Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia hosted "Rolls on the River: Celebrating WV Day, Supporting WV Youth" on Tuesday, June 20 - West Virginia's birthday - at Haddad Riverfront Park.
This event brought together pepperoni roll makers from all around the state and craft beer - a match made in #AlmostHeaven.
The event promotes Appalachian culture and food, highlights culinary talent and raises money to support Mountain State youth, via Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central WV. Participants competed in two categories – the “People’s Choice Award” and the “Judges’ Best Roll on the River Award.” The judges were state folklorist Emily Hilliard, Charleston television emcee Jim Strawn, and author Candace Nelson.
The book has been getting some great press attention, and this festival - the first of its kind of be solely dedicated to the pepperoni roll - was just an absolute perfect fit. I'm excited to see the pepperoni roll is getting its time to shine. So, this festival and the book went perfectly together, and I was fortunate enough to be a judge and get to try all 11 different pepperoni rolls! There were some great contenders out there, so I wanted to have a small recap so you can see what you can try next year!
Paterno's at the Park - a nicely seasoned roll with a bit of cheese mingling with the pepperoni.
A Step in Time - This bakery traveled all the way from Harpers Ferry! Super tasty, nice soft bun - and even a sweet treat!
Lil' Bit of Heaven Cupcakes - This one brought some ground pepperoni to the game!
Swiftwater Cafe - I learned I'm a big fan of these rolls at my Taylor Books signing - nice roll, few slices of pepperoni and cheese make it a nice, tasty bite.
Colasessano's - The most traditional pepperoni roll, or should I say pepperoni bun, and the only one with sticks!
Sam's Uptown Cafe - This tomato basil sauce was delish! Like, I almost drank it. Maybe. The pepperoni roll itself was good, too!
Starling's Coffee & Provisions - I was impressed Starlings brought their vegetarian roll - definitely a little different, but happy to see the accommodations.
Mountain Pie Company - I love the addition of the sauce, and this one would've been a favorite for anyone who likes that extra pepperoni grease.
Pepperoni Grill - I've not yet been to this restaurant, but now that they have one of the tastiest pepperoni rolls, I have to make a trip. I loved the pepperoni rolled up inside the bun, plus cheese, plus sauce. Just all around top notch.
Ms. Groovy's Kitchen - This simple roll did a more traditional take with tiny bits of ground pepperoni and no add-ons.
Rolling Pepperoni - This place is super cool because it's the only pepperoni roll food truck in existence. Plus, great pepperoni rolls!
People's Choice: Mountain Pie
Traditional Pepperoni Roll: Mrs. Groovy's
Modern Pepperoni Roll: Pepperoni Grill
The event was SO popular that it sold out! So, if you are interested in checking out the second year - make sure to get your tickets early! Tickets were $25 in advance, and include samples of pepperoni rolls and craft beer, music and access to artisan and other food vendors.
Visit www.RollsOnTheRiverWV.com for more information.