Our group chose to pursue the idea of making a multimedia story on the history of the pepperoni roll. I was shocked to find that there was so much history between coal miners and pepperoni rolls. Pepperoni rolls are a relatively new tradition in Appalachia (less than 100 years old) but are a culinary staple throughout the region. The Country Club bakery is only one of a few dozen pepperoni roll bakeries throughout the state of West Virginia.
We first decided to shoot at the Country Club bakery in Fairmont, West Virgina. We had to arrive early in the morning (around 7:30am) to shoot the preparation of the rolls. The room where the rolls were prepared was not large enough to house three workers, equipment, and five people shooting pictures and film. We got really good footage of the bakers creating the pepperoni rolls from slabs of dough and stuffing them with sticks of pepperoni.
We met Chris Pallotta the current owner of the bakery. He explained to us the process of making a pepperoni roll and it takes a couple of hours from cutting the dough, to proofing, folding, stuffing and baking. Only a handful of employees work at the bakery making it unique compared to some of the bigger factories who mass produce pepperoni rolls.
Pepperoni rolls can be purchased from gas stations, grocers and bakeries people can enjoy them at restaurants through out Appalachia. We also filmed at the Colasessano’s located in the Bellview section of Fairmont. Different ages, genders, and races were enjoying the eateries take on a pepperoni roll; Italian bread served open faced stuffed with cheese, and topped with sauce and the customer’s choice of peppers. Depending on which recipe pepperoni rolls can come served with pepperoni slices or sticks, no cheese, cheese and can be topped with vegetables, cheese, or sauce.
I had finally to gotten a chance to discover the City of Fairmont which is located about 30 minutes south from West Virginia University and Morgantown. The city of itself has an old time charm and is much larger than I expected. As the pepperoni capital of the world Fairmont was the central location for our story.
Surprisingly national media outlets such as Women’s Day Magazine along with various other local media outlets like the Dominion Post, the Charleston Daily Mail and the Times West Virginia had been to the bakery to cover the same story we were.