Nibble Your Way Through Winston-Salem
North Carolina’s city of culinary arts and innovation launches a Moravian Cookie Trail.
With more than a million pounds of Moravian cookies baked in Winston-Salem each year, there’s no doubt the city is the place to taste this historical confection. While the first cookies featured ginger, clove and molasses, today’s flavors run the gamut from traditional spice and black walnut to pomegranate lime and espresso. Moravian cookies are also exquisitely thin, with some bakers dubbing them the “world’s thinnest cookie.”
In 1753, the Moravians — a devout, German-speaking, Christian group originally from Eastern Europe — migrated to North Carolina due to its fertile soil, abundant water and temperate climate. They settled on more than 100,000 pristine acres in the heart of Winston-Salem and brought their baking traditions with them. Three iconic bakeries subsequently produced a local craving for the ginger spice cookies and still make them today.
No trip to Winston-Salem is complete without nibbling on a few cookies as you walk the cobblestone streets of Old Salem, take in the city’s vibrant arts scene or hop over to surrounding wine country. We’ll be bringing you a full travel piece on Winston-Salem and its past and present this holiday season, but for now suggest adding a stop on the Moravian Cookie Trail to your itinerary this summer and into the new year.
Top Moravian Cookie Trail Destinations in Winston-Salem:
More than 200 years old, Winkler Bakery in Old Salem features the original wood-fired dome oven that has baked breads, cakes and confections since it was built in 1800. Bakers in period costumes welcome visitors, offer samples and make Moravian Sugar Cake and bread. (Because of the volume, today’s cookies are made in a larger bakery, offsite, but can be purchased in the gift shop.) The Winkler cookie recipe sold today is adapted and updated from historic versions originally baked in the wood-fired oven.
A Winston-Salem original since 1930, Dewey’s Bakery is a household name, especially during the Easter, wedding and holiday seasons. Visit their bakeries at 262 S Stratford Road at Thruway Shopping Center and 2820 Reynolda Road at Reynolda Manor. During the holidays, you’ll see pop-up locations spring into action across North Carolina to satisfy seasonal cravings.
You’ll have to visit this spot virtually online and at displays in fine supermarkets and specialty stores across the country. Founded in 1992 when Dewey’s Bakery couldn’t fulfill increasing demand, this label has everything from chocolate-dipped and chocolate-enrobed Moravian Cookies to traditional Ginger Spice selections, Meyer lemon, key lime and more. Today, the company bakes and distributes more than a million pounds of Moravian cookies nationwide annually.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Clemmons, a suburb of Winston-Salem, Mrs. Hanes’ cookies were named a favorite by Oprah Winfrey in 2010. Public tours at this bakery provide visitors the opportunity to see the family-run cookie company in action. “Artists in Aprons” hand roll, hand cut and hand package more than 110,000 pounds of dough each year.
Salem Kitchen proudly carries Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Cookies. It’s the perfect stop before packing a picnic and heading out to visit a winery or one of our parks.
Restaurants with cookie creations are on the trail, too:
Order their signature Moravian Cookie & Pecan-Crusted Salmon served with sweet potato flapjacks, sautéed spinach, fennel slaw and vanilla bean beurre blanc. It’s always on the menu.
The Tavern at Old Salem serves up fresh Moravian cuisine and often sources their produce from the surrounding heirloom gardens of Old Salem. Cross your fingers they are serving homemade ice cream made with spicy ginger crumbs as a special, Chef Jared’s specialty menu item Moravian Cookie-Crusted Frenched Lamb Rack or his mom’s traditional Moravian syllabub. This restaurant is located a few blocks down the street from Winkler Bakery at Old Salem Museums & Gardens.
Buzz by the Twin City Hive, where this chocolate shop is housed under the same roof as the local segway tour company. Enjoy coffee, baked goods and the handiwork of Haute Chocolate’s Jiliana Dulaney. Her Moravian Ginger Cookie Truffles are often a featured chocolate creation.
Trail locations and descriptions provided by Visit Winston-Salem.
Photo credits, from top: Tin of Moravian cookies courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem; rolling out dough at Mrs. Hanes, Mr. and Mrs Hanes and front porch at Tavern at Old Salem by Deep South.