The mementos of travels should be reminders of the adventure. Taste and smell are strongly associated with memories so bringing back food and drink is a great way to reconnect to the trip. What better way to remember a trip to the “Wild and Wonderful” state of West Virginia that handcrafted, family-made food item. These items make great gifts for friends and relatives and great additions to your own table. West Virginia is home to a whole host of foods that can make the journey home just fine. Here are seven of those products that will keep your memories fresh.
Fill up on pepperoni rolls
Anyone who’s traveled much in West Virginia knows that the pepperoni roll is the Mountain State’s favorite quick-eats snack/meal. It is the food most closely associated with West Virginia but little know elsewhere.
According to Jeanne Mozier in her indispensable guide book, Way Out in West Virginia, the pepperoni roll was invented by Giuseppe Agiro, an immigrant miner, at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont in 1927.
If you’re looking for authenticity, stop into the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, otherwise pepperoni rolls are not hard to come by. You’re likely to find them in grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores all over the state.
Try one and you’ll discover why pepperoni rolls were a favorite lunch for coal miners to carry with them underground: portable, self-contained, and long-lasting. These are all qualities that make them excellent car-food, too!
Season with hand-harvested salt
No plate is complete without a little salt. Sprinkle in some J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works to crown the perfect dish. Their artisanal salt is harvested by hand— the hands of a 7th generation salt-making family, to be specific. The salt comes from right underneath the Appalachian Mountains in the Kanawha Valley. It is completely organic and naturally derived.
It’s all in the Sauce
For all the gourmet mustard and sauce lovers catch a taste of West Virginia in a jar. Up the Creek is a small, family-owned and operated business in Montgomery. Try their famous classic pepper mustard, or their cranberry, jalapeno, strawberry or pepper dill mustard.
Taste the mountain with all-natural fruit jams
West Virginia Fruit and Berry makes traditional preserves and fruit butters indigenous to the Wild and Wonderful State. Their preserves, jams and butters are all-natural with no additives!
Take home some West Virginia flavor with their Almost Heaven Black Raspberry Seedless Preserve. The apple butter is a pretty solid bet as well.
They’ve also introduced four West Virginia Fruit and Berry, Fruit Wines. They include Mountain Blackberry/ Wild & Wonderful Raspberry/Luscious Cherry Blossom and Uncle Jakes Elderberry Wine.
Sweeten things up with mountain-made honey
Mountain State Honey Company is family-run beekeeping business, which started with 2 honey lovers in the beautiful mountains of Tucker County West Virginia. With the help of their children and a few really great friends, they now run more than 1,000 hives of honeybees!
They offer natural honey in a variety of flavors. Most recently, they featured basswood honey, locust honey and tulip poplar honey. The hex jars come in various sizes perfect for small gifts for friends or family or as part of a gift basket.
Enjoy maple-flavored everything
This West Virginia syrup comes in adorable little jugs, which you will in shops all across the state. At Richter’s Maple House in Pickens, Mike and Beth Richter boil thousands of gallons of maple sap every season to whip up delicious maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy, and that very rare delicacy, maple cream. If you get a chance to visit Richter’s Maplehouse in Pickens take the 20 minute tour. Richter’s Maplehouse contains some of the antique mapling equipment from the early neighboring camps. It is available from March thru October for individuals, families and small groups.
Spice things up with Blue Smoke Salsa
Enjoy some mountain sweetness and heat from the hills with Blue Smoke Salsa. More than two decades ago, Robin Hildebrand, a young working mother of two boys, created these salsa recipes. In the beginning she made the salsa in her home basement at Chimney Corner, West Virginia from her own backyard garden. The business began to grow and win countless awards and she moved to a large facility on Main Street in her home town of Ansted, West Virginia. The facility was renovated and equipped with automated equipment (and observation windows.) Come on in for a “bird’s eye” view of the salsa going through the production line!
Try some sweet onion peach salsa with some of their fabulous homemade guacamole chips for a little snack. They also have a delicious pepper jelly that goes great with crackers.
West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states in the country and one of the least visited Experience West Virginia’s friendly people, rich history, and rugged terrain. Read our post, 10 Must see Attractions in West Virginia. and see what your are missing.
Which mountain-made products will you take home?