The Want List: Must-Try Pumpkin Spice Provisions

The air is brisk, the leaves are fluttering, and the store window mannequins are cardigan-clad. There’s no denying it: Pumpkin spice season is here.

Because there’s a pumpkin-spiced version of pretty much everything these days (and because nobody wants the misfortune of trying the nasty ones), we sought out some of the best P.S. offerings on the market by brands from our markets.

Here are a few you won’t want to miss:

Tate’s Bake Shop Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Despite the company’s sale five years ago, Tate’s thin-and-crispy chocolate chip cookies remain one of the Hamptons’ most famous exports, up there with Wölffer Summer in a Bottle, Balsam Farms corn, and the phrase “south of the highway.” And like apple picking at the Milk Pail or a hayride at Hank’s Pumpkintown, it’s an East End fall tradition when these limited-edition morsels hit the shelves.

Still made with real butter and sugar (and certified kosher), they pull out the same tricks as the usually green-bagged treats in an orange package, with nutty, clove-y spice infused with white chocolate chips into that signature Tate’s texture. Best of all, they’re distributed more or less nationwide, meaning you don’t have to wander to the Southampton bakery to get them.

Stew Leonard’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee Beans

If you’ve ever set foot in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the “Disneyland of dairy stores” needs no introduction. This place has everything: animatronics, Dole whips, $14.99 hot buttered lobster rolls — even a petting zoo, which seems tame compared to a singing pine tree that belts out a gravely-voiced jingle for Poland Spring water.

Naturally, this Nutmeg State institution (did we mention the Martha Stewart endorsements?) slays the pumpkin spice game, and this delightful 100% Arabica blend is a staple of the annual lineup. Unlike most autumn coffee concoctions you’ll find out there, which rely on sugary syrups, these flavored beans have the flavors baked right in as they’re freshly roasted in-store. As with any flavored beans, you’ll probably want to buy it ground: There’s enough pumpkin-spiced punch to haunt the burrs of your home grinder beyond its welcome, meaning it’ll also stay plenty potent even if you typically grind fresh to brew. Besides, what’s the point of being a purist now? You’re drinking pumpkin-spiced coffee.

Finback Crispy Pumpkin Dark Lager

Crave some seasonal spice in your pint but don’t want to hear it from your judgy craft beer friends? Trade that cheugy imperial pumpkin ale for this dark lager from Finback, the consummate Queens-and-Brooklyn-based brewery that wouldn’t dare drop a beer meant to be served with a sugary rim.

Riffing on their evergreen black lager, Crispy Nights, this seasonal release spices up sweet-and-malty pumpkin bread aromas with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger, backed with the slight dark roast coffee undertones. It’s a remarkable little beer that’s lighter on the palette than a pastry stout and far less dessert-y than your traditional pumpkin brew, making it a solid choice for those less in touch with their sweet tooth.

Van Leeuwen Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

Let’s take a moment to remember that not all pumpkin spice products are created equal. There’s the kind that tastes like pumpkin pie, and then there’s the kind that just tastes like pumpkin pie spice, sans the pumpkin itself.

This seasonal flavor from Van Leeuwen, the guys who famously make a Honeycomb ice cream without a single drop of honey (it’s made it caramel candy, and it’s no secret), bats in its own league. While it might sound like there’s a lot going on, the sum of all those parts is just right. Maybe it’s because the cheesecake flavor tastes like cheesecake crust without the actual cheesecake. Maybe it’s the chewy graham cracker chunks, tendered nice and doughy from steeping in that custardy French ice cream base. In any case, run, don’t walk, to grab this one from the freezer aisle or your nearest scoop shop — even if you’ll feel the urge to walk it off for the next two weeks.

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