With Thanksgiving upon us, I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about desserts for the infamous holiday dinner. Certainly, this is one of the key components of our American traditions for this holiday. Jake, our newest team member, is fresh out of college and going home for his first Thanksgiving as a working professional in the real world. He wanted to contribute to the dinner and got a great suggestion from Karen, our second to the newest team member (and a former food writer and in-house culinary expert), that he should consider taking a grape pie. I heartily endorsed that suggestion. 

Pictured here is Jake on his way back from Naples with grape pies for the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection team.

Then as always, I think why stop at one suggestion for dessert? Eat dessert first and often – that’s my suggestion. And, as always, think local. 

With that in mind, I want to share with you my top “made in the Finger Lakes” dessert suggestions for Thanksgiving. 

Grape pie. Suggestion can stand on its own. Naples is the place to go for that and those luscious purple filled, butter pastry wrapped 9-inch wonders are available year round at places like Monica’s Pies,  and Cindy’s Pies in Naples and Arbor Hill Grapery in Canandaigua/South Bristol.

Apple pie. Wayne County just to our north is the largest apple-producing county in New York State, but here in Ontario County, we fare pretty well in the apple-growing business as well. In fact, many iconic apple varieties, such as the diehards Cortland and Empire and the new RubyFrost and SnapDragon, were bred and developed in Geneva at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Two Ontario County apple growers also happen to bake great apple pies. Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva and The Apple Farm in Victor.

Ice Cream. To eat on its own or put on the pie. At our family celebration, we are very lucky that my brother Jeff makes homemade ice cream and given our supply of fresh-from-the-farm-milk, we can do ice cream really well in this area.  A source for you might be the Cheshire Farms Creamery in Canandaigua.

Ice Wine. Sip, sip, sip in front of the fireplace. The Finger Lakes is known for its ice wine and our iced wines. Casa Larga Vineyards & Winery has won the prestigious Governor’s Cup with its Fiori Vidal Ice Wine.

Pumpkin pie, of course, or anything related to the winter squash family. There was a brief scare that canned pumpkin for pie making might be in short supply this year, but having heard nothing more than that, this should remain on your menu for dessert. Don’t limit yourself to pie. I recently made a pumpkin bar at the office and was honored to watch it disappear quickly. 

There’s more desserts, but I challenge you to find as many items as you can within a 25-mile radius or so that you can show off to the family that you know how to “do dessert” for Thanksgiving.

Enough said, “let’s get tasting.”

And have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.