Unlike other New England states that have very specific foods they’re known for – such as lobster in Maine or maple syrup in Vermont – New Hampshire food is, for the most part, influenced by other cultures and neighboring states. In addition to European influences brought over with early settlers, you’ll also find Native American and French Canadian foods appear in New Hampshire cuisine.
Agriculture also plays a role in the food New Hampshire is known for, and its dairy farms, apple orchards, honey cultivation, and tradition of hunting and fishing all play a role in the state’s cuisine. Local companies also influence the food New Hampshire is known for such as a nationally distributed yogurt company and a world-renowned chocolatier.
Here are 11 New Hampshire foods you’ll want to try when you visit.
According to NH Public Radio one of the foods New Hampshire is most well known for is boiled dinner. While this is a traditional dish eaten throughout New England, New Hampshirites are especially known to enjoy this meal. Essentially, a boiled dinner consists of corned beef brisket or ham hemmed in by a variety of root vegetables along with a couple thick slices of cabbage – all boiled together in a pot.
New Hampshire’s location on the Atlantic coast, although small, provides it with access to an abundance of fresh seafood. Lobster, clams, and scallops are among the most sought-after seafood varieties found in New Hampshire, and are often served in the state’s many seafood restaurants. Not surprisingly, the state is also known for the classic seafood dishes of fried clams and fish or clam chowder.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), New Hampshire produces nearly 24.5 million pounds of apples each year. And those apples go to good use! Some popular ways of using apples include pressing them for apple cider, turning them into pies, and baking the beloved favorite, apple cider donuts. Some of the most popular apple varieties grown in New Hampshire include McIntosh, Cortland, and Honeycrisp.
While its neighbor to the west, Vermont, is by far the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, New Hampshire ranks #7 in the country, bringing in 99,000 gallons a year. In addition to seeing maple syrup for sale in shops and featured on menus in restaurants, treats like maple cream, a sweet and creamy spread, are also popular in the state.
Stonyfield, the national distributor of organic yogurts is located in Londonderry. Founded in 1983, Stonyfield has grown to become one of the largest organic yogurt brands in the country, producing a wide range of yogurt products including plain yogurt, flavored yogurt, Greek yogurt, and kids’ yogurt, among others. The company is also known for its commitment to using organic ingredients and sustainable practices in its production processes.
Wild Game Meat
Another food New Hampshire is known for is wild game. New Hampshire residents enjoy hunting and preparing their own meat including venison, or deer meat, which can be used in stews, roasts or burgers. Other popular game meats include moose, bear, and wild turkey. Non-hunters can find wild game served at restaurants such as Rainbow Grille & Tavern at Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg.
L.A. Burdick is renowned for creating some of the best chocolates in the nation and its headquarters and flagship store is in Walpole. Its signature creation is chocolate mice that come in three different flavors: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. These mice are so popular that Mark Zuckerberg gave them to his wedding guests as gifts.
Among the foods New Hampshire is known for is mead wine, also known as honey wine. The wine is made by fermenting honey and water with yeast over several months or even years. New Hampshire has a strong beekeeping tradition and an abundance of local honey which has increased the popularity of mead in recent years.
Another popular food in New Hampshire is grilled or fried lake bass. Fishing is a beloved pastime in New Hampshire, and many families have traditions of catching and cooking their own fish. Lake bass is a common catch in the lakes region of New Hampshire and bass populations in these water bodies are healthy, and fishing regulations allow for sustainable harvest.
Cheese is a New Hampshire food due to the state’s availability of fresh milk from local farms. New Hampshire has a long tradition of dairy farming, and many farmers have turned to cheese-making as a way to add value to their milk. New Hampshire cheeses can be found at farmer’s markets, cheese shops, and restaurants throughout the state.
One dish New Hampshirites have acquired from their northern neighbor, Canada, is poutine. This savory dish is made with crispy french fries, smothered in cheese curds, and generously drizzled with hot gravy. It’s not unusual to find poutine on the menu in restaurants and food trucks throughout New Hampshire.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.