“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and harbinger to the holiday season, autumn has long been a bewitching time of the year, even before Starbucks unleashed the pumpkin spice latte in 2003. Going back to ancient Greeks and Celtic pagans, harvest festivals involving serious rituals and frolicsome feasts have been celebrated throughout the world in the Mid-Autumn Festivals of Asia, Mehrgān in Iran, Sukkot in the Jewish tradition, and 25 different harvest festivals in India.
In Texas, our harvest merrymaking begins the first day the heat index falls one notch below hellfire, signaling that it’s time to go googly-eyed for gourds, nutty for nutmeg, berserk for butterscotch, and hysterical for Honeycrisps. Who can explain the phenomenon of this unique seasonal mania that possesses us to pile pumpkins on our porches and sip PSLs in the crisp 90-degree weather, our necks wrapped in tablecloth-size scarves? Future archaeologists, perhaps, but in the meantime, there are groceries to buy as stores release autumnal flavors in forms never seen before.
Call us basic, or perhaps just deeply connected to the earth’s rhythms, but the best place in the modern world to express pumpkin passion is the supermarket. If the thought of pumpkin alone doesn’t send you rushing to the store, we have apple pie in a jar and pecan pie in a can on this list, along with a new candied ginger and Mexican hot chocolate potato chips. Look for these newly released fall products, as well as a couple of recurring customer favorites, on Texas grocery shelves.
Big Spoon Roasters Apple Pie Spice Almond and Pecan Butter
Currently available at Central Market locations is Big Spoon Roasters’ limited-batch almond and pecan butter, made seasonal with spices designed to call to mind a warm apple pie. Described by the company as “coziness in a jar” that “warms from the inside out, just like a slice of homemade pie,” the combination nut butter with almonds and organic pecans is blended with apple pie spice from beloved chef Meherwan Irani’s company, Spicewalla. Added to the mix are apple chunks, touches of organic maple syrup, and Jacobsen sea salt.
Bishop Cider Pecan Pie cider
H-E-B and Central Market
For its Texas seasonal lineup, Dallas-based Bishop Cider is releasing for the second time its semisweet Pecan Pie cider, brewed with nuts from Texas Pecan Company. Director of marketing Hunter Eichberger says the Pecan Pie cider was created last year because the company wanted something “super festive” for the holiday season that avoided “cliché pumpkin flavors.” At Bishop Cider’s Cidercades in Dallas, Austin, and Houston, where gamers can play more than 140 arcade games while boozing, this brew is served on tap with whipped cream. Cider lovers can re-create that at home with six-packs from H-E-B and Central Markets.
Chike Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Chike is a company in Abilene making high-protein iced coffee powders with two espresso shots and twenty grams of whey protein. Its new pumpkin spice flavor quickly sold out online, but Central Market will have it in stores for the season. Chike’s original mission was to create a meal replacement drink without a chalky aftertaste, and its coffee bags and single-serve packets provide an alternative to, as the website says, “the expensive, empty calories of coffeehouse drinks.”
Chocolate Storybrook Pumpkin Spice Cotton Candy
For a full-on state fair treat in fall flavors, look for this packaged cotton candy in pumpkin spice at Central Market stores. Few things feel more decadent than nibbling fluffs of spun sugar, and the vibes are even better when the cotton candy is pumpkin-flavored instead of … whatever the pink flavor is.
Culina pumpkin spice botanical yogurt alternative
An Austin coconut-based yogurt brand endorsed by Lizzo, Culina Yogurt recently added a new pumpkin spice to its line of flavors. The public affairs office at Central Market says Culina yogurts are popular because they maintain the thick texture of a real dairy yogurt, even though the dairy comes from plants instead of cows. Slow-cultured, vegan, paleo, kosher, and organic (with certifications for the latter two in progress), these yogurts hit all the diet notes while remaining “thicc.”
Fabbri Candied Ginger in Turmeric and Ginger Syrup
Fabbri, the company that invented Amarena cherries in Bologna a century ago, has recently released candied ginger, a new item in its line of preserved fruits. The ginger pieces are immersed in a ginger syrup containing turmeric, resulting in a “fresh and pleasantly spicy taste,” its website says. Use it for the holidays in cocktails, cookies, and fruitcakes.
Jardines Fiery Ghost Pepper and Pumpkin salsa
The Texas-based small-batch salsa company Jardine Foods invented a ghost pepper and pumpkin salsa last year as part of its “bootleg series,” which attempts to go where no salsa has gone before. Containing pumpkin puree, jalapeños, and ghost chile powder, the jar delivers, as the label states, “sweetness, spice, and everything nice.” (The salsa is 20 percent off through October 31 with promo code FEATURE20S.)
Mexican Hot Chocolate Wavy Potato Chips
Expected to be released in late October, H-E-B’s Mexican hot chocolate–flavored wavy potato chips are part of a new line of limited-edition chips and snack nuts that also includes honey sopaipilla and dulce de leche flavors. The chain tells us the snacks are an ode to “warm and cozy South Texas flavors.”
Returning for a second year, pasta kits with handmade butternut squash ravioli, brown butter sauce, and organic, fresh sage are available at the Dallas Eataly location for $29.90. Each kit comes with a recipe card to guide you along, and takes approximately fifteen minutes to prepare.
Pumpkin Spice Baklava
Phoenicia Specialty Foods in Houston
Gourmet international food market Phoenicia Foods’ two Houston markets will stock pumpkin spice baklava for the first time this year, among the 25 other kinds of baklava stocked daily in their baklava pastry cases. The pecan pie baklava, a seasonal flavor in past years, has always sold out quickly, so this year they “decided to jazz it up” with pumpkin spice baklava containing crushed pecans and spiced pumpkin jam, says a company representative.
Named in honor of the year the Spoetzl Brewery was founded in Shiner by a group of Czech and German immigrants, Shiner 1909 is a new launch from the makers of Texas craft beer favorite Shiner Bock. Shiner Beers’ newest is brewed with a mix of heritage barley, noble hops, the company’s proprietary lager yeast, and water from the same artesian well the founders used over a century ago. The result is a low-alcohol beer (4.5 percent ABV) with a “rich malt flavor and a crisp, refreshing finish.”
Sweet Cinnamon Filled Korean Pancakes
Trader Joe’s can reliably be counted on to blow our pumpkin-loving minds with new products in the fall. Among the newly launched products this year are sweet cinnamon-filled Korean pancakes, described on the package I currently have in my freezer as “a chewy-flaky dough with a lusciously gooey cinnamon filling.” Serve with ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Urbani Italian white truffles
Highly coveted culinary golden nuggets are now on sale at Eataly’s Dallas location. Imported by Urbani Truffles, these Italian white truffles are buried hidden gems, hunted in the ancient tradition by trained dogs during a picking season that begins in September and goes through December. Go for broke and shave these over pasta, risotto, or au gratin potatoes to impress guests with your foodie chops.
Vegan Pumpkin Spice Doughnut
Wheatsville Food Co-op in Austin
Forty-five-year old Wheatsville Food Co-op, with two locations in Austin, offers vegan doughnuts year round, “but we especially look forward to fall when we unleash the pumpkin spice doughnut,” says board administrator Julia Barron. Look for other fall-centric baked goods, like pumpkin scones, and feel good about shopping at a place that aims to create a self-reliant community that promotes societal transformation through cooperation, justice, and nonexploitation.