Let’s admit it: When much of the world thinks of Buffalo, N.Y., the first thing that comes to mind — except for, perhaps, snow and certain Super Bowls — is a certain eponymous food item. And Western New York has certainly embraced the chicken wing and its associated sauce(s) in all their forms.
But when you look past the obvious, the Niagara Region in particular has produced many unique food items, from candy and baked goods, to wines and ciders and barbecue sauces. And with Christmas time approaching, they can be a way to give a small taste of home to a Western New York expatriate or someone who simply doesn’t need more knick-knacks.
“You can never go wrong with food,” said Carrie Horhota, the owner of Creekside Gourmet in the Town of Tonawanda, which carries a range of items from the area, including many under its own label. “My motto is, flowers may be easy ... but gift baskets have taste.”
Carol Murphy of Murphy Orchards in Burt echoed her words.
“I just can’t think of anything better than food gifts,” she said, “and when you make it personal by making it something from your hometown or something from where they used to live, it’s very, very popular.”
From the tree and the vine
Sometimes great gifts aren’t made: They’re grown.
Murphy Orchards in Burt ships its apples, nestled in tissue paper and packed in gift boxes, anywhere in the continental United States, Murphy said. The boxes come in several sizes, and some can include other items, such as the business’ jams and jellies.
“Half of the apple gift boxes we send out go to Florida, to people who used to live here, older people who don’t want any more trinkets, any more slippers, but absolutely love getting Western New York apples,” she said. “That’s what we call our catalog, Gifts From Home.”