Gifting in CNY: Holiday presents with a local presence

Local food items serve as perfect holiday gift ideas.

Simple Roast Coffee and Lune Chocolat gift pack.

In the hustle and bustle to come up with unique gifts this holiday season, don’t forget local foods and food-related items. Here are seven gift ideas sure to appeal to family and friends who like to buy local and eat local. Some items could be considered “stocking stuffers,” and tasty ones, at that.


Clean Slate Farm vinegars. Dave Lenweaver, a chef and former ad agency owner and designer who lives in Apulia, has introduced a trio of blended balsamic vinegars to add flavor to vinaigrettes and salads, and in cooking. The Clean Slate Farm products take their name from the “farmette” where Lenweaver and his wife, Joanne, live, grow organic vegetables and fruit, keep bees and chickens — and cook. Maple Balsamic is made with some of their favorite local syrups and the Ginger Balsamic is created with locally sourced organic ginger — try it in a stir-fry instead of soy sauce, Lenweaver suggests. The third variety is Mission Fig, because sweet figs and tangy balsamic vinegar work so well together. Find the vinegars ($9.95) at Chuck Hafner’s Farm Market and Garden Center in North Syracuse; 20/East in Cazenovia; Half Moon Bakery and Bistro, Jamesville, and other locations. Visit


Cazenovia Cut Block cutting boards. OK, so you’re gonna need a big stocking for these. Cazenovia Cut Block offers gorgeous cutting boards crafted from New York state maple, cherry, black walnut and other hardwoods. A variety of styles are available, including boards for everyday use, round boards for displaying and serving cheeses, crackers and fruits, and paddle-style boards with leather hooks for hanging. Prices start at around $40. The Cazenovia Cut Block showroom, 4157 Midstate Lane, Cazenovia, is also home to the 20/East marketplace, which features locally sourced food products as well as works by area artists and artisans. Visit


Syracuse Salt Company salts. Good things do come in small packages. Father-daughter entrepreneurs David and Libby Croom were inspired by Syracuse’s nickname, “The Salt City,” to create their company and product line. Syracuse Salt Company offers infused sea salts in flavors like Thai Ginger, Roasted Garlic, Rosemary, Sriracha, Alderwood Smoked, White Truffle and Lemon Twist. The salts cost $7 each; $10 for White Truffle. Find them at Chuck Hafner’s Farm Market and Garden Center in North Syracuse; Side Hill Farmers in Manlius; Metro Home Style in downtown’s Franklin Square; and other locations. Several gift options and items are available, including a three-jar salt “flight” in your choice of flavors ($18; $21 if White Truffle is included). The flights come in a box or canvas salt bag and include a small, wooden serving spoon. Visit or email [email protected].


Simple Roast Coffee + Lune Chocolat gift pack. Who wouldn’t appreciate a box of coffee and chocolates, tied up with a pretty ribbon? Simple Roast Coffee Company, which recently opened a drive-thru in Auburn, is offering gift boxes featuring a bag of coffee beans and a package of artisan chocolates from Lune Chocolat, in Manlius. Simple Roast owner Matt Peirson describes the boxes as “mix and match”: A box with coffee and chocolates is $22. A box with coffee, chocolates and a Simple Roast travel mug is $34. You can also add a Simple Roast gift card in any denomination. Call 975-0044 or visit


Willow Rock Brewing Company crowler. A glass growler full of beer is a tough item to get under the tree or in a stocking. So how about a 32-ounce “crowler,” a freshly filled and sealed can of beer? Go get your hands on some big cans ($10 to $15) from Willow Rock Brewing. Flagship beers include a blonde ale, pale ale, IPA and brown ale, as well as brunch, a “breakfast stout” made with Recess Coffee. The brewery is at 115 Game Road, off Ainsley Drive and near Brighton Avenue. It’s open Fridays, 2:30 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 to 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.; call for holiday hours. Call 928-6948 or visit

Chef 4 Rent in-home dinner. DeAnna Germano, who calls her catering business Chef 4 Rent, has come up with a novel gift this holiday season. The gift is a three-course dinner for two (choice of menu) with wine pairings, flowers and table settings all brought to your home. No muss, no fuss and no dishes to wash: Germano takes care of everything. The offer can be customized: Enjoy steak, seafood or a meal made up of appetizers. Combine up to three offers for an in-home party of six. Note: The gift is given in certificate form, so decisions on date, menu, etc. are up to the recipient. Call 760-2023 or visit


The Sherwood Inn’s cookbook.

Sherwood Inn cookbook. The Sherwood Inn, built in 1807 as a stagecoach stop, has a long and storied past. The Sherwood Inn: The Cornerstone of Skaneateles Since 1807, by Bill Eberhardt and Denise Owen Harrigan, celebrates the history of the inn purchased by Eberhardt in 1974 and meticulously restored. The book was published in 2014, to mark the inn’s 40th anniversary. It includes recipes for popular dishes like Scrod Christopher, Roasted Corn Chowder with Fennel and Bacon, Sherwood Quiche and Rose Ryan’s Swiss Chard Tart. If you’re in Skaneateles for Dickens Christmas, stop by the Sherwood to see the inn dressed up for the holidays and pick up a copy ($25). Visit

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at Follow her on Twitter, connect on Facebook or email to [email protected].

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