Philly's sweet side
Discover the sweet side of the City of Brotherly Love—ice cream, cupcakes, whoopie pies, chocolate, macarons, donuts, and flaky delights to accompany your coffee.

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Whoopie! Pennsylvania's Delicious Invention

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Never has a yummy treat been mired in such controversy as the Whoopie Pie. First, how did this burger-shaped cake with the sugary cream filling get its name? Does the name come from the exclamation that schoolchildren shouted upon opening their lunch bags to discover these delights? Or does it come from the Amish farmers, who were rewarded with these portable “pies” in their lunch boxes? My vote (and Pennsylvania Dutch lore) favors the school kids.

But wait—there’s more controversy! While I am one hundred percent certain that these little cakes called pies originated in my lovely state of Pennsylvania, it seems that the state of Maine has also laid claim to their origin, even going so far as to name the Whoopie Pie as its "official state treat." Other research points to somewhere in New York state as their birthplace. We may never know…

There was a time not long ago when Whoopie Pies felt much like a prized local secret because no one outside of Pennsylvania had ever heard of them (excepting, I guess, some of those Mainers). These days, though, you can even find Whoopie Pies in the bakery sections at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. But the most authentic and delicious version can only be found at the Amish bakery Beiler's in the Reading Terminal Market. My personal favorite is the pumpkin flavor, but the chocolate is also delicious. Or maybe try the oatmeal, or the red velvet. Better yet, try one of each—they’re portable!

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by Sue Manuel
AFAR Local Expert
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