Pumpkin-spice – it’s everywhere this year. What is all the fuss about? On a recent walk, I broke down and stopped at a Starbucks to try this mystical beverage that seems to appear at least once in every 20 something’s Facebook stream.
It’s been ten years since Starbucks invented the pumpkin-spice latte, and it seems the buzz has grown every year. It’s even got it’s own #PSL hashtag on Twitter. That it’s been widely reported this year that the syrup used in the drink doesn’t even contain pumpkin hasn’t seemed to dampen enthusiasm.
Can I just say that I didn’t expect much when I was handed this drink, yet on first taste, was still disappointed? There was hot milk, a slightly bitter taste mostly mitigated by sugar syrup, and the taste of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. It had a cheap, tired spices taste.
Frankly, I don’t get it. A few days later I tried the house-made pumpkin latte at an independent coffee shop (with real pumpkin(!), and found it tasted like cheap cinnamon and had a slightly unpleasant texture, which made me wonder, what is the point?
It’s everywhere. Vodka, beer, yogurt, ice cream, dog treats, Oregos, hummus… A look at the latest Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer reveals more pumpkin products than makes sense:
- Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s
- Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (apparently for when pumpkin isn’t pumpkin’y enough)
- Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin Pie Spice Icing
- Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls
- Pumpkin Pie Mochi Ice Cream
- Pumpkin Spice Coffee
- Pumpkin Bread Mix
- Joe’s Pumpkin O’s
- Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
- Pumpkin Body Butter
- Pumpkin Breakfast Bars
- Pumpkin Bagels
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- Pumpkin Spice Chai
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Pumpkin Ice Cream
- Pumpkin Macarons
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Pumpkin Toaster Pastries
- Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix
- Pumpkin Butter
- Pumpkin Cornbread Mix
- Pumpkin Cranberry Scone Mix
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Spice Granola
- Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Sugar Pumpkins
- Pie Pumpkins
- Nonfat Greek Pumpkin Yogurt
- Pumpkin Rolls with Icing
- Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels
- Pumpkin Biscotti
- Pumpkin Croutons
- Pumpkin Joe Joe’s
- Pumpkin Seed Brittle
- KBC Pumpkin Ale
I counted so you wouldn’t have to – that’s 41 items, and I may have missed a few. Happy Fall everyone. I have a sinking feeling I should have invested in pumpkin futures last spring.
Jim Conachan says
Food Dude … I couldn’t agree more.
At Streetcar Bistro & Taproom, we’ve got “Punkicinno”, a coffee pumpkin ale on tap by Elysian Brewing out of Seattle. My personal opinion is, it’s not bad … probably the best pumpkin ale I’ve tasted, but that’s not saying much. The problem (good thing) is, it’s flying out of the keg. People really dig it. I’m more of a purist when it comes to my ale, so I don’t gravitate to these very often. It’s hard not to carry it though when it’s selling so well.
Rest assured, the Fall will be over soon and we won’t see it for another 9 or 10 months!
Chris Therrien says
You missed one. We offer a Great Pumkin Spice crepe . It’s one of our most popular offerings (though demand slows down just after Thsnksgiving). Go figure?
I am right there with you. I don’t even like pumpkin to begin with. so seeing it flavoring all kinds of things that SHOULDN’T be flavored with pumpkin gets me every year. As far as Trader Joe’s, I think you missed a few. I am pretty sure I was told by an employee a few weeks ago that they were going to have even more pumpkin things this year pushing it up to 70 items.
Off to enjoy a white mocha now.
PDX Food Dude says
I’m sure I missed at few at TJ’s. All I could see was orange. Everywhere. The horror!
Rachel Schoening says
I can’t stand pumpkin flavored anything. I will tolerate pumpkin cheesecake, and at the restaurant we give in & make pumpkin pancakes. They sell extremely well, by the way. What I saw today while at Fred Meyer was amazing to me- Pumpkin Spice Thomas’ English Muffins. They have bagels too. The horror.
Chris Therrien says
I’m somewhat ambivalent. I like some pumpkin beers and absolutely LOVE pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I think Trader Joes has taken the whole pumpkin flavored foodstuffs to a new level of hell. It sells though.
“Pumpkin” is one of those words that very quickly starts to look strange upon repetition. Pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin….. I had the same reaction to the TJ’s Fearless Flyer, though I must admit the pumpkin yogurt piqued my curiosity. I stopped by today and my local store had the shelf tag in the appropriate spot, but no evidence of the product itself.
Now is time for somebody to live on a diet of only foods and drinks containing pumkin spice for 30 days and produce a documentary named “Pumpkin Spice It.”
PDX Food Dude says
Someone is already doing that, but I forget what magazine.
I’ll eat pumpkin pie when necessary to be polite but I’m not a fan and generally avoid anything labeled pumpkin spice. That said, a few weeks ago I had an 11 beer sampler at the Gahan House brewpub on Prince Edward Island that included a pumpkin ale served with the rim dusted with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It was definitely a little strange, but somehow it worked. The local restaurants were celebrating “Porktoberfest” with a pulled pork sandwich competition, and when I returned to the Gahan House the next day to try their entry, I ordered a pint of that pumpkin ale to go with it. It was a great match.