You should know, as we settle into the Instagram-worthy fall season, that there are plenty of pumpkin-tastic foods and beverages out there that don’t fall into the category of “thing I bought at Starbucks” (no disrespect intended toward Starbucks’ seasonal drinks, of course, because they have a place in the world, too).
Out East, we grow our own pumpkins, and those pumpkins make handy additions to all that is good in this world. Here are some choice East End finds for the pumpkin enthusiast.
The Pumpkin Ice Cream at Magic Fountain
I don’t care if you’ve heard me wax poetic about Magic Fountain’s ice creams, because I am going to keep waxing until forever. This Mattituck institution serves homemade ‘creams that continue to turn heads, even decades later (Magic Fountain opened for business in 1966). Once a year, they reintroduce their pumpkin ice cream, made from pumpkin purée, cinnamon, molasses, and nutmeg. There is so much to love about this creamy, pumpkin pie-esque take on an old classic that it’s hard to put it all into words. As Megan Draper would say, “Just taste it!”
Magic Fountain, 9825 Main Road, Mattituck, open daily 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., (631) 298.4908.
The Pumpkin Pie at Hallock’s Cider Mill
Wayne Hallock opened Hallock’s Cider Mill in 1978 and has been slinging pies ever since. Although he is famous for a wide variety of pies, his pumpkin variety is a true fall treat, invoking all those warm, toasty fall flavors. Come Thanksgiving, Hallock’s serves all manner of festive pies, but the pumpkin may be their most beloved. Fun fact: Hallock’s is just as well known for its “gnome tree” (a storm-damaged maple decorated by Marianne Hallock with gnomes, trolls, and other items of visual interest) as it is for its pies, but, personally, I’m in it for the dessert.
Hallock’s Cider Mill, 1960 Main Road, Laurel, open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., (631) 298.1140.
The Pumpkin Donuts at Hank’s Pumpkintown
I know of no better way to instantly bleed cash from my bank account than to take my toddler son to Hank’s Pumpkintown, the Water Mill temple of all things pumpkin. While my enthusiastic child climbs on things and pets things and points at things he wants me to buy for him, I can find solace in the market, where fresh baked goods are pretty much the raison d’etre. We’re all well versed on the virtues of apple cider donuts, but pumpkin donuts? I mean, come on. Is there are more autumnal delicacy? Hank’s donuts are fried fresh, so yours will be piping hot and steaming pumpkin bliss the minute you shell over your dough.
Hank’s Pumpkintown, 240 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Halloween, (631) 726.4667.
The Pumpkin Latté at Hampton Coffee Company
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Unlike our dear friends at Starbucks, the baristas at Hampton Coffee Company—which has outposts in Aquebogue, Water Mill, Southampton, and Westhampton Beach—use real pumpkin in their seasonal lattés. The delightful combination of purée, cane sugar, hand-roasted espresso, steamed milk, whipped cream, and color-appropriate sprinkles makes for a drink that just screams autumn. Looking to embrace your diabetic tendencies? Go, instead, for the pumpkin white mocha, which adds a decadent white chocolate sauce to the mix. And then Instagram your worries away! Personally, I prefer the Water Mill location, which is just steps away from Green Thumb Organic Farm (pick up a pumpkin for carving on your way home).
Hampton Coffee Company, 869 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, (631) 726.2633.
The Dirty Pumpkin at the North Fork Roasting Company
I’m not sure one can ever drink too many pumpkin-themed drinks and so, with that in mind, North Fork Roasting Company’s ‘Dirty Pumpkin’ must appear on any comprehensive list of these drinks on the East End. It’s a house-made chai latté with pumpkin purée and a shot of espresso, topped with freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg and, yes, a cinnamon stick for extra punch, and, like so much in the pumpkin category, it’s only available in the fall. Simply put: The Dirty Pumpkin is the perfect encapsulation of a season, should you need something to sum up your fall.
North Fork Roasting Company, 55795 Main Road, Southold, open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., (631) 876.5450.