores across the River Parishes, including Matherne’s, Don’s Country Store, Jacob’s Andouille, River Road Market, Norco Fresh Market, Mini Hui Mart (Pat’s) and Cox’s Meat Market. Through the partnership with Cox’s Meat Market, Southern Fixings Pralines can also be found in signature red packaging at the German Coast Farmer’s Market held each week in St. Charles Parish.

The manufacturing magic happens at 917 Third Street in Norco inside the Edible Enterprises food business incubator, with support from St. Charles Parish Economic Development Director Corey Faucheux. It’s from that building that Jones cooks, packages and delivers her famous pralines.

Jones said Southern Fixings was originally intended to be a food truck business. With a lack of food truck permitting available at the time, the focus shifted to desserts.

“I was a store manager for Walmart for 18 years, and I always had people wanting me to make candy for them,” Jones said. “I didn’t do it as a business because I didn’t have the time. I was raising two kids. When I left Walmart, that’s when I decided to do Southern Fixings. I started here Dec. 30, 2015, and I’ve been selling them ever since.”

Jones has also brought her Southern Fixings pralines to food shows for supermarkets, including Langenstein’s and Ralph’s. The pralines have received positive feedback at the Mall of Louisiana, the Andouille Festival and Destrehan Plantation’s Fall Festival. Southern Fixings treats are also available for sale in the Destrehan Plantation and San Francisco Plantation gift shops.

“I love what I do. I’m happy because I always thought about owning my own business. Seeing it manifest and come to be is awesome,” Jones said. “I believe it’s God. I talked to Him a long time ago about it, and He has directed me to the right path and to the right people. It has been an awesome experience.”

Desi Jones has supported Southern Fixings Pralines since the business opened to the community.

“Her pralines are much different than a lot of the praline companies I have tried in the past,” he said. “Hers come out with a creaminess, and you can taste the butter. It’s a very good product that she makes, and I think she’s a very determined businesswoman. She has really grown her business for the last five or six years from literally nothing to what it is today. She’s an outstanding young lady to do business with, and her product is outstanding as well.”

Dawn Monroe Jones, owner of NOLA Boutique in LaPlace, said Southern Fixings Pralines brings part of New Orleans to the River Parishes with a unique spin of flavors.

Dawn loves snacking on wedding cake and coconut pralines, which present a completely different taste than traditional pralines or pecan. When Dawn ships boutique items across the country, she includes a pack of pralines with the order and allows her customers to experience New Orleans flavors.

“I buy them myself, and I put them in the order. Now my customers are buying from Tasha, and they’re loving it,” Dawn said. “I can’t say anything but good stuff about Tasha. She’s a Christian woman, and she always has that smile. She is always supporting small business. If there is a small business event and Tasha is available, she’s coming.”

Dawn also appreciates that Jones is open to preparing special orders. She will even create pralines without pecans to serve individuals with food allergies or other special considerations.

While there are only a limited number of flavors offered at local stores, Southern Fixings also offers praline cakes, praline brownie bars, praline pound cake bars and a banana nut breakfast praline infused with walnuts. Jones often puts together party trays for football season and other big events.

For more information, visit Southern Fixings Pralines on Facebook or call 985-618-3473.