On the Road to Winston-Salem, NC and a Recipe for Moravian Sugar Cake
The historic town of Salem is much like a small version of Williamsburg (in Virginia); its streets lined with the original colonial homes and interpreters dressed in period costumes. Many of the homes are open for tours where you can learn about life in Salem in the 18th and early 19th centuries. You can also tour the heirloom gardens, see a hearth cooking demonstration at Miksch House, and dine in the old tavern. The menu at The Tavern includes a number of traditional Moravian dishes, such as Moravian Chicken Pie, which is a different version of what we know as traditional Chicken Pot Pie. This pie is filled with meat only, no vegetables, and is served with the sauce or gravy on top.
Interested in what other traditional foods the Moravians were known for, we headed down the street to the Winkler Bakery. Things have not changed much at this bakery since it first opened its doors in 1800. For over 200 years, the dome bake oven (which is fueled with wood) still produces some of the original baked goods, much as it has always done on Main Street in Salem. One of these baked goods is their popular Moravian Sugar Cake, which is a yeast bread topped with a gooey, buttery cinnamon-sugar mixture that makes it perfect as a coffee cake or afternoon snack. You can also purchase other Moravian specialties at the bakery, such as Moravian Sugar Cookies: thin and crisp wafer-like cookies that are similar in flavor to gingerbread.
One of the major projects at Old Salem is the work that is being done with the heirloom gardens department and their African and African American Seed Saving program. During our visit, we met with Eric Jackson, who is in charge of the gardens and seed saving program. This collection of seeds, known as the Homowo Harvest Collection, is from various heirloom vegetables, herbs, and flowers that were growing in America by 1900. These seeds are available for purchase in Old Salem to grow at home in your own garden or farm. Their vision is to bring these varieties back, that unfortunately, most of us have never heard of or have had access to in the past.