Iconic Foods in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has treats to satisfy all of your cravings. From authentic Dutch cuisine to piled high cheesesteaks, Pennsylvania is known for its good eats. Visit the Keystone State to indulge in decadent chocolate, hand crafted pretzels, iconic Whoopie Pies and a variety of delicious treats across the state.

 

Taste of Philly - Philadelphia and the Countryside

Cheesesteaks

Cheesesteaks, a long roll topped with thinly sliced rib eye beef and melted cheese, are a Philadelphia icon and have drawn visitors to the region for more than 80 years. In 1930, Pat Olivier, a South Philadelphia hot dog vendor, decided to put some beef from the butcher on his grill. A taxicab driver noticed the alluring aroma and asked for his own steak sandwich. The next day, rumor of the delicious lunch had spread, and cabbies around the city came to Olivieri demanding steak sandwiches. His idea was an instant success, and his legacy continues on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue at Pat’s King of Steaks. Located directly across the street is Geno’s Steaks, founded by Joey Veno in 1966. Veno decided on the location because he wanted it to be placed where people were already eating cheesesteaks. The two cheesesteak meccas have competed to win best cheesesteak in Philadelphia for more than 40 years.

Pretzels

You’ll never have to go far for tasty treats in Philadelphia - soft pretzels are sold on almost every street corner. The twisted, chewy pretzel, often topped off with yellow mustard, was brought to Philadelphia in the 1700s by German settlers and continues to be a beloved Philadelphia treat. Stop by Center City Pretzel or the Philly Pretzel Factory for one of these famous soft pretzels.

Mushrooms

The “Mushroom Capital of the World” is located in Kennett Square, where more than 50 percent of the nation’s mushroom crops are grown. Visit The Mushroom Cap in the heart of Kennett Square for a special film and exhibits showcasing the history of the mushroom industry in the area. An abundance of mushrooms are also available at local farmers markets with more than one million pounds of mushrooms produced every week. Visitors can also experience the annual Mushroom Festival, featuring more than 200 vendors, culinary exhibits, farm tours and mushroom soup cook-offs.

 

Taste of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh and its Countryside

The Primanti Brothers® has been a Pittsburgh tradition since the 1940s and a must-see for locals and visitors. The iconic establishment in Pittsburgh’s Strip District is known for its massive sandwiches on fresh Italian bread piled high with meat, cheese, fresh-cut fries, tomatoes and cole slaw.

Pittsburgh also has a rich Polish heritage, known especially for its famous pierogies that can be found all throughout the city. Head to Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks, Pa., and see why they were voted “Pittsburgh’s Best Pierogi.”

 

Dutch Country Cuisine - Dutch Country Roads

These authentic Pennsylvania Dutch foods can be found at Shady Maple Smorgasbord and Lancaster Central Market, the country’s oldest farmers market, in Lancaster, Pa.

Whoopie Pies

German and Swiss settlers brought Pennsylvania Dutch food to central Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries, including baked goods like Whoopie pies. These sweet treats are made up of two cake-like cookies sandwiched around a cream center, typically sold at farmers markets throughout the region.

Shoofly Pie

Shoofly pie is a sweet treat that is home to central Pennsylvania. This dessert is made of brown sugar and gooey molasses and got its name because bakers had to “shoo” the flies away as the pies cooled.

Potpie

Not only is Lancaster, Pa., known for their sweet treats, but for their comfort meals. Potpie is a hearty meal that was used to sustain the energy of farmer’s throughout the day. Full of chicken broth, chicken and homemade dough, this traditional entrée is a staple of the region.

Scrapple

Settlers who first moved to the area were known for using every scrap of food they had, which is how the Dutch staple Scrapple came about. Scrapple is scraps of pork combined with cornmeal grilled and served at breakfast.

 

Salty Snacks:

Pretzels:

Synder’s of Hanover® began in 1909 as a pretzel producer in Hanover, Pa., and then started making potato chips and other salty snacks in the 1920s. Since then, Snyder’s® has grown and added a variety of salty snacks to their lineup including sweet and salty pretzel pieces, tortilla chips and salsa, as well as gluten-free pretzels. With advanced reservations, guests can enjoy a free guided tour through the factory for a glimpse of how tradition, technology and teamwork combine to make great tasting pretzels.

Chips:

The Utz® story began in 1921 in a home kitchen, producing about 50 pounds of chips an hour for local grocers and markets. Today, Utz® is the largest independent, privately held snack brand in the United States, producing more than 1,000,000 pounds of potato chips a week. Utz® also produces cheese curls, kettle chips and pretzels. See and smell the creation of Utz® potato chips during a free self-guided tour.

Now located in Chester County, Herr’s Snack Factory® began in Lancaster in 1946 when James Stauffer Herr bought a potato chip company. Herr’s business grew quickly, causing him to relocate to a bakery plant in West Willow in 1949. Today, Herr’s® is still a success with many salty snacks including pretzels, potato chips, popcorn, chocolate-covered pretzels and much more. Follow the production line from slicing and frying to bagging and boxing during a free tour. Visitors will also get the chance to taste a chip hot from the fryer and pick up a free bag of Herr’s® at the end of the complimentary tour.

 

Sweet Treats

Just Born®

Just Born®  began in 1910 when Sam Born emigrated to the U.S. from Russia. Just Born® is a family-owned confectionary company based in Bethlehem. The company is known for its iconic Peeps®, yellow, chick-shaped marshmallow confection that often comes in Easter baskets and is loved by all ages. Peeps now come in a unique variety of flavors such as sour watermelon, chocolate crème and strawberry crème. Just Born® also produces beloved candies such as Mike and Ike®, Peanut Chews® and Hot Tamales®.

Hershey’s Chocolate®

“The Sweetest Place on Earth®” is located in Hershey in the heart of central Pennsylvania, where Milton S. Hershey developed the town in 1905. Hershey is known for its delicious products such as Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar®, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®, Ice Breakers® and Jolly Ranchers ®. All of these products and many more can be purchased at Hershey’s Chocolate World®, a store and interactive experience with an abundance of sweet treats. Visitors can create their own chocolate bar and design their own unique packaging. Enjoy Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour Ride to see, feel, smell and hear about the delicious chocolate making process, including a complimentary sample.

Tastykake®

Phillip Bauer began baking these fresh, individually wrapped snack cakes in 1914. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Tastykake® is now one of the largest baking companies in the U.S. and is known for its delectable products such as Krimpets, Kandy Kakes and Donuts. Tastykake® is also known for its beloved pies, baking over 250,000 pies a day. Visitors can tour the facility at their new location at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

Turkey Hill®

More than 75 years ago, on Turkey Hill® Farm in Lancaster, Pa., Armor Frey began selling milk bottles to his neighbors. Little by little, his milk business grew and Frey’s sons bought his business in 1980. The sons began selling Turkey Hill® Ice Cream to local Lancaster County stores and the business took off. Today, visitors can discover the history of Turkey Hill® Farm, create their own unique ice cream flavor in the taste lab, and star in a Turkey Hill® commercial at the Turkey Hill Experience® in Lancaster.