evl-gourmet-015By Jann Wiswall

Gourmet cheese tray. Check.

Dinner roast. Check.

Dessert chocolates. Check

It’s easier than ever to plan a holiday gathering in Ellicottville with the addition of EVL Cheese Company, the newest gourmet shop “sliced” from the makers of Cuba Cheese. Between EVL Cheese, Dom’s Butcher Block and Watson’s Chocolates, all of your entertaining needs are now covered, whether you’re planning an enviable picnic lunch in the lodge, an après ski cocktail party or a cozy family dinner.

And, if you’re in a rush — or would rather not leave the slopes until the last minute — you can just pick up the phone a few days ahead and these customer-focused shops will have everything ready for you to pick up on the day of your event.

Each shop also offers custom gifts and gift certificates, too, so give yourself a break this holiday and ski season and let these fine shops do some of the work for you!

EVL Cheese Company

(716) 699-1065

Owner Sarah Bradley

EVL Cheese Company in the Village Center plaza at 5 East Washington Street (next to Kwik Fill) offers literally hundreds of gourmet cheeses, including the wildly popular Cuba Cheese Shoppe New York State cheddar and cheese curd. It also carries delicious accompaniments, including Angelica salt rising bread, smoked meats and other gourmet delicacies, nuts, jams, mustards, dressings and marinades. In addition, the warm and inviting shop offers unique kitchenware, handcrafted cheese and cutting boards, local art, gift baskets, as well as custom order cheese trays.

Cheese trays come in any style you like, from themed versions such as a “British Isle” board with Blue Stilton, Harlech English Cheddar with Horseradish and Parsley and Sage Derby cheeses (accompanied by honey, walnuts and grapes), to a selection of your own personal favorites that you can taste before buying. The knowledgeable staff also can recommend cheeses to go with wines you plan to serve.

Need a gift? Tell them what you have in mind, and they’ll put together a gorgeous gift basket that will put a smile on every recipient’s face.


Dom’s Butcher Block

(716) 699-6328

Owners Ken, Annette and Tyler Auteri

On the other side of Washington Street near Coffee Culture, you’ll find Dom’s Butcher Block, an old-school butcher shop that offers the finest cuts of meats for any occasion. Every day, Dom’s has a wide selection of freshly cut roasts, steaks, chops, ground meats, free-range chicken and house-made breakfast and dinner sausages. Dom’s also carries Alaskan smoked salmon and frozen seafood, and fresh seafood is delivered every Friday.

Dom’s is especially well-known for its smoked meats, which are made right on the premises. Outdoor sports aficionados come in to stock up on fresh-made beef jerky, beef sticks and smoked turkey legs. There’s also a great menu of house-made bologna and smoked sausages.

If you need something in particular — say a butterflied leg of lamb, a tenderloin roast to feed a crowd, a particular cut for a special recipe — just ask. Dom’s can get whatever you desire with a few days’ notice and most comes from local suppliers.

While you’re there, you’ll want to stock up on your favorite D’Avolio gourmet olive oils and vinegars. Each of as many as 50 of these culinary essentials may be taste-tested and bottled right in the store, so you’ll always know you’re getting the exact flavor you’re looking for. These hand-crafted oils and vinegars make great gifts, too. Combination boxes of any three items are available as well.

Dom’s also offers a great selection of pastas, sauces and other main course go-withs, and in the summer months also carries farm-fresh produce.

Watson’s Chocolates

(716) 699-2805

Owner Jim Watson

Who can resist the genuinely giddy atmosphere of a candy store? Just walking into Watson’s Chocolates at 27 Washington Street makes you feel like a kid again. Trays and trays of every chocolate-covered goody you can dream of fills the cases of the old-style chocolate shop.

Chocolate-covered popcorn and pretzels. Chocolate-covered butter crunch. Chocolate mints. Truffles. Cordials. Fudge. Pistachio cranberry bars. Caramels — some flavored with bourbon or Guinness stout. Sponge candy — rated by Spree magazine as the best of its breed in Western New York. And all of it drenched in Watson’s finest milk or dark chocolate.

Need we say more?

Watson’s offers these and many other lovingly created confections by the piece, the pound or in creative gift packages. And of course, they’ll make up custom gift baskets and boxes filled with anything your heart desires. New this year, they’ve come up with a wine box “tag,” a mini box of chocolates that hangs over a bottle of wine and makes your gift stand out from the rest. There’s also a huge selection of stocking stuffer items for the kids — from giant lollipops to character-themed chocolates. If that’s not enough sugar for you, Watson’s serves up Perry’s® brand ice cream in cups and cones. To wash it all down, you can also pick up freshly roasted coffee beans in a nice selection of flavors.