As a born-and-bred Floridian, I grew up longing for seasons, wondering why I couldn’t have color-changing leaves and white Christmases, just like all my favorite TV show characters. As an adult, I’ve learned to cope—and partly trick myself into thinking otherwise. And the way I’ve done that is through food. We’re well into October, so pumpkin-flavored treats abound on local menus, from breweries to coffee shops to bakeries. Here’s where I’ll be eating and drinking my way into thinking this is finally the year the leaves might change colors.
Riptide Brewing Company
“Grumpy Ghoul” blonde coffee ale: Riptide Brewing has taken its long-standing favorite “Grumpy Blonde” coffee ale, made with locally roasted coffee beans from Grumpy Goat Coffee Roastery, and given it a seasonal spin by infusing it with vanilla, marshmallow and pumpkin spice. While some pumpkin beers are brewed to pair with changing weather patterns, Ryan Carruth, director of brewing and operations, made sure to take into account our still-tropical climate and brew a beer as refreshing as it is tasty. “I think that in most cases, they are typically stronger and more fortified beers that go great in the cold. I thought it was important to showcase that light beers can be packed full of flavor, even in the 80-degree fall months in South Florida,” Carruth wrote. The beer will be available at both the Naples and Bonita Springs taprooms.
987 Third Ave. N., Naples;
28120 Hunters Ridge Blvd.,
Pumpkin Spice Latte: Among the never-ending selections of Venezuelan treats at Silva’s Bakery is its version of the pumpkin spice latte. Its pumpkin spice syrup takes pumpkin puree and adds cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, a little bit of vanilla and a pinch of ginger. Mixed with a shot of espresso and perfectly textured hot milk, it’s a sip of autumnal goodness, and the beautiful latte art is always a major plus. If you’re looking for something sweet to bite into while you sip on your latte, go for a golfeado, a traditional Venezuelan glazed sweet sticky bun that’s filled with panela sugar, cheese and spices and served with a thick triangle of cheese on top. For something savory, try the cachito de jamon, a crescent-shaped roll stuffed with chopped ham and bacon.
10823 Tamiami Trail N., Naples;
Old Vines Supper Club
Pumpkin Seed Eton Mess: At this supper club, you don’t need a membership to enjoy this gourd-based dessert. It was a sight to watch executive pastry chef Corie Greenberg plate this dessert up as she first scooped mandarin curd as the base, added a dollop of pumpkin diplomat cream, carefully cracked apart and leaned thin layers of pumpkin seed meringue onto each other and then garnished the edges with brown butter sage crunch and caramelized butternut squash. The result: a medley of flavors and textures that combine a Southwest Florida fall and an outdoor walk in the brisk Northeastern autumn air. Opt for the wine pairing and you’ll sip on a glass of Vin Santa, an Italian dessert wine, while scooping up every last bit of this dish. This dessert will continue on its “Early Fall” tasting menu and roll over into the “Late Fall” tasting menu. Available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
2795 Davis Blvd., Naples;
Angelic Desserts Bakery
Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops: This bakery at the crossroads of Airport-Pulling Road and Vanderbilt Beach Road is a favorite for many reasons (including its key lime pie), but during the fall in Naples, the pumpkin spice muffin tops might top that list. These baked treats are light and fluffy and drizzled with spiced glaze and pepitas. The pumpkin specialties don’t stop there, either: A quick glance at the pastry case and you’ll spot pumpkin cream cheese muffins, pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin chai cinnamon rolls and pumpkin cream cheese rolls, some even as gluten-free and vegan options.
2355 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples;
Pumpkin Tres Leches: Chef Glenn Campbell of The Local on Pine Ridge Road gave us a sneak preview of his fall dessert that will make its way onto the menu in November and through the holidays. “Pumpkin might not be the most versatile food, but a lot can be done, and I feel like it really highlights the season,” Campbell wrote. The recipe for this traditional Latin American delight calls for a pumpkin cake base—using locally grown pumpkins when available, staying true to the restaurant’s name—soaked with “tres” kinds of milk, typically evaporated, condensed and whole milk.
5323 Airport-Pulling Road, Naples;
This story first appeared in The Naples Press. For more stories like this, click here
The Naples Press is a weekly broadsheet newspaper dedicated to locally produced news for Collier County, Florida.