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About Us


 Samantha Swan and Paul Cheek taste Relish in their family home on Cottage Lane in Chapel Hill NC

We are a woman owned, family business with generational ties to Chapel Hill, NC and a genetic, deep love of spicy pepper relish and all things spicy.


About Cottage Lane Kitchen:      

Cottage Lane is a hidden in the heart of Chapel Hill where at least one member of our family has lived since 1922.  In fact, at different times, our family has owned six of the seven homes that still stand on the lane.

But there is one home, where four generations have cooked and preserved pepper relish in the kitchen out of love and tradition.

This is the origin of the business name - to acknowledge this special location and members of our family.      

Cheek Family residence in White Cross, Orange County, NC    Family Residence on Cottage Lane, Chapel Hill NC

         Then                                                      Now

About our Products:
This is not your ordinary relish. We create a fiery, distinctive Southern Pepper Relish!  Made from fresh chile peppers, with not a cucumber in sight, our relish has a modern, bold SPICY flavor with a firecracker personality to boot!  We have two flavors - Get Me A Switch is based on an heirloom family recipe. Its name embraces our southern roots and identifies its  zippy sweet/heat character while Cape Fear is a modern recipe and its name identifies its lingering habanero fruity/fiery character. People say they bite back, but we prefer to say they nibble.

They are sodium free and use all fresh chile peppers that have been chopped and slow cooked in apple cider vinegar. Both provide ‘just enough heat to make you happy’ and make your dishes sing with delight! We believe our relish, with ‘No pickles, just peppers!’, will become a staple on your table as it has been on ours for generations.

And 2020 was the year of Hissy Fit Hot Sauce! Launched during the pandemic, Hissy Fit is our answer to the ubiquitous southern vinegar based hot sauce.  We've added our own special blend of spices and tasty twist for the modern palate. With the perfect amount of tangy smoky heat, it's the gourmet artisanal southern sauce updated for the 21st century.

We are proud of the lineage of our recipes; our history in Chapel Hill, NC where our home has been for generations; the quality of the ingredients used in our products and the bold flavors we continue to preserve.

Cheek family altar with relative photos, Chapel Hill NC

About Samantha Cheek Swan, founder of Cottage Lane Kitchen:
Growing up in the Southern US and with family roots in North Carolina (in particular to Orange County since colonial times),  Samantha lived in many US states, as well as the United Kingdom, The Republic of South Africa and Turkey.  She studied Art History at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked at the Huntington Art Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin (now the Jack S Blanton Museum of Art), as well as a number of commercial galleries in London, UK.

In November 2009, she left her job and decided to travel the world with her husband.  One of the things that they found most enjoyable when traveling was sampling the cuisines of other cultures and finding new and different condiments to take home with them.  Their fridge always has a multitude of 'upside down sauces', as one friend labeled them, as Samantha was always trying to drain the last drop of goodness out of each bottle.  Samantha, has always felt condiments have been a little sidelined in the kitchen - after all what would Mexican food be without salsa, Chinese dishes without soy sauce, Sushi without Wasabi, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers & Fries without ketchup, and BBQ'd meats without sauce?

Returning to visit family in NC December 2010, Samantha, with her father, made her first batch of the family pepper relish.  No one had made it since the 1990s - her grandfather was the last to cook a batch and these reserves were dwindling.  There was no written recipe, so she set out to record her father's dash of this and 'that looks about right' of that with measurement in cups and teaspoons.  After careful refining of ingredients and standardizing the types of peppers to use (historically, the family used whatever type of pepper grown in their garden that season), 'The Switch' was ready to be shared with a wider audience.

Throughout her travels and relocations, there is only one place that has remained a constant in Samantha's life; her family's homestead on Cottage Lane in Chapel Hill, NC.  In fact, her family have owned five of the six houses built on Cottage Lane.  Her great grandmother and grandfather grew peppers on its land and all four generations (her great-grandmother, grandfather, father and herself) have lived in their family home and produced relish in its kitchen. Family history surrounds her on Cottage Lane - a street she has known all her life. Therefore, her company couldn't possibly be named anything other than 'Cottage Lane Kitchen'...

Relish...Every Day!