The Flavors of Fall
The Flavors of Fall
As we have recently moved into the unofficial autumnal season, we are starting to notice different scents, different menu items in restaurants… and different flavor profiles being present to add a different kind of season to our favorite meals.
Welcome to the unofficial start of autumn!
Yes, unofficial because fall does not start until Monday, September 23 (which is pretty late in the month for it to start).
You are probably noticing, especially up in the northeast (like right in the Island) that the air has a different scent, leaves are changing color, a little chill gets into the air in the mornings – and occasionally in the evenings – and everyone wants us to think about the new flavors, and they want to use these flavors to accentuate the season.
The flavor of choice? In most places you go, its Pumpkin Spice.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of coffees, teas, ice creams, cakes, flavor rubs, hot chocolates, and spice blends that all related to pumpkin flavor and pumpkin spice.
This does prompt me to ask you one question… and I hope you understand where I am coming from with this…
Are you as sick of pumpkin spice flavor as I am?
Seriously, we know… everyone is convinced that this is a “once a year” indulgence, and that we have to take the time to enjoy the pumpkin spices while we can.
Well, I am sorry, but most people still have pumpkin for Christmas, and throughout the winter.
In fact, we believe that pumpkin spice is even better in the winter than in the fall – the whole idea of overdoing pumpkin spice as soon as a leaf falls from a tree in September really does overdo it a little.
Alright, obviously, we cannot just throw out that we are not happy with a flavor (especially one that is so popular) without offering different opinions about it.
That being said, with a little help from our friends at Wide Open Eats, Bon Appetit, and Simple Bites we are proud to present you with flavors that we think are even better than pumpkin spice in the autumnal season!
Let’s get this out of the way…
Three of the spices we are going to suggest heavily are ginger, clove, and cinnamon. Now, most of us can probably recognize these (along with nutmeg) as the major ingredients in just about any rendition of a pumpkin spice blend.
There is a reason for that – these spices do go great with this season, but they do not need to be combined into pumpkin spice to be worthwhile!
I think that most of us love cinnamon, and while we have already admitted that this is an important ingredient in Pumpkin Spice, the fact is that this spice offers so much more than just being relegated to that specific use.
If you think about fall, you think about things getting colder, and the result of this is people often want something with a warm flavor, which cinnamon does offer. It is also very versatile…
You don’t want ice cream because it is colder? Add some cinnamon!
It also goes great with apples, and it goes well as a part of a spice mix in a number of otherwise mundane cakes.
Finally, since we are a butchery and meat market, it is important to point out that this season alone can jazz up otherwise unexciting meat dishes. Don’t believe us? Add a generous sprinkling onto lean pork chops and revel in the experience!
White and Black Pepper.
There is no real need to go into depth here – most of us use pepper pretty regularly, whether it is black, white, red, pink, or any other artisanal variety.
This is just like cinnamon in that it offers a warming quality. Have you ever come in from a cold day straight to dinner and the taste of a peppery dish was immediately comforting?
Yeah, all of us here, too. Pepper just has that good down-home feel that most of us want to have when it starts to get chilly (or chili?).
While nutmeg is classically associated with Christmas, writing this off as a spice only for the holidays is a mistake. The flavor of nutmeg can add interesting flavor highlights to existing dishes.
When nutmeg is used as a spice in a roasted beef round, it adds a lovely flavor profile that almost snaps as you taste it. Do not avoid nutmeg if it is not in pumpkin spice just because it is not the holiday season!
Most people do not give clove a whole lot of thought.
Seriously, if I asked you to name a dish where the flavor of clove really exploded, what would you say?
Maybe you can come up with something, and maybe not – the point of this is that clove really goes a long way to enhance other flavors. It combines well with every other flavor on this list, and it accentuates them each in different ways.
If you want a dish that does clove well, making it the star of the show, then you will want to try a glaze with clove as a main ingredient. This will make a spectacular and truly interesting flavor to whatever meat the glaze is added to. We would recommend it with either pork or chicken, but experiment and find your favorite taste!
You don’t need to have Asian food or pumpkin flavors to enjoy the taste of ginger.
Think of many of the fall-favorite sweets – gingerbread, gingersnaps, ginger candies… all of them rely heavily on the spicy sweetness you can find in ginger.
Ginger also goes great with most meats if done properly – pork is a no-brainer, and an Asian chicken or beef dish will have heaping amounts of ginger.
Do you know what is better that pumpkin?
Oh yeah – you guessed it… apples! The unofficial fruit of the fall season (and coincidentally the official fruit of New York State).
Apples can be made into sauce, pies, cakes, or butters, and they can be used to dress up pork, chicken, and different kinds of stuffing or dressing. Yes, the flavor of pumpkin is nice in some cases, but the versatility of the fresh-picked apple, with its juicy crunch, is something else entirely.
Try the apple flavors – we can guarantee that when the taste of apple is combined with that of cinnamon and nutmeg, you won’t even be thinking about pumpkin spice!
And that… is that!
Look, I know it looks like we are knocking pumpkin spice… and that is not the case.
The fact is that there is a place for it, and we love pumpkin pie, and I had a pumpkin latte this past weekend. However, it does not need to be the star of the season when:
· It does not go great with meats (like apples do)
· There are plenty of other appropriate flavors
· Its just SO DONE to DEATH
And that is all we have! Please let us know your thoughts, and we are happy to have a conversation with you!
Enjoy your fall season, and dive into those nutmeg and cinnamon flavored apples!