It’s fall, which means that here in the Bay Area it’s time for pumpkin patches, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin spice everything. Full disclosure–I’m not the biggest fan of adding pumpkin spice to every imaginable item. You might even call me a pumpkin spice skeptic.
That said there are several Bay Area restaurants and local brands that are using pumpkin spice flavors in awesome ways even I can appreciate.
Here are the best pumpkin spice treats for Fall 2022 in the Bay Area.
Gott’s Pumpkin Spice Shake
To celebrate the season, Gott’s is about to launch a pumpkin spice shake (pictured above). The shake comes out on October 26th and will be available through the beginning of December. It’s a hand-spun milkshake with organic vanilla ice cream from Straus Family Creamery, milk & spiced pumpkin.
As a person who has absolutely no qualms about drinking a frigid milkshake in the middle of the fall or winter, I’m excited to check this one out.
Haagen-Dazs Shop® Pumpkin Spice Shake
Not to be outdone, the relatively new Haagen-Dazs shop that opened at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek is also offering a pumpkin spice shake. Their shake is available through November 14th.
To make it, they blend their dolce de leche ice cream with pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree and top it with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin spice.
Yes, Haagen-Dazs is a national brand. But as a newcomer to Walnut Creek, their store and this shake are worth a visit and a taste.
Keeping with the ice cream theme, let’s take a trip to Italy via Gio Gelati. Their locations in San Francisco and in San Ramon at City Center Bishop Ranch offer a constantly rotating selection of handmade gelatos.
Among those flavors is a seasonal pumpkin flavor that tends to make an appearance around this time of year. It’s made with actual California pumpkins.
Their flavor is dense and not too sweet. For me, it evokes more of the squash flavor that you rarely see brought out in pumpkin confections. Gio Gelati rotates their flavors constantly, but if you stop into one of their shops during the season, you might well encounter the pumpkin spice gelato.
Johnny Doughnuts Pumpkin Spice Donut
Drinks usually got all the pumpkin spice fun, but Johnny Doughnuts offers something different. Each year, they make a pumpkin spice donut that combines classic pumpkin spice flavors with the local chain’s yummy, fried donut goodness.
My favorite location is their shop up in Marin County at the Marin Country Mart Shopping Center in Larkspur. I gave them a call, and they confirmed that they’ll have their Pumpkin Spice Donuts up until December 1st.
Check them out for the Pumpkin Spice Donut now and for their apple fritter as we get into the mulled cider season.
TCHO Pumpkin Up
TCHO is another awesome Bay Area brand. They make creative chocolates and recently announced that they’re going 100% plant-based.
To celebrate the season and showcase their new vegan focus, they’ve launched the pumpkin up bar, which combines oat milk white chocolate with spiced cookie bits and pumpkin pie flavor.
TCHO says that “This bar celebrates that holiday moment when you’re sitting on the couch all stuffed and cozy and your favorite aunt comes by to hand you a piece of pumpkin pie to enjoy while you watch tv for the rest of the evening.”
We can all get behind that–pumpkin spice skeptics included!
TCHO’s bar uses spices from Oakland’s iconic Oaktown Spice Shop, another great local tie-in.
Oaktown’s Pumpkin Pie Spice
Speaking of Oaktown, they have a seasonal spice blend that lets you take the pumpkin spice concept and apply it to literally anything.
Their pumpkin pie spice is perfect for making actual pumpkin pie, but they also say you can put it on “vanilla ice cream, in coffee, cookies, french toast, and more.”
Their blend includes “cassia cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.” That means they’re not just selling you pumpkin pie spice–they’re also giving you the secret as to what’s actually in “pumpkin spice.” As a dedicated spice shop, they should know, after all.
Though I’m not a devout pumpkin spice person, the Bay Area’s culinary scene is so creative that even I can get psyched for these pumpkin spice treats. Check them out and support these local Bay Area brands and restaurants all through the season.