Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures
The front porches in my neighborhood are decorated with pumpkins. The Halloween candy is out at my grocery store. I even needed my jacket a few mornings and evenings last week. The first day of fall isn’t until tomorrow, but menus and grocery store aisles make it seem like Halloween is only a few days away.
Just after Labor Day, menus exploded with pumpkin-flavored everything to mark the new season. Besides being one of the most colorful, iconic foods of the fall, pumpkins are super good for you – they’re packed with beta-carotene and the seeds are a great source of the good kind of fat, Omega-3s. There are several ways those in the midstate can enjoy this beloved squash, and here are seven examples:
Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? The Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL to devotees, was made famous and ubiquitous by Starbucks. The drink even has its own Twitter account, for goodness sakes.
Nothing seems to signal fall like the appearance of the PSL on the menu. If you aren’t a fan of Starbucks or don’t have one on your way to work, try the newly opened Crave & Co at 2nd and North Streets in Harrisburg. They offer their own take on the Pumpkin Spice Latte and have delicious food to match (try the curried egg salad, you’ll thank me).
Macarons are precious little French cookies filled with icing or jam. These meringue-based delicacies melt in your mouth and are typically almond flavored.
But in this case, Rice and Noodle Restaurant has filled pumpkin spice macarons with buttercream cheese filling. You can get them to go or have them after your meal at this popular Vietnamese restaurant on Lititz Pike in Lancaster.
Local companies aren’t the only ones jumping on the pumpkin wagon. On Wednesday, Oreo will launch a Pumpkin Spice Oreo cookie that will feature two vanilla cookies (the cookies from the Golden Oreo) stuffed with a pumpkin spice flavored cream filling. These cookies will only be available for a limited time. So if you want to be able to twist and dunk your pumpkin flavored treat, you better act fast.
The familiar blue boxes of Entenmann’s baked goods are replaced with orange for this seasonal treat. Entenmann’s Pumpkin Donuts have the familiar sweetness of the Entenmann’s glazed donuts but with a hint of pumpkin flavor. They’ve been around for a couple of years now, and have become an autumn staple at staff meetings.
The popularity of fall-inspired beers is soaring, whether they are made from pumpkin puree or seasonal spices like nutmeg and cloves. Troegs offers a Hop Knife Harvest Ale through October. Al’s of Hampden in Enola makes its own Pizza Boy Beer, and offers a Punk’in Disorderly Ale that has good ratings on Beery Advocate.
The explosion of craft brewing is particularly evident in PA, thanks to Troegs, Appalachian Brewing Company, Yards and others. Take advantage of our access to craft beers by trying one of the pumpkin ales available for the next month or two.
Whoopie pies were created right here in PA by the Amish community and have also been called hucklebucks. Using leftover cake batter and icing, Amish cooks invented the treat by putting icing between two patties of cake. Typically, the cake is chocolate and the icing filling is vanilla. Pennsylvania Bakery in Camp Hill has created an autumnal version by stuffing pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing. The Pennsylvania Bakery also carries pumpkin scones, donuts and rolls for your enjoyment. If you find yourself on pumpkin flavor overload by Halloween, you can get a chocolate or vanilla cake in the shape of a pumpkin as a substitute.
Almost anyone can find pumpkin flavored ice cream in the freezer section at the grocery store, but if you want to take it to the next level, try the pumpkin pie gelato at Amore Artisan Gelato on Union Deposit Road. Gelato is Italian for “ice cream,” but the taste and texture are different from the cold treat we are served stateside. It is typically lower in fat and sugar than ice cream and has a softer, smoother consistency. It tastes more thick and dense than ice cream because it is churned at a slower speed, so less air is incorporated. If you’ve never tried gelato or if you want to be reminded of a vacation to Italy, stop by this gelato shop to check out the pumpkin pie gelato.
It seems everyone is cashing in on the pumpkin trend, but the line between “yum” and “yuck” is pretty thin. I don’t think I’ll be tasting these pumpkin flavored potato chips or pumpkin flavored chewing gum, but maybe that’s just me. What pumpkin flavored food or drink do you look forward to this time of year? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
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