Food Not To Miss In New Hampshire

Cultural Favorites, Comfort Food Highlight New Hampshire Cuisine

New Hampshire offers many opportunities to experience the region's history and heritage through food, but several dishes stand out as unique to the area and are worth a culinary exploration for the uninitiated.

New England Clam Chowder
New Hampshire has a proud and distinguished relationship with the region's legendary clam chowder (aka chowda), which dates back to the early 19th century and is celebrated with annual festivals and competitions in Portsmouth, Hampton Beach and other coastal towns. Many believe the dish evolved as a meat substitute for those observing the Christian tradition of Lent, and is still a Friday favorite in most homes and restaurants in the state. Considered a comfort food for locals, the popular soup is served in two forms in New Hampshire: thick and creamy or with clear broth and alongside cream to be added based on preference and taste. But locals are quick to point out that New England chowder should never be confused with the Manhattan-style, which is tomato-based and is rarely offered in the same area restaurants as the cream variety.

New Hampshire Tourtière
Tourtière, or Christmas pork pie, as it's known throughout New England, is a regional delicacy with roots in the Acadian culture found in French-Canadian border provinces. Relegated as a Christmas Eve meal in most homes, the dish is readily available in restaurants and grocery stores in New Hampshire. There are many variations on the traditional recipe whereby the main ingredient is substituted for veal or beef. But in the Granite State the dish is usually made with ground pork and potatoes in a deep dish, and is seasoned with either cinnamon or ground nutmeg and cloves.

Portsmouth Orange Cake
Spongy and sweet in all the right places, Portsmouth orange cake is a favorite of many New Hampshire natives, who feasted on the dessert as children and who now consider the soft cake a summertime staple. It is usually made with orange zest or rinds and often with orange-flavored cream-cheese frosting. But some Portsmouth area restaurants and home bakers also add fresh-picked cranberries from New Hampshire bogs to sweeten the already wonderful after-dinner delight.
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