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Pumpkin spice and everything nice

By Paul Viau | Oct 05, 2016
Photo by: File photo TASTES LIKE AUTUMN — Everyone seems hooked on Pumpkin Spice. It's the taste sensation that is sweeping the nation right now.

For my first column in October, comes a special request from my wife, Carol — who embodies “what little girls are made of” all year long. During leaf-peeping season, however, Carol kicks the sugar and spice ‘up a notch’ with a generous helping of pumpkin spice.

She wakes up every morning to a piping hot cup of Green Mountain pumpkin spice coffee, whips up Krusteaz pumpkin spice bars in the afternoon and when the time is right (It’s 5-o’clock somewhere) can be seen kicking back with a good pumpkin ale.

Her favorites include Catawba’s King Don’s Pumpkin Ale; New Belgium’s ‘Pumpkick;’ a new find, Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale (Bosu’s Wine Shop); and Boojum Brewing’s “new smash hit’ (Get it?), Headless Hippie Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

As I writer, I’m content savoring at the inventive names brewers come up with every year for their pumpkin beers. And I have one or two pumpkin spice beer tap handles in my personal collection, including Harpoon’s unfiltered Pumpkin U.F.O. and Evolution Craft Brewing’s Jacques Au Lantern.

If you want to research pumpkin beers, check out Beer Advocate magazine’s Top 100 Pumpkin Beers — www.beeradvocate.com/lists/style/72.

For those before-5 o’clock occasions, Carol has found a nice and spicy non-alcoholic, spiced pumpkin cider  — which I want to try as a braising liquid for pulled pork. It is available at GO Grocery Outlet, on an end-aisle display.

Speaking of end-aisles, we stopped at Food Lion Grocery, which had not one — but two — end-aisles stacked high with everything pumpkin spice.

Enterprising food companies have gone crazy with this ubiquitous taste profile. Here are just a few of the offerings:

Kraft Jet-puffed Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

(for that smashed pumpkin S’more)

Betty Crocker Pumpkin Bars

Betty Crocker Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Roll Mix

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Oreos

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt Pretzels

Lindor Pumpkin Spice Milk Chocolate Truffles

Duncan Hines Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Mix

(including orange-colored pumpkin spice frosting)

Spiced Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips

Krusteaz Pumpkin Pie Bar Mix

Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Quickbread Mix

BelVita Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Flats

Keurig Pumpkin Spice Latte K-cups

Keurig Pumpkin Spice Coffee K-cups

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Spice Ground Coffee

McCafe Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Inspirations brand Pumpkin Toasted O’s

Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix

Inspirations brand Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Bars

Creative Snacks Company’s Pumpkin Spice Granola

Quaker Life Pumpkin Spice Multigrain Cereal

All those pumpkin spice goodies are available as long as quantities last, at Haywood County stores like Food Lion. And you can find just as ‘punkiny-spicy’ a selection of goodies at Big Lots, Walmart, Bi-Lo, Ingles or the new Publix off Russ Avenue (Ooops — that’s only a rumor).

Anyway, if you are pumpkin spice-aholic, I would stock up. What you can’t consume during autumn, you can put under the Christmas tree or leave it for Santa to use in Christmas stockings. I think that’s how Carol got the Kahlua Pumpkin Spice that has been resting in the back of the refrigerator, waiting for fall color.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m rushing the season, but there are pumpkins everywhere — even in our spice drawer. Happy fall, y’all.