Though we sometimes grumble about the snow, and the heat, and the snow again--life in New England means having four distinct seasons: frost and snow-laden winters, verdant springs, balmy summers, and crisply colorful autumns. The seasons are the heart and soul of New England living, which is best reflected in the foods we love so dearly. This month, we’re paying tribute to some of the flavors of Fall in New England--a time of bountiful harvests, when cooler waters mean (according to conventional folk-wisdom) better oysters...and yes, a dose or two of pumpkin spice. And pumpkin bread. And pumpkin beer. Did we mention pumpkins? We like pumpkins around here, apparently. Here’s our list of some of our favorite fall treats--and where to get them!
Lobster Rolls & Clam chowder--Summer is over, and that is a little sad--but nobody said seafood season is over. No, quite the contrary--New England’s famed crustaceans are actually more active from now through December! As if you need another reason to gorge yourself on our regional seafood delicacies. We will also say that the cool Fall air is perfect fodder for a cup of piping-hot and creamy clam chowder. If this picture doesn’t get you up to Alisson’s in Kennebunkport, well...maybe it’s just not your cup of chowdah.
Oysters--Remember that old saying about oysters and months ending in “R”? Well, we have no idea about its validity, but tradition tells us that cooler waters mean sweeter, brinier oysters, and we’re not one to argue. You’d best get yourself to Neptune Oyster in Boston’s North End to dispel the myths once and for all. This place has some of the most delicious oysters on offer anywhere.
Pumpkin Muffins--Now we’re getting into real comfort food season, and being a region where only the sturdy and resourceful survive, Fall means time to harvest, and time to fatten up, because, yes, winter is coming… Use this as an excuse to enjoy all of the baked goods, like the pumpkin muffins you’ll find across the region. But whatever you do, don’t give Flour Bakery in Boston a pass. James Beard winner Joanne Chang’s version of the New England staple comes studded with candied green pumpkin seeds, and like everything else in the shop, it’s delicious.
Pumpkin Everything Else--Okay, let’s just get this out of the way. No fall food item is quite as iconic as the pumpkin. It’s the symbol of Fall folklore, and it probably sat on the table at the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving, and now it’s crammed into practically every food you can imagine--from sweets, pies, to beer--and yes, pumpkin-spiced lattes, which merely contain pumpkin pie spices without any actual gourd-flavoring, but “clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg latte” doesn’t have that festive ring to it. But maybe we’re having one of those “Indian Summers”, where the temperature spikes, just enough to warrant a trip to JP Licks. Well what better way than to enjoy the manic weather patterns of New England than with an amazing cup or cone of pumpkin ice cream? We seriously can’t think of anything else that’ll do the trick.
Apple Cider & Donuts--Apple-picking is one of our favorite autumnal pastimes, and a hot (or cold) cup of pressed cider is part of the payoff from all of that perilous work, running amok in the orchards, falling out of trees, slipping on rotting Macintoshes--all of those fond memories! Now, some of us aren’t exactly into the whole $5 gourmet donut trend that seems to have taken the foodie/Instagram set by storm. No, we’ll wait for when a batch of hot, lightly-spiced cider donuts comes out of the kitchen around October, thank you very much. Our friends over at Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, New Hampshire, have been known to have these and more of your favorite New England baked goods on offer, so you should pay them a visit. We hear it’s kind of pretty up there this time of year.