Each year, it seems like autumn has less to do with carving pumpkins and more to do with consuming them. A trend that began with Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte has spawned everything from Pumpkin Spice Cheerios and Pumpkin Spice Oreos to Pumpkin Pie Pop- Tarts.
Local Pittsburgh businesses have not ignored this wave of pumpkin consumption. Here’s our guide to some of the tastiest homegrown treats available around the city right now:
Cinnamon Ghoul Pumpkin Ale, Spoonwood Brewing Co., 5981 Baptist Rd., Bethel Park
If you liquified and fermented grandma’s pumpkin pie you’d get Cinnamon Ghoul, Spoonwood’s contribution to autumnal intoxication. As the name — a pun referencing the Neil Young song title — implies, cinnamon is the key ingredient. But there’s also nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, honey malt and pumpkin puree lurking in the mix. Order by the pint or grab a 32-ounce growler to go. If you need a meal to soak up all of that pumpkin ale, dig into some Smashing Pumpkin Crepes, which are rolled with lemon cheesecake filling and then garnished with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and candied pecans.
Pumpkin Spice Pie-Rogies, Cop Out Pierogies, 350 Butler St., Etna
Pierogies aren’t just doughy, potato-filled entrées made by little old ladies in church basements. At Cop Out Pierogies in Etna, Carl Funtal, a former Shaler police sergeant, is churning out dessert “pie-rogies” made with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream cheese and Fireball Whisky! You get 14 of ‘em for $10, which is a steal. Hurry up and grab yours before they’re outlawed by those babushka-wearin’ biddies.
Pumpkin French Toast, Dor-Stop Restaurant, 1430 Potomac Ave., Dormont
One of Pittsburgh landmark breakfast spots, the Dor-Stop is known for its hot cakes, including the pumpkin spice variety. But their Pumpkin French Toast is another dessert-like offering that can make an average October morning feel like Christmas Day. You’ve been good all year, now be bad and order a second helping. Santa Claus would be proud.
Pumpkin Drop Cookies, Giant Eagle, various locations
Need a sweet treat to get you through your next grocery store run? Skip the candy aisle and head to Giant Eagle’s bakery department for some house-made Pumpkin Drop Cookies. The thought of biting into one of these soft, icing-topped desserts will give yinz guys just the right amount of motivation to maneuver that overloaded buggy through the checkout line and out the door. Don’t forget to use your Advantage Card, jag!
Pumpkin Ravioli, Girasole, 733 Copeland St., Shadyside
Tucked away in a little corner of Copeland Street in Shadyside, Girasole has been dishing out authentic, Italian eats for nearly two decades. Their fall lunch and dinner menus feature an array of hearty, Old World offerings, including Pumpkin Ravioli served with brown butter, pancetta and walnuts in a sage cream sauce. Trick-or-treating’s for kids; indulge in the season like an adult.
Pumpkin Arctic Swirl Ice Cream, Page Dairy Mart, 4600 E. Carson St., South Side
Experience one more ice cream-induced brain freeze before winter sets in. Page Dairy Mart, an ice cream institution since 1951, ends its season with a pumpkin pie-flavored soft serve that’ll make you scream, “Oh my gourd!” Try it as a milkshake, an arctic swirl (soft serve with extra goodies thrown into the mix) or in a cake, sugar, waffle or pretzel cone.
Bonus: Haven’t gotten enough of the scent of the season?
Pumpkin Spice Candle, The Candle Lab, 409 Butler St., Lawrenceville
Even if you’re on a diet you can still get a pumpkin spice fix through your nasal passages. Take a whiff of the festive scent at The Candle Lab in Lawrenceville. The Butler Street business is hosting a Wick or Treat Halloween Party from 4 to 8 pm. on Friday, Oct. 27. Come in costume, make candles, sip cocktails provided by Country Hammer Moonshine and sign up to win prizes. Top off the spooky night by heading down the road to Row House Cinema, co-sponsor of the event, for a 9 p.m. screening of “Hocus Pocus.”