What food was invented in WV?

The Tasty Tale of West Virginia’s Culinary Creations

If you’ve ever wondered what delightful bites were born in the mountainous state of West Virginia, look no further! The iconic pepperoni roll takes the crown as the undisputed culinary invention that hails from the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the savory history and unique flavors that make this West Virginian creation a true gastronomic gem.

Pepperoni Roll Paradise: The First Bite

In the charming hills of West Virginia, the pepperoni roll emerged as a humble yet ingenious creation. Picture this: a soft, doughy roll generously stuffed with zesty pepperoni slices. It’s portable, satisfying, and a testament to the resourcefulness of the hardworking coal miners who sought a hearty, grab-and-go snack for their lunch pails.

A Glimpse into Culinary History

The pepperoni roll’s origins can be traced back to the early 20th century when Italian immigrants brought their culinary traditions to West Virginia’s coalfields. The miners embraced this convenient and delectable snack, making it a local legend. Today, the pepperoni roll stands as a symbol of West Virginia’s culinary heritage, celebrated at fairs, festivals, and local bakeries across the state.

What Sets the Pepperoni Roll Apart?

Now, let’s break down the anatomy of this West Virginian wonder. The dough, soft and slightly sweet, envelops the peppery goodness of cured and spicy pepperoni. Some variations include gooey melted cheese, adding an extra layer of indulgence. Whether enjoyed warm or at room temperature, the pepperoni roll is a taste sensation that captures the essence of West Virginia.

Where to Sink Your Teeth In

If you find yourself in the Mountain State, don’t miss the chance to savor an authentic pepperoni roll. Head over to Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, often credited as the birthplace of this iconic treat. The bakery’s rolls boast the perfect balance of chewy dough and flavorful pepperoni, making them a must-try for any food enthusiast.

What food was invented in WV

The Original Recipe


For the Dough:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Filling:
  • 1 pound sliced pepperoni
  • Optional: 1 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese


Step 1: Activate the Yeast In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy, indicating that the yeast is activated.

Step 2: Mix the Dough In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the activated yeast mixture and vegetable oil. Mix until a dough forms.

Step 3: Knead the Dough Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Step 4: Preheat and Prepare Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 5: Roll Out the Dough Punch down the risen dough and divide it into golf ball-sized portions. Roll each portion into a small, thin oval or rectangle.

Step 6: Add the Filling Place a generous amount of pepperoni slices (and cheese if desired) onto each piece of dough. Roll the dough around the filling, pinching the edges to seal.

Step 7: Bake to Perfection Arrange the filled rolls on the prepared baking sheet and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 8: Cool and Enjoy Allow the pepperoni rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving. They are delicious when enjoyed warm, offering the perfect blend of doughy goodness and savory pepperoni.

Optional Variation: For a gooey, cheesy twist, you can add shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese to the filling before rolling up the dough.

Now you’re ready to savor the authentic taste of West Virginia with your homemade pepperoni rolls. Whether it’s a quick snack or a crowd-pleasing party appetizer, these delightful rolls are sure to be a hit!

The Pros and Cons of Pepperoni Rolls

As with any culinary creation, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. On the plus side, the pepperoni roll’s handheld nature makes it a convenient snack for those on the go. Its simplicity also ensures a quick and delightful bite. However, some might argue that the richness of the pepperoni roll can be a tad indulgent, making it a treat best enjoyed in moderation.

In Conclusion: A Flavorful Legacy

In the grand tapestry of West Virginia’s culinary landscape, the pepperoni roll stands tall as a testament to the fusion of immigrant traditions and local innovation. Its irresistible combination of doughy goodness and spicy pepperoni has not only satisfied the hunger of generations but has also become a source of pride for the state. So, the next time you’re in West Virginia, take a savory journey into the heart of its food history with a pepperoni roll in hand – a culinary creation as unique and vibrant as the state itself.

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