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Central New York local food gift guide 2022

Well, it happened again: The holiday season is here.

Where to shop is a no-brainer: Shop small and local Central New York businesses to find tasty gifts and stocking stuffers the food (and drink) lovers and cooks on your list will enjoy year-round. Following are 11 suggestions.

Hot Crispy OilHot Crispy Oil: This fiery and flavorful condiment, similar to chili crisp and other chili oils with crunch, is made in the Albany area by John Trimble, a former restaurant owner who created the oil in his home kitchen during the pandemic. The product is made with blended olive oil, fried garlic and shallots, and a “proprietary blend’’ of chili peppers. Try it on rice, noodles, eggs, pizza, tacos, stuffed peppers and everything else you can think of. Buy it at Chuck Hafner’s Farmers Market, Lombardi’s Imports, Vince’s Gourmet Imports, Thanos Imports and other locations. Price: About $10. MORE INFO

Curd Nerd aged cheeses

The Curd Nerd: Grab a gift box or basket and head over to The Curd Nerd in Syracuse to fill it up with cheesy goodness for the cheese lover on your list. This small shop in Syracuse’s Eastwood neighborhood carries a wide selection of local, New York State and regional cheeses, and you’ll also find cheeses that need a passport to get here, like Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy, orange-hued mimolette from France, and goat cheese from Spain. (All cheeses are not available all of the time.) The Curd Nerd offers gift cards and carries things that go with cheese, like crackers, honey, jams, pickles and boards. MORE INFO

Old Home Distillers sampler box

Old Home Distillers minis: ‘Tis the season to imbibe a little, and what’s not to like about a sampler pack of small-batch bourbon, whiskey, rye, and gin from Old Home Distillers in Madison County? Put together a custom box with five of your favorite Old Home craft spirits or pick up an already-assembled assortment of five (50ml) bottles at the tasting room in Lebanon or a local farmers market (Old Home is at the Central New York Regional Market most Saturdays). They’ve got several maple- and spice-infused options that are a natural for this time of year. Price: Varies. MORE INFO

Cheffrey's pickles Hafner'sCheffrey’s Pickles: Sweet treats like cookies and candy canes get all the attention during the holiday season. How about something briny and a bit salty? Fulton-based business Cheffrey’s Pickle Pub specializes in homemade, hand-cut pickles and pickled vegetables (think dilly beans). Varieties include bread and butter, dill, garlic dill, spicy dill – you get the picture. Look for them at 20/East, Cazenovia, Ontario Orchards, Oswego, Nelson Farms Country Store, Nelson, and other locations. Price: $8-$23. MORE INFO

Winosaurs MHSWinosaurs: No, that’s not a typo. Winosaurs are gummy candy dinosaurs made with wine – hence their name. That makes them candy for the 21-and-over crowd. The candies were created by a couple who got married at a winery and were looking for a wine-themed wedding favor. Eureka. They decided to create their own favors and Winosaurs were born. The candies come in flavors like sangria, Moscato, peach Bellini and Rose. Look for Winosaurs at stores like Metro Home Style in Syracuse. Shipping is available to some states. Price: About $7. MORE INFO

Salt City Coffee holiday traditionsSalt City Coffee special holiday blend: Local roaster Salt City Coffee makes it a mission to partner with the Rescue Mission each holiday season. The goal is to spread joy and make a difference in the lives of others. For every purchase of a 12-ounce bag of Salt City’s Holiday Traditions blend, $4 will be donated to the Rescue Mission. Pick up a bag for the coffee lover on your list and grab one for yourself, too – Salt City Coffee’s goal is to raise $1,200 for the Rescue Mission. Salt City Coffee has three locations in Syracuse and one in Fayetteville (formerly Soleil Cafe). MORE INFO

Flour city pasta

Flour City Pasta: John Stadt uses local and organic ingredients and his own two hands to make the distinctive artisanal pastas Flour City Pasta is known for. The business based in the Rochester area is a regular at the Central New York Regional Market. You’ll find flavors like chili pepper fettuccine, sweet potato pappardelle, spinach garlic linguine, and Cabernet Franc pappardelle – as well as traditional pastas like shells, rigatoni, linguine and fettuccine. Price: About $10/package. MORE INFO

Navs popcorn Hafner'sNav’s Popcorn: You might have visited the seasonal Nav’s Popcorn store in Alexandria Bay to satisfy your gourmet popcorn fix. Did you know they pop up regularly (see what I did there?) at the Central New York Regional Market and have a year-round store in Syracuse (Eastwood)? Nav’s is known for its flavored popcorn, from classics like kettle and cheddar to more unusual flavors, like salt and vinegar, pickle, garlic Parmesan, and Buffalo blend (Buffalo wing and ranch). Grab a bag to stuff a stocking and one for yourself. Price: $4 and up.  MORE INFO 

Beeswax covers Bee KingBeeswax food wraps: OLSEN+OLSEN beeswax wraps are a stylish way to keep food fresh and help reduce the use of plastic wraps and bags in the kitchen. To use, warm the wraps in your hands and mold them over bowls and casseroles, sealing with your fingers. You can also use the wraps directly on food, like half an apple or lemon. The wraps come three to a pack (small, medium and large). They’re washable, reusable and compostable. Price: $16. Available at BeeKind, Syracuse. MORE INFO  

Farm Girl JuiceryFarm Girl Juicery juices: The struggle to eat healthy during the holiday season is real. Farm Girl Juicery to the rescue. The juice stand, open daily at Salt City Market in Syracuse (and in season at Chuck Hafner’s Farmers Market and Garden Center), features teas, tonics and multiple varieties of cold-pressed juices, which are rich in nutrients and also serve as an immunity boost. Options include green juices made with ingredients like cucumber and kale, and root juices made with things like apples, beets, carrots, oranges and sweet potatoes. My favorite is owner Abigail Henson's Tonic 42, made with alkaline water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne. Price: About $8. MORE INFO 

Bayside Wood Products boards

Bayside Wood cutting boards: Cheese boards and charcuterie boards are all the rage these days, and a new board makes a great gift for someone who likes to cook and/or entertain – or for yourself. Bayside Wood Products produces cutting boards in a variety of styles and sizes. Their signature products include multi-color baker’s boards for rolling dough (and for cutting and serving) and Syracuse skyline boards. Look for Bayside at the Central New York Regional Market on Saturdays and check their website for pop-up events. Price: Varies. MORE INFO  

Photo credits:

Hot Crispy Oil photo courtesy of Hot Crispy Oil

Old Home Distillers sampler pack photo courtesy of Old Home Distillers

Winosaurs photo courtesy of Metro Home Style

Salt City Coffee photo courtesy of Salt City Coffee

Farm Girl Juicery photo courtesy of Farm Girl Juicery

Bayside Wood cutting board photo courtesy of Bayside Wood Products

All other photos © Margaret McCormick 2022


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