A listener asked, "Does New Hampshire actually have any signature foods?" The contentious consensus, covered by Word of Mouth, is traditional boiled dinner.
But for Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in New Hampshire, NHPR’s Christina Phillips offers her own suggestion, just in time for fall: Apple cider doughnuts.
Many popular New Hampshire foods have already been "claimed" by other states. Vermont's got maple syrup, Maine and lobster pretty much go hand in hand (or claw). So maybe New Hampshire's signature dish is more of a signature attitude: make something out of what you have in abundance. And in fall? That's apples.
Jessica Stephens, owner of Cider Bellies Doughnuts in Meredith, agreed.
"Apple is a New Hampshire thing," she said. "I mean, our weather is built for apple picking, and apple cider, and apple sauce. But apple cider doughnuts? I mean, it kind of brings everything together."
Stephens started Cider Bellies after she moved to New Hampshire from New York, and wanted a cider doughnut recipe all her own. Stephens' husband used to be the manager for Moulton Farms in Meredith, and pitched the idea to farm owner, John Moulton. Stephens said Moulton didn't want to create a cider doughnut, "but he said if I'm interested, I could do it."
Stephens spent a few months perfecting the recipe, and then they were in business. Cider Bellies operates from a small building on the Moulton Farms property, and also has a truck at the Hooksett Welcome Center on 1-93.
"The apple cider is locally sourced," Stephens said. "We work with different orchards within New Hampshire, and we bring it in throughout the year."
Earlier this year, Cider Bellies represented New Hampshire in Washington, D.C., for the Made-In-America Showcase, where they got to make their doughnuts in the White House kitchen.
Stephens said cider doughnuts are a natural ambassador for the Granite State. "It's not that Southern comfort food, but it's the warm sugary food. A doughnut is fattening and sweet and it's a delectable treat."
After a hot hike up one of New Hampshire's 4,000-footers, a cold day on the slopes, or a fall trip to look at the foliage, that sweet, fattening cider doughnut might be just what you need.