Willow Cole of Heritage Shortbread continues her family's Scottish shortbread tradition

November 25, 2020 2 min read

Willow Cole of Heritage Shortbread

Faces of Tradition

Story by Barry Kaufman + Photography by Lisa Staff
NOVEMBER 25, 2020
www.locallifeSC.com

 

WILLOW COLE
Continuing her family’s gourmet Scottish shortbread tradition.

In Scotland, shortbread isn’t just a tradition. It’s a birthright. Every delectably buttery crumble is part of a legacy that stretches back into misty moors and craggy highland peaks. For Willow Cole (nee McGrain), her Heritage Shortbread is a gift steeped in tradition and shared with the world in the hopes of keeping that tradition alive.

“Shortbread always meant abundance, so the only time it came out was gift giving, weddings, or Christmas,” she said. “Every Scottish person has their own recipe they keep under lock and key.”

Her own recipe comes from her grandmother, Willow McGrain, and was closely guarded by her mother. “She would never share the recipe with me. As she aged, she would allow me to help with the recipe because I had to be her hands. After we lost her, I thought that would honor her and her heritage and just produce it locally.”

That local focus is as true now as it was when Willow started, with her main focus being area gift shops and department stores. “We like to keep our business local and honor our agreements with local businesses,” Willow said. But in the years since, the broad appeal of the McGrain family recipe and the iconic red packaging have made Heritage shortbread an ambassador not just for Scottish tradition, but for Hilton Head Island.

Along with stores all over the country, you’ll find Heritage Shortbread on shelves as far away as Japan, where it’s a hot Christmas gift item. “I’m so proud to represent Hilton Head and South Carolina across the nation, with every box we send,” Willow said.

And it’s all produced in their bakery on Hilton Head Island using that same time-tested recipe the McGrains made famous...


Heritage Shortbread

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