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Each season of the year brings with it unique flavors to enjoy. The rich flavors of winter conjure memories of holiday meals and New Year’s Eve weddings. Our favorite winter menus incorporate the sweet, aromatic, balanced flavors we crave as the temperatures continue to fall in upstate New York.

Fresh produce and lean protein don’t disappear; they’re simply paired with the rich flavors found in ingredients like nutmeg, cranberry and red wine. For a holiday event or winter wedding menu filled with winter flavors, incorporate a few of these components.

  • Ricotta: The mild taste of ricotta can bring a creamy texture to almost any course throughout the meal. Try an hors d’oeuvre of ricotta gnocchi with basil aioli.
  • Hazelnut: Many nuts, including pecans, walnuts and macadamia nuts are at home among other winter flavors. Top your salad with a slightly sweet hazelnut vinaigrette, or add the nuts themselves into your salad course.
  • Red Wine: Of course, a cold winter evening calls for a warming glass of red wine. It can also be cooked into may dishes for notes of fruit, spices and coffee. A warm red wine butter pairs well with steak or pasta.
  • Leek: Leeks’ popularity in winter dishes not only has to do with their flavorful onion-like taste, but their seasonality. In New York, leeks can be harvested through October and stored during the winter. Add them to chowder for added flavor.
  • Cranberry: Cranberry has long had a place at the holiday table. Incorporate the tart fruit into roasted vegetables.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: The mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves traditionally known as pumpkin pie spice can be used for more than pumpkin pie! Spice cakes use a similar ratio of winter spices. Top a spice cake with roasted pears for a delicious combination of sweet fall fruit and warming spices.
  • Turnip: Turnips, which have a slightly bitter flavor, are also available from local producers’ storage throughout the winter. Add turnips to a mix of roasted vegetables or a creamy pumpkin stew.
  • Lamb: Lamb injects a menu with a much stronger flavor than other protein options. Despite its unique flavor, it can be paired with numerous dressings, including garlic and rosemary, Dijon mustard and white wine, or olive oil and lemon.