I’m going to admit something shameful: I hate pumpkin spice. I know everyone loves it. I know it’s good. I want to like it. I’ve really tried! But I think it’s too sweet and the flavor profile just isn’t for me. I’m sorry.
As a pumpkin spice-hater, I would like to pitch some new flavors that I believe could (and should) replace pumpkin spice as the flavor of the fall season. Please have an open mind while reading this list. One of these flavors could change fall forever!
Growing up, I always got Tiger’s Blood as one of the flavors on my snowball in the summer. Tiger’s Blood is typically a combination of watermelon, strawberry, and coconut. It’s fun and fruity, and most importantly, it’s blood red. Fall is supposed to be spooky and scary. Why aren’t we using Tiger’s Blood as a fall flavor profile?! It looks and sounds so scary! You might be feeling the need to point out that these fruits are not seasonal in the fall. But please remember that we’re not talking about real fruit
By the time this article comes out, our beloved TikTok corn song may be out of style. That doesn’t matter, though. I will always love corn! Corn casserole makes an appearance on many Thanksgiving tables. Halloween is all about candy corn. I think corn flavor could be everywhere all season long if we’d let it. Maybe the Corn Kid was onto something.
Candied Yams with Toasted Marshmallows
I think candied yams with toasted marshmallows could be pumpkin spice 2.0. It’s a similar flavor profile, but much more interesting and complex. It’s a little toasty, it’s sweet, and it has those same notes of cinnamon and allspice we associate with pumpkin spice. But unlike pumpkin spice, it feels a little more earthy and savory. It’s a variation on a theme I think a lot of people could get behind.
Hear me out before you say, “Beets? Yuck!” Beets are delicious and earthy with a light sweetness that can easily be enhanced. I think coffee drinks, candies, and baked goods could all be enhanced with the delightful flavor of sweetened beet. Plus, the incredible purple color makes it awesome for Halloween.
Figs are so good and completely underutilized in the food-flavoring world! Fig Newtons have cornered the market on fig-flavored desserts and they aren’t even that good. When I think about a fig latte, my mouth starts to water. The sweet taste with caramel-y undertones would be so wonderful, especially as the weather starts to get a little cooler and we take our sweaters out of storage.
It’s not dessert-y like pumpkin spice, I know! But black garlic does have its own sweetness and richness that I know would complement so many other foods. If you’ve never had black garlic, it tastes like roasted garlic meets balsamic reduction. It would be great on popcorn and in salad dressings and I would like to argue that there is a world where you could make a tasty coffee beverage with black garlic. I haven’t done it, but I believe I could.