If you ask a random person on the street what flavor they associate the most with the fall, they will answer either pumpkin or pumpkin spice (and they are not the same, as all food blogs like to remind us again and again).
And that’s fine! Nothing wrong with pumpkins or pumpkin spice, a warm and nutty blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves! Pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes are some of the most delicious seasonal staples, and they fully deserve their due.
But with the commodification of the fall season, so to speak, they’ve increasingly started to overwhelm all the other beautiful seasonal flavors fall uniquely suited for. The moment our calendars turn from August to September, we’re expected to deck out in fluffy sweaters, grab a cup of pumpkin spice latte, and start scheduling a visit to a pumpkin patch if we’re to have a full fall experience.
All perfectly good if those are things you enjoy. But it’s also an increasingly limited view of the flavors and colors one should enjoy once September rolls around. So much so that other flavors that people used to eagerly await Autumn become ignored to the point that some forget to enjoy them altogether or do not associate with the season anymore, even if they do enjoy them.
It’s pumpkins and pumpkin spice from here on out!
Are you the same? Or have you been making the most of the flavors the season has to offer? If not, there are still about two weeks left until it’s over and the Christmas season truly sets in. Now’s just the right time to enjoy these 15 fall flavors!
If there’s a flavor that can somewhat rival pumpkin and pumpkin spice during the fall season, it’s probably apples (though they lack the support of popular seasonal drinks to truly measure up).
Apples are one of the biggest seasonal products. Moderately sweet, with a slight underlying tartness, they fit the season not only flavor-wise but through imagery as well, the bright and shiny red and yellow colors closely associated with Autumn.
It helps that they’re widely used in multiple sweet and savory recipes and that the apple pie is considered to be an ultimate comfort dessert. If you plan to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte, then pair it with a piece of apple pie (maybe with a little dusting of cinnamon) for the ultimate fall season combo!
Almost as varied as apples in taste, pears are a great alternative if you find apples too sweet! They’re usually more moderate, with a slight hint of tanginess and spiciness to them. As easy and versatile in use as their more oft-consumed brethren, pears can easily swap apples for most recipes from pies to cookies to savory, meaty dishes, their taste an excellent pairing to most spices and herbs popular during the fall season, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla.
Rather than being ignored during the season, cranberries have another problem: they’ve become so intrinsically associated with Thanksgiving that most people simply don’t pay attention to them outside the holiday weekend!
Cranberries are fresh-tasting and slightly tart, with an underlying sweetness and a perfect addition to most pastries! Swap the blueberries or raspberries in your recipes for cranberries during the season, and give it a try!
Somewhat similar to cranberries, with a bright tart flavor and a complex sweet aftertaste, pomegranates are even more overlooked. And they’re supposed to be one of the signature autumn fruits too!
Pomegranate season starts at the end of September and lasts throughout November, making them one of the biggest seasonal specialties. For those who love citrus and enjoy a bit of tart acidity with their fruits, pomegranates would be an excellent seasonal swap!
Cinnamon is a curious case: it’s heftily used during the season but only as an ingredient to augment the other flavors, not as the primary flavoring!
Quite a missed opportunity since if there were a perfect spice contest for the fall season, it would be cinnamon! It’s warm and a bit spicy, with a complex sweetness and prominent woody notes.
Give it a chance to work on its own instead of in tandem with other spices: enjoy some cinnamon cookies and homemade cinnamon rolls, or just add some cinnamon to your latte without other spices and see how you enjoy it!
Golden, stretchy, sweet, and sticky, caramel is one of the fall season’s favorite flavors. Perhaps the one that is still strongly associated with the season beyond the pumpkin spice, even though the latter has been steadily trumping it in fame for the last couple of decades.
If there’s a reason people have been averse to using caramel as an ingredient, it’s probably due to the overwhelming sweetness. Salted caramel has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years. A tiny hint of savoriness adds more depth and complexity to the usually one-note, sweet flavor, cutting down on the sweetness and rebalancing the flavor profile to be more tame and mature, for lack of a better word. It’s a great ingredient for drinks and desserts, but it requires a bit of caution!
Maple syrup is another ingredient uniquely suited for fall, not only because it shares primary flavor notes with many other signature fall season products (caramel, nuts, cinnamon, etc.) but because of the imagery it evokes.
Try it for yourself: close your eyes and think of maple syrup; what’s the first thing to come to mind? For most people, it’s the lazy Sunday mornings from their childhood, with piles of pancakes stocked up on a plate, a hefty portion of maple syrup, and a knob of butter on top.
Maple syrup is sweet, rich, and can be used in many ways, not just as a pancake garnish, from cocktails and mocktails to pies and cookies, and even glaze for savory, meaty ingredients like bacon, salmon, and pork chops.
But its true strength lies in its strong associations with comfort and coziness, the feelings we all crave to incite the most during the season, especially when it’s ending and winter is starting to settle in.
Butterscotch is caramel’s oft-forgotten little brother. Made with primarily brown sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla, it has a sweet flavor and fragrant aroma, warm and comforting. The perfect fall candy if there ever was one, butterscotch is also easy to whip up at home to enhance other desserts like cheesecakes, cupcake icing, cookies, and even ice cream!
Just like cinnamon, ginger on its own can be overlooked and primarily used to augment other flavors, even though it’s a great, richly flavored ingredient on its own!
Its peppery, warm, and tad sweet flavor is ideally suited for the end of the fall season when the warmth is starting to wane and needs a bit of a boost among those of us who feel cold too keenly.
If you’ve never experimented with ginger-forward recipes, now’s the time: choose a recipe or two of your favorite autumn staples (like a cream of pumpkin or potato soup, or maybe roasted pork loin), and cut down on other spices while upping the amount of ginger.
Possibly one of the most overlooked products here in America during their peak season. You cannot walk the streets of Instanbul during Autumn months without encountering dozens of carts with freshly roasted chestnuts, still pleasantly warm and ready to be consumed.
Chestnut’s slightly sweet, buttery flavor is most often compared to sweet potatoes, and if they can be described in one abstract word, it would be warm. They’re the ultimate example of comfort food.
In France, fall is the season for epic marron glaces, the sugar-glazed candied chestnuts. If you’ve never had them, now’s the best time to give these delectable, sweet, and crunchy chestnut candies a taste!
While we, the people of the 21st century, have the privilege of enjoying nuts year-round, we should remember that, initially, nuts were a classic autumn snack! Most nuts are harvested during late August and throughout September, making them one of the signature fall season products.
Toasting removes the nuts’ slightly astringent taste (which most people find unpleasant) while making the other flavors more intense and well-pronounced. Crunchy toasted nuts are a perfect autumn snack to enjoy on their own, but they’re also an incredibly versatile ingredient, easy to use in a multitude of savory recipes, desserts, and even drinks!
Bourbon is a profoundly flavorful drink with well-expressed woody, smoky, vanilla, and caramel notes, all perfect for the autumn season!
And adding the smoky, woody notes of bourbon to your day doesn’t mean you have to take up drinking, either! Plenty of dessert and sauce recipes utilize the drink, from pecan pies to roast chicken, with alcohol cooked out only to leave behind the beautifully rich flavor.
Cannot imagine the fall season without adding spices to your hot drink? By any means, go ahead - just don’t limit yourself to pumpkin spice!
Masala chai is a famous Indian drink consisting of rich black tea flavored with milk and a spice blend called karha. The main ingredients in karha are ground green cardamom seeds and ginger. The rest of the mixture is adjusted to the maker’s taste with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, star anise, nutmeg, and peppercorns, all common ingredients.
And similar to pumpkin spice, the chai spice blend is not limited to chai lattes. It can be utilized in multiple ways, adding flavor to cookies, pound cakes, bread, and more!
Brown butter is one of the most overlooked ingredients in the kitchen for the simple reason that most people are trying to cut down on cooking time instead of increasing it, and good brown butter means increasing the cooking time.
To produce good, richly flavored brown butter, you’ll need a stick of high-quality, creamy butter and patience to watch over it while it’s melting for about 10 minutes. The milk solids must turn brown but not burn, which is a delicate act of balance that requires keeping a keen eye on the pan all throughout the process. But once it’s done, it’ll produce a rich, intense, nutty, and toasty flavor that can be incredibly versatile in use.
Brown butter is usually associated with savory dishes like steak and roast vegetables and goes incredibly well with other flavorful ingredients like garlic, rosemary, sage, and tarragon, adding warmth and depth to the dish. But if you allow your fantasy to fly a little, it’s easy to see how the brown butter could be beneficial for cookie and cake recipes as well, giving them a more autumn flair.
And last, but not least, chocolate! Chocolate is one of the most versatile flavors in the world, not only because most people enjoy it, be they adults or children, but because it’s so varied in itself. It’s not just random chocolate that we associate with fall, but specifically chocolate with warmer, smoother flavor, a fine gourmet-quality product that melts on the tongue.
If you were to ask us, we’d say that the chocolate flavor that suits cozy golden autumn afternoons the best is the nutty praline or gianduja, combining the chocolate with the deep warm flavor of roast nuts that we’ve already lauded on this list as one of the signature fall season flavors.
But if you’re into something with more of a kick, now would be a great time to try chocolate with chili! A bit of hot spice adds to the depth and complexity of the chocolate flavor, bringing forward rich umami notes. With a cup of warm coffee, sweetened by cream or milk, it would be a perfect dessert to end the day!
Visit Yummy Bazaar’s Online Grocery Store for More Seasonal Fall Treats:
Yummy Bazaar’s online grocery store hosts one of the largest selections of jams, pastries, and more goodies, all jam-packed (huh!) with warm, nutty, robust flavors that fit the golden cozy season. Explore our bakery for apple or chocolate tarts, our chocolate collection for smooth milk chocolate, nutty pralines, or fine-quality gianduja. Or check out the assortment of gourmet-quality fruit preserves, from warm apple jams to classic cranberry sauce, right before the Thanksgiving weekend sets it. You can get anything that catches your eye right from the comfort of your couch: simply stock the cart with your chosen products, and we’ll ensure it gets delivered to your doorstep ASAP!