When it comes to flavor, big cities get all the attention. From the classic Chicago hot dog to the New York-style pizza, it's a badge of honor to be known for something delicious.

But while Rice-A-Roni may be the San Francisco treat, these five small Iowa towns really bring the big-time flavor. And that brings them all some well-deserved recognition.

So let's embark on a statewide trek to indulge our taste buds and salute our hometown heroes.

First stop: Dubuque where Cousins Eric and Michael Gantz began brewing premium beans at Verena Street Coffee ten years ago. Their coffee is named after the neighborhood street they grew up on in Dubuque. The street is long gone, paved over by a freeway. We hope the coffee is here to stay. Top Verena Street flavors include Mississippi Grog and Cow Tipper.

Photo: Verena Street

Our next trip takes us to Donutland in Cedar Rapids for an old fashioned fried cake donut that can't be beaten. They've been around since 1971 and have kept the retro look of the original donut shop at their location on Center Point Road. Nostalgic and sweet, a fresh Donutland donut goes great with coffee.

Donutland - Facebook

We continue traveling south for a crispy, salty snack Sterzing's Potato Chips from Burlington, IA It''s a known fact that these chips deliver flavor so it's also nice to know they still operate in that old-world tradition. Sliced and salted, crispy, and crunchy.

Sterzing's - Facebook   

The next stop is in Davenport, for a double-dip of Whitey's Ice Cream.  The family business started back in 1933 with Chester "Whitey" Lindgren whose nickname became the company name. Their tradition of quality remains the same. It truly is the creamiest, sweetest ice cream I've ever had, so it's well worth the premium price.


Finally, we travel across the state to Sioux City for candy so unique it has its own category and name: the Palmer Candy Company's Twin Bing. It's a cherry cream-filled chocolate that can't really be described as a candy bar. It's more like an oversized box chocolate thing. If it brings back memories of winter holidays it's because one might find these stuffed into their Christmas stockings each year from Santa.

Palmer Candy - Facebook
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