If you're from the Utica area - chances are you've had some of Karam's Bread from Karam's Bakery and Restaurant. And what started in the area 38 years ago as a bakery has grown into much more.
"People used to come from out of town and say we're coming for the bread from out of town can we have coffee- so we put out coffee, then they say it's 11 o'clock,12 o'clock why we gotta go to a restaurant over there, why don't you put some food out, so I start with the food."
But it's the bread that has a long history - and large following, as owner of Karam's Segean Karam tells Eyewitness News. The bread is sold at not just Karam's but other area restaurants. Made with a machine that was brought over from Lebanon, Karam gave us a behind the scenes look at the process. It starts in a giant mixer - made with just flour, yeast, water and salt. The dough is then cut, pressed, proofed, pressed again, proofed - and then goes into the oven. The whole process takes 20 minutes.
"I like to serve it in the morning," says Karam, "when it's like a balloon and its hot and they like to put butter inside and because it's hot it'll melt and it's delicious."
Many, like New Hartford resident Ray Shaeoud agree, the bread is simply the best.
"The bread? That's all I eat I don't eat any other kind of bread."
And from one central New York favorite to another - we hit the road and headed to Sherrill to taste some of Joe's Jerky. Sold out of Nonnie's country store - it's a family business, Jodi Patla tells Eyewitness News.
"My mother passed away about four and half years ago now and after she passed away my father really needed something to focus his time on so he started making jerky just as a hobby, and then more and more people wanted it. So as time went on, he really needed to start making more so I told him about a year and half ago we really needed to legalize the jerky because he was making bootleg jerky."
Patla is the daughter of Joe, the man behind the jerky. Joe has been a meat cutter since he was 14 years old - so the transition to jerky was natural. Working in a store named after his late wife, Joe makes and packs the jerky himself. The beef -which they get from the local processing plant Casa Imports - is sliced, marinates for 24 to 48 hours, and then smoked for 5 to 7 hours. And the marinades- are Joe's secret recipes. This whole process takes about 4 days.
"We making it in small batches, quality control, so it's nice, its soft, it's tender, it's flavorful, and people tend to like it," says Patla.
So much so that they're products are in 140 stores regionally - and a couple out of state.
"It's going over pretty well around here, and our community has really embraced us."
From Karam's Bread to Joe's Jerky - as we approach the holidays, we had to talk about a candy born right here in central New York - the famous turkey joints.
"It's a chocolate with a brazil nut center, with a sugar coating, and spun sugar coating on them."
Co-owner of Nora's Candy Shop in Rome, home of the turkey joint, Sharon Mazur-Haritatos tells Eyewitness News this unique candy - with a name for what it looks like, rather than how it tastes - has a history as rich as its center filling.
"It's all handmade, pretty much the same technique since the early 1900s," she says, "no modern technology involved; started in the family restaurant, and moved here during urban renewal."
Made from just October to May to keep the candies in prime condition - the joints are appreciated across the globe. And like all of the foods we've highlighted, Mazur-Haritatos says the Turkey Joint's popularity has a lot to do with family.
"Their parents and grandparents gave it to them, and they give it to their kids, and it's something that is from Rome."
Sharon and her husband say the making of the joints is quite labor intensive, but it's a labor of love.