One thing many people know about the Finger Lakes region of NY is the region produces wine. If you have had a chance to go on a wine tour, that is an easy way to pick out a favorite to serve to your guests! If you haven’t been on a wine tour, the easiest thing would be to go to your area liquor store, and see what upstate wines they have for sale. You can’t serve what you can’t find!
Now that the drinks are taken care of, what food would I serve for a regional party? Well, that’s easy!! I would definitely serve Garbage Plates!! Garbage plates were developed in Rochester, and are a popular and easy way to give your guests a unique taste of upstate New York! Garbage plates generally consist of home fries, macaroni salad, burgers and or hotdogs, and basically chili on top. You can also add baked beans, any condiment you desire, and substitute any meat you would like for the burgers and hotdogs (chicken, ham, eggs). There are no hard and fast rules for garbage plates, but it’s something to have fun with! Maybe wait until the weather is good to fire up the grill. Macaroni salad will be easy to find then too!
For dessert, wine ice cream is a popular choice for a Finger Lakes party, but personally I prefer half-moon cookies, the New York State version with a chocolate cookie with chocolate and white frosting. These cookies are popular in MA too, but usually with a vanilla cookie. If you happen to live near a Wegman’s grocery store (like me!), this will help tremendously. They are a Rochester staple, and have quite a following. To make your party truly authentic pick up any Wegman’s brand food you happen to like and enjoy!
Due to the messy but fun nature garbage plates, you may want to find a regional beer to serve, rather than wine, and watch a Bills game on TV! Have Fun!