Greater Morgantown West Virginia
Greater Morgantown is a foodies paradise, whether you’re a serious connoisseur or a chef yourself. Countless customs, traditions, and recipes passed down over generations are a vibrant part of the area’s daily life and make “Mountaineer Country” an epicenter of Appalachian culture. The region was an ethnic melting pot as well; from the 1880s to the 1920s, coal mines attracted immigrants from Europe. Slovak, Polish, Hungarian, and Italian roots are common in the region, and their heritage has become an indistinguishable part of the Greater Morgantown fabric.
There’s no better way to get a true taste of “Mountaineer Spirit” than to take a day and sample the local wines and the ports fortified with moonshine at Forks-of-Cheat Winery. Save time to stop by West Virginia’s oldest operating microbrewery, Morgantown Brewing Company, for craft brews. You’re bound to run into friendly people, eager to share their stories and learn about yours over the rim of a glass!
Pepperoni rolls are one of the little known treasures of the Mountain State, and the culinary concoction is simple — bread dough wrapped around pepperoni. Its inventor, Giuseppe (Joseph) Argiro came from Calabria, Italy in 1920 to work in the area coal mines. A common lunch for immigrant miners consisted of “a slab of bread, a chunk of pepperoni, and a bucket of water,” according to Giuseppe’s son Frank.
Although the exact timing is unknown, at some point between 1927 and 1938 Giuseppe began placing the spicy pepperoni within the bread, and the pepperoni roll was born.
Combining the bread and pepperoni had a couple of practical aspects: It turned a two-fisted eating experience into a convenient, one-handed operation, and pepperoni rolls do not need to be refrigerated for storage.
Traditionally, pepperoni rolls are split and filled with stewed green peppers topped with mozzarella cheese and broiled until the cheese melts. Variations on the original pepperoni roll may contain different types of cheese, peppers, etc. The pepperoni can take several forms: a single stick, several folded slices; or shredded or ground meat
In 2013, a resolution was presented to the West Virginia legislature proposing that the “humble pepperoni roll” become the state’s official food—at last.
Another favorite food that’s popular in the Mountain State is buckwheat cakes made from buckwheat flour. Don’t confuse it with a pancake. It’s thinner, browner, and has a slightly sour taste. Traditionally, the cake is served with lots of butter and maple syrup, but today’s recipes use the flour in crepes, muffins, soba noodles, and flat bread.
Homage is annually paid to buckwheat in the rural mountains of West Virginia. Late in the Great Depression, Preston County, West Virginia found economic recovery slow. Buckwheat was planted as an “insurance crop” because of its short growing season and good quality. Farmers chose buckwheat as the focus for an end-of-harvest homecoming in 1938 and thus blossomed the Preston County Buckwheat Festival. September 24-27, 2015, more than 100,000 people will attend the four-day county fair in Kingwood, West Virginia to celebrate the buckwheat harvest.
The medleys of tastes in and around Greater Morgantown are an invitation to partake in a little bit of mouthwatering heaven, and that’s to be expected from “Almost Heaven, West Virginia”.