Kroger and Hobby Lobby start to pull out the fall decorations as soon as Sept. 1 hits. From scarecrow balloons to pumpkins, the fall season is in full swing before the calendar even says so.
And I don’t mind. By September, I'm tired of the hot, humid Bloomington summers. I want the weather to be cooler and the leaves to change colors. I welcome any fall-related change.
With that transition comes the reintroduction of fall flavors and the fall vibe. And I love it. I love the decorations and the weather and the pumpkins. But I don’t like the taste of pumpkin. At all.
Anything pumpkin flavored does not work for me. Starbucks is pushing it too far with their iced pumpkin cream chai tea latte and their pumpkin spice latte. It doesn’t mix well. Pumpkin pie tastes off. And while I appreciate the idea of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, I just don’t like how they taste. I really wish I did, but I don’t.
Moral of the story: pumpkin wasn’t meant to be incorporated into anything edible.
I love looking at pumpkins and shopping for pumpkins and decorating my house with pumpkins, but that’s as far as their job description goes. Pumpkin does not equal food. At least for me.
There are other real fall flavors that are unquestionably better: apple, caramel, s’mores and mocha.
I love drinking a cup of cold, crisp apple cider. It's best to drink it in the afternoon while waking up from a nap after a long day. Even if it may be cold outside, it’s still refreshing to drink cold cider and embrace the fact that fall has finally arrived.
Caramel with apples is also one of my favorite fall snacks. Apples thrive in the fall season; it’s the only time I'll willingly eat a honey crisp with caramel, even though the taste of the apple is a bit too tart for me. I make an exception because it’s too good to pass up, especially when you have the added sweetness of caramel. Fall gives me an excuse to eat spoonfuls of caramel. It always reminds me of fall.
While I can admit s’mores is one of the main summer flavors, you can’t deny that it also plays a huge role in the fall season. The smell and warmth of a campfire gives off a cozy vibe and keeps you warm as the weather gets cooler. While in summer it’s nice to have a campfire, it’s already hot out so it doesn’t have the same warming, comforting effect it has with cooler temperatures. I love eating gooey, chocolatey s’mores while wearing a warm sweater and blanket. It makes me feel very at peace.
As for mocha, I will say that I drink mochas every week of the year, but they hit hardest during the fall season. Mochas fit the fall vibe well and round out the season's top flavors. Mochas are warm, creamy and comfy. When I’m sitting at Crumble Café or Verona and watching the leaves of the trees turn red and orange, I take a sip of a mocha and I am once again reminded that fall really is here.
I still have respect for the contributions pumpkin makes to the fall season, but it just doesn’t have what it takes to make my top fall flavors list. Apple, caramel, s’mores and mocha are more equipped to complete the fall palate.
Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian.