pepperoni rollsI’m having a launch party for The Sound of Rain this evening. Because the book is set in WV and SC, refreshments will include a table of WV treats and one of SC goodies. Which means I absolutely HAD to include some WV pepperoni rolls!

These rolls are so common in my home state, that I was surprised to find folks outside the borders don’t much know what they are. So, in case you fall into that category, here you go:

Pepperoni rolls were invented in the 1920s by Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro, an Italian miner who saw his fellow miners carrying bread and chunks of cured pepperoni into the mines for a lunch that wouldn’t spoil. He thought to bake the pepperoni inside the roll–which infuses the bread with all that fatty goodness–and his rolls were so popular he gave up mining and opened the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, WV, in 1927.

And yes, you can still go there and get your pepperoni rolls today. As a matter of fact, you should!

As with many beloved regional foods, there is, of course, some controversy. Should the pepperoni be in sticks or slices? Or, in rare instances, ground? Is it okay to add cheese? When do you cross the line from pepperoni roll to pizza roll? I leave these deep questions for you to ponder. (The best way to decide, of course, is through an exhaustive tasting process.)

My pepperoni rolls came from Rogers & Mazza’s in Mt. Clare, WV. If you want, they’ll send you some, too! I recommend warming them, but they’re delicious just as they are.

And if you’re in the Asheville area, come on by my launch party at 62 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC, and you can taste one!