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Fall Flavor Face-off

Posted by Alex Pearlman  September 10, 2011 09:08 AM

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pumpkins.jpgIt's been full-fledged fall for weeks in the retail sector, which seems to keep a steady pace a season ahead of the rest of us. But for everyone else, the calendar change to September marks back-to-school days, cooler nights, and another highly anticipated phenomenon -- fall food and drink. Here are some of our favorites.

Pumpkin Coffee. A tried and true favorite. Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and Honeydew all offer this spiced version of your morning motivation every year. Get it iced and enjoy the last warm days Boston will see for a while.

Apple Cider Donuts. These are a treat that's worth a trek to the suburbs, since the key is to get them fresh. Pick-your-own farms usually have apple cider donuts right out of the oven for purchase. You can also check your local farmer’s market. But be forewarned: They go fast. Cider donuts are so popular this time of year that farms have been known to limit the number you can buy to ensure fair distribution!

Apple Cider. Great hot or cold, this is another treat that's best when it's fresh from a local farm. It’s still decent from the supermarket, too, but skip it at Dunk’s -- the syrupy beverage just tastes processed. If you're looking for an adult version, Woodchuck also makes apple- and pumpkin-flavored hard cider that you can find at most liquor stores.

Beer. Sam Adams Octoberfest will always be a hometown seasonal favorite, which is perfect, because the brewery is holding the brew's namesake festival today to celebrate the season. Shipyard and UFO also have great pumpkin ales that stand out from the fall beer crowd. For more unique tastes, brewers' festivals are perfect spots to try local craft beers in flavors like pecan or banana nut bread.

Candy. Despite the presence of everyone's favorite candy-grabbing holiday, this is one area in which the season sorely lacks. Sure, there are fall-colored M&Ms, but autumn candy otherwise looks unappealing. It's the season of grainy leaf- and turkey-shaped sugar lollipops, cream-filled pumpkins, and (shudder) candy corn. Ensure you don’t get egged and do your trick-or-treaters a favor by springing for the good stuff this year.

Fair Food. New England is host to several fall fairs each year, including Topsfield Fair, which is New England’s oldest agricultural fair; New England’s largest fair, The Big E; and the Renaissance-themed King Richard’s Faire. German fries, “Gobbler” sandwiches, giant turkey legs, and yards of meade are just some of the once-a-year treats you can’t miss, even if they are overpriced.

From here on out we’re pretty much expected to gorge ourselves right through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But you’ll need those few extra pounds to survive Boston’s long, cold winter -- and you can always resolve to lose the weight in January.

What are some of your Boston fall food favorites? Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Kam's World (Flickr)

By Rachel Pennellatore -- I'm a tiny gal with big ideas who's always on the move. One day I'm going to use my vast amount of otherwise useless trivia knowledge to beat Ken Jennings' Jeopardy score. Likes: hula hooping, all things involving the 80's, delicious martinis, sunshine, proper grammar, baby animals. Dislikes: math, being cold, spiders, most vegetables, things in places I can't reach.

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