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W.Va. pepperoni roll a tasty stocking stuffer

A West Virginia food staple has made the pages of Food Network Magazine's special holiday issue highlighting tasty gifts from all 50 states.

And no, the article doesn't recommend stuffing a stinky ramp in someone's stocking.

It was Colasessano's famous Pepperoni Rolls that made the cut.

"Pepperoni rolls have always been considered West Virginia's snack," the magazine says, "and Colasessano's serves them in the neighborhood where they were invented."

Good stuff.

You can check out the full list at


If the response from my recent musings on wine and 'shine tell me anything, it's this: Y'all like a good drink!

And because many will be raising a glass around holiday tables over the coming weeks, it seems appropriate to debunk a few widely held wine myths so you can enjoy guilt-free sipping of whatever wine you like — "rules" be darned.

David White, founder and editor of and author of a weekly "White's Wines" column, recently shared thoughts on his top five wine myths. Dude was spot-on, so I've folded his thoughts into my own to create the helpful hints that follow:

MYTH #1: Serve white wine with fish and red wine with meat.

While it's a good rule of thumb to serve lighter foods (like fish) with lighter wines (like white), that's not a foolproof pairing. Meatier fishes or those prepared with strong (tomatoes), earthy (mushrooms) or sweet (fruity sauces) will likely fair better with a delicate red like Pinot Noir. Spicy meat dishes (think Chinese, Thai and Indian cuisine) demand a rich, high-acid white like Riesling or Gewurztraminer to stand up to their sizzle.

MYTH #2: Sparkling wines like Champagne are only for special occasions.

Well that's just crazy talk. Sure, Champagne is a festive drink suitable for a celebration. But we have much more to celebrate than anniversaries and a new year, don't you think? The vibrant acidity and brightness of most sparkling wines also help them cut through spicy foods, complement many savory flavors and elevate even the simplest of dishes.

And it's the only socially acceptable wine to pop open for breakfast. Hello, mimosa!

MYTH #3: Sophisticated wine drinkers avoid Chardonnay and Merlot.

Not unless they want to miss out on some exceptional bottles. White says when Americans started developing a taste for wine in the 1990s, Merlot became the go-to grape for red and Chardonnay the go-to white, so the market quickly became flooded with "cheap, nondescript wine devoid of varietal character."

There are plenty of those still around, but today they're joined by some pretty incredible options. Some of the best wines I've tasted are extraordinary Chardonnays. And while I'm not a fan of most merlots, there are some exceptional ones out there. (Rutherford Hill comes to mind.)

MYTH #4: There are no good wines for less than $20.

Hogwash. As I discussed in a recent column, the cost of a bottle of wine doesn't always correspond to its quality. There are plenty of inexpensive, yet still nice, wines to be had. You just have to kiss a few cheap frogs to find your affordable prince.

White suggests looking for bottles from some of the world's unheralded wine regions — Portugal's Douro Valley, Washington's Columbia Valley, the Languedoc-Roussillion region of France and most of South Africa.

MYTH #5: Serve white wines chilled and red wines at room temperature.

Almost everyone believes this, and many of the "finest" restaurants serve reds too warm and whites too cold. Slightly chilling a red wine usually softens its harsher tannins, resulting in a smoother taste. And letting chilled whites temper a bit brings out so many more of their flavors, which are masked if the wine is too cold. You want your red slightly chilled and your whites cool but not cold.

My rule of thumb is exactly the same one White suggests. If you're drinking white, take it out of the fridge and let it set 20 to 30 minutes before serving. But put your bottle of red in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before enjoying it.

If you're interested in learning even more about wine, White's columns are archived at

Contact writer Steven Keith at or 304-348-4830. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at


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