Is west virginia the only state with pepperoni rolls?

The pepperoni roll is found primarily in West Virginia and some of the nearby surrounding areas, such as western Pennsylvania, the Ohio Appalachians, and western Maryland. It originated there and can still be found there today. Created by Italian coal miners and their wives, the pepperoni roll has become West Virginia's staple. Pepperoni rolls are often associated with the state of West Virginia and the surrounding area.

They are important to the history of the state and of the people who live here. It's such a unique food that when you travel across the country, many people you talk to have never heard of a pepperoni roll. Here in West Virginia, food can be found at just about any supermarket or convenience store. It can be argued that it's the most popular snack in the state.

The pepperoni roll is considered a cornerstone of culture in north-central West Virginia, an area with a large Italian population. Giuseppe Argiro, an Italian immigrant and coal miner, created this popular dish in 1927 by taking an already popular snack of pepperoni sticks and bread bars one step further. Argiro baked the pepperoni inside the bread, which caused the fats in the pepperoni to melt and infuse the soft bread with its spicy oil. Needless to say, the pepperoni roll was an instant hit.

Not only was it tasty, but coal miners appreciated its portability and lack of need for cooling. It could be eaten by hand and it was often okay to eat it as leftovers a day later. And there's a major league-approved pepperoni bagel eating contest that takes place during the annual Three Rivers Festival. Giuseppe's original bakery, Country Club Bakery, is still in operation today and continues to bake his basic recipe for fresh pepperoni rolls every day.

According to Country Club Bakery, the pepperoni roll was invented by its founder Giuseppe 'Joseph' Argiro. They're even included in festivals, fairs, baking, and food contests, and so far Joey Chestnut holds the world record for the most pepperoni rolls eaten. A bakery just a few miles from the Clarksburg, West Virginia country club, which is the oldest Italian bakery in West Virginia, also developed a pepperoni roll around the same time, so it's often disputed who was the first to start marketing the snack. Pepperoni rolls took many forms, from cheese, shredded or ground meat and stuffed on a ramp to single-pile and multi-stack varieties.

Tomaro's Bakery, the oldest Italian bakery in the state and just a few miles away in Clarksburg, developed its version of the pepperoni roll around the same time. The story of pepperoni rolls, along with the culture they have brought to West Virginia, will be consolidated in the state's daily life and will continue to grow over time. Bakeries in north-central West Virginia, such as D'Annunzio's Italian Bread, Abruzzino's Italian Bakery, Chico Bakery (home of Julia's pepperoni rolls), the world-famous Colasessano pizza, Rogers and Mazza (Marty's) pepperoni rolls, and Home Industry Bakery have their own unique version of this treat. With the popularity of pepperoni rolls today, they can be found almost anywhere in West Virginia, such as backdoors, weddings, and parties, just to name a few.

Last summer, a historic monument was placed outside the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, the 94-year-old still-functioning monument that claims to be the birthplace of the state's iconic pepperoni rolls. Home Industry in Clarksburg was the one that started adding cheese to the mix, and now there are pepperoni rolls that contain different types of cheese, from American cheese to pepper jack and even gouda. It's an interesting content and it makes me appreciate the fighting spirit of the bakers and I'm glad that the senator intervened, because I couldn't imagine West Virginia without pepperoni rolls at every gas station, let alone in a bakery.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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