Like many states, West Virginia when founded, was made up of diverse people and cultures coming together. Native Americans, Germans, Irish, Scottish, and Europeans all migrated to the Appalachians. They brought with them their culture and traditions and also the flavors they were used to eating. Fall flavors found in Randolph County can be anything from sauerkraut to homemade apple butter. Different establishments take these various flavors into consideration when autumn approaches in the West Virginia mountains.
Waking up to the cool, crisp mornings where the leaves on the trees are draped with the burnt oranges, dark reds, and deep maroon colors can be one of the best ways to start your day in Randolph County. Like most people, you might need a little extra umph and warmth to get your limbs moving. Downtown Elkins has a few coffeehouses and a donut shop that carry just what you might be looking for on a fall morning or an afternoon warm-me-up. TipTop is a well-known multi-roaster café. They offer a variety of specialty coffees and pastries including the official flavor of fall, Pumpkin Spice. The Crossing Coffee Bar, located inside The Delmonte Market, boasts popular fall flavors like pumpkin spice, pumpkin cheesecake, butterbeer, and caramel apple. The Crossing Coffee Bar is also home to delicious hand dipped ice cream and if you are craving something cold, the pumpkin ice cream is quite fulfilling. Henry G’s Cafe and Byrd’s House of Donuts are two other must-haves when visiting, offering a mix of seasonal pastries and donuts.
You might have expected the tradition of making apple butter had disappeared a long time ago due to the time consuming process of stirring it. For many families in West Virginia and the Appalachians it’s become a way for families to gather and continue the tradition. The roots of apple butter descend from Germany. Producing apple butter is very labor-intensive, from picking the apples to peeling and chopping them, to stirring for hours. It’s an all hands-on deck type of work, but in the end it’s all worth it especially with the memories made along the way. Sometimes families take this tradition so seriously that it takes precedence over gathering for Thanksgiving. You can find West Virginia apple butter at local shops throughout Randolph County.
Preserving food like apple butter and sauerkraut means much more than extending the garden’s harvest. It’s a way to connect with the practices and traditions of our ancestors. West Virginia is made up of different cultural lineages. Sauerkraut is another fall flavor that can be found in many households and restaurants of West Virginia. As the transition begins into the colder months, the cabbages in the garden begin to peak and it becomes time to make sauerkraut. If you’ve never had sauerkraut, expect a mildly tart and tangier flavor as the right level of fermentation is reached. The process of making sauerkraut from beginning to end takes about 6 weeks so patience is virtue. You can normally find sauerkraut as a seasonal side at different restaurants around the county.
Big Timber Brewing always has something up their sleeve when fall arrives. Beer is good for the soul and as the colder nights approach it’s a great way to cap off the evening. The traditional Forest Fest beer otherwise known as their version of a bold Oktoberfest leaves your palate with a smooth malty sweet caramel finish. Another delicious signature Big Timber beer is their Porter. Normally on draft, this heavy, full of flavor and coffee beverage is packed full of complex flavors and aromas. Strong notes of coffee, dark chocolate and subtle hints of tobacco and dried fruit, will fill your mouth with these rich flavors that linger on your palate. Additionally, Big Timber just produced the Overgrowth Triple IPA. This big, hoppy entanglement has over 10 pounds of hops per barrel and is dry hopped with citra, zappa, and el dorado. This brew will keep you warm well into wintertime.
‘Tis the season for whiskey sipping and spirits. Still Hollow Spirits, a farm to bottle distillery, has just what you are looking for. Their smooth corn whiskey and cranberries meet and mellow together in the hollows of West Virginia. Not only do they have specialty spirits, they also produce bourbon, a few types of corn whiskey, and mountain gin. Although maple syrup is normally a springtime tradition in the mountains, it’s also delicious on pancakes in the fall. Still Hollow Spirits produces a Bourbon Barrell Aged WV Maple Syrup or Honey for those who do not partake in drinking. If beer and whiskey aen’t your cup of “tea”, then check out the Vintage Restaurant & Wine Bar for the finest selection of wines in the county.
No matter where the rolling hills of Randolph County take you this autumn, there are a wide variety of flavors to consume or take home. Randolph County is Flavored by Nature.