It’s time to get spicy – pumpkin style

Fall is in the air, and with it comes many things. The leaves will soon start to change colors, people will start wearing their favorite sweatshirts and enjoying all sorts of delicious foods and drinks that are only available during this time of year.

Pumpkin spice and other similar flavors have become more popular in recent years, so I decided to see what the obsession is all about.

I went to Starbucks and enjoyed a pumpkin scone — and, of course, I order my trusty hot chocolate, which never fails me.  I have to admit it. The pumpkin scone was quite tasty.

Now, I must admit, I was never one of the people who got caught up in this craze.  However, I can understand why some people would love it.

While in Starbucks, I met Mariah.  She has noticed this obsession for the past two years, and has also seen the flavor become available in several different stores.  The pumpkin spice latte is no longer the only game in town.  There are several pumpkin flavored coffees and pastries that were not available just five years ago.  However, she thinks the obsession is waning, and people are not as excited about it as they once were.

Victoria Carswell from Spartanburg, SC is more enthused about pumpkin flavored items. “I wouldn’t call it an obsession on my part,” she said in a Facebook conversation. “But all the pumpkin spice stuff tastes so good even though I don’t like pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie is actually the only pumpkin thing I don’t like! When I see new pumpkin spice flavored items, I admit I have to try them all. It is just such a pleasant taste that can have great fall memories attached to it.”

Jake Hennett, who is also from Spartanburg, thinks television and radio messages have caused the pumpkin-flavored craze. “Pumpkin-flavor obsession in general, I feel like a huge part of it is artificial buzz created by those who sell pumpkin-flavored (food and drink),” he said. “In much the same way as the concept of the engagement ring was created by diamond jewelry purveyors, places like Starbucks have blown up pumpkin flavored stuff in advertising. A few people catch on, try it, and recommend it to their friends. Rinse and repeat for a huge buzz about pumpkin anything, and it become(s) obsession.”

Hennett said he enjoys pumpkin pie and drinks, and understands the hype. “However, I do feel like a lot of it is media-created,” he said.

Maria Carlo, from College Point, NY, disagrees. She shows the interest in pumpkin-flavored interest isn’t just in South Carolina.

“I wouldn’t say I have a pumpkin-flavor obsession – I do love, love, love pumpkin spice lattes,” she said in a Facebook conversation.

Carlo not only enjoys the flavors, but the memories she gets from consuming them.

“I love the lattes and I love pumpkin pie, but, not so much for the flavor. It’s for the feeling and the memories that pumpkin smell and spices invoke – playing in the leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, football, the colors of fall, the golds, oranges, and homemade popcorn and pecan and caramel. it’s just all of those things to come to mind just from sipping a cup of pumpkin spice latte.”

The pumpkin spice flavor is alive and well. Hennett may have a point when it comes to advertising.  Starbucks and similar stores, such as Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, still offer several pumpkin flavored items.

But, that’s not all.

Even Kellogg’s is getting into the act.  Their Mini Wheats are now available, for a limited time, in a pumpkin spice variety.

Whether you are obsessed with the pumpkin flavors of fall or not, one thing remains clear. The interest has grown, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

Pumpkin scone and hot chocolate from Starbucks --
Pumpkin scone and hot chocolate from Starbucks —

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