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Where To Satisfy Your Pumpkin Craving in Ann Arbor

When October rolls around, it’s time to break out the quilted vests, plan your trip to the cider mill, and capitalize on all things PUMPKIN! Ann Arbor is already a great foodie town, but you may not know that many of its cafés have wonderful selections of pumpkin-themed goods just for the season. I decided to roll up my flannel sleeves and find the best places to get that pumpkin fix in Ann Arbor. 

1.     The PSL from Sweetwater’s

A full disclaimer: I’m not a big coffee drinker so I’ve never been caught up in the Pumpkin Spice Latte frenzy that everyone feels during fall. But I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I had to go to the source of the PSL: Starbucks. I got the original PSL and…I was underwhelmed. I had to add two sugar packets and cinnamon and I would add pumps of flavoring. I can see why coffee drinkers like it. From there, I tried the pumpkin-themed lattes at Espresso Royale, Sweetwater’s, and Lab Cafe.      

Sweetwater’s Pumpkin Latte was my top choice because it was relatively sweet and didn’t have the overpowering bitterness that coffee usually has. I got it with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. As someone who doesn’t really like the taste of coffee, I thought it was good. The small was a good size for the price (about $4). Another drink I would recommend for those who are looking for some spice is Sweetwater’s Chai. It’s a year-round drink that is fall in a cup for me.

2.     Chocolate-Chip Pumpkin Bread from Great Harvest

Personally, I think pumpkin bread is the best part of fall. The key to a good sweet bread is being moist and not crumbling in your hands. Zingerman’s is everyone’s first thought when it comes to bread, but Great Harvest on South Main Street, has a great a bakery and a café as well. Their Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Teacake is spicy and sweet. It’s the perfect sharable size at $7.50 a teacake. It is a bit outside of the main city-center, but it was worth it when I had a slice at 7:45 AM with my morning chai.

3. Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream from Stucchi’s

I know in October it may be surprising that we can still eat ice cream, but the weather has been so inconsistent that I was looking for a cold treat. I went into Stucchi’s on a whim and was surprised to find that they actually did have a pumpkin-flavored ice cream! I was a bit nervous about it, but pleasantly surprised. The flavor was light and tasty. They even mixed in marshmallows and graham cracker! This was a very nice touch and kept true to the pie theme. So if another 74 degree day rolls around, I would suggest trying a scoop of Stucchi’s Pumpkin Pie ice cream for $3.50.

4.     The Pumpkin Walnut Bar at Lab Cafe

While I was testing out lattes, I also scouted out any pumpkin pastries. At the Lab Café on Liberty Street, they were also selling a Pumpkin Walnut Bar from the Songbird Café (found on both Plymouth Rd and Jackson Ave). This bar is like a piece of pumpkin pie being hugged by a soft blondie. The maple top and walnut bottom add texture to the smooth pie middle. The bar is not too sweet and had a very good pumpkin taste without being overpowering. One bar was a great filling snack so it is worth the price of $3.75. I would certainly go back and order it again and gluten-free people can try it as well!

5.     The Pumpkin Macaron from Le Bon Macaron

This month has also brought us a new macaron café so that we don’t have to go all the way to Paris or even New York go get these delicious little snacks. Le Bon Macaron just opened up about a month ago on South 4th Avenue. I happened to stop in to try their macarons and discovered that they had a pumpkin macaron for fall. It was amazing! I have tried a lot of macarons in my lifetime and I’ve even made them myself; it’s very difficult to achieve the soft, light texture of a good macaron. Le Bon Macaron’s Pumpkin macaron lives up to this test. I would recommend these macarons as a great Halloween gift because they are a bit expensive at $2 each and $11 for six. 

6.     DIY!

Finally, if you’re not inclined to go out and get a pumpkin treat at one of these places you can always do it yourself at home! Trader Joe’s has great pumpkin themed foods this season like an interesting pumpkin ravioli. Or if you’re not that adventurous, they also have a pumpkin bread mix that you can eat along with your homemade PSL. If you’re planning on carving pumpkins anyway, you can save the seeds and roast them in the oven at 300 degrees with some butter and any seasonings like herbs or salt. They’re a great snack or a good squash soup topping. Lastly, if you are able to drink and looking for the perfect bar to spend Halloween in, the Jolly Pumpkin on South Main street has a myriad of seasonal fall brews that come from taps with little plastic pumpkins on them and a great small snacks menu.

Hopefully this article will help you out if you’re looking for a pumpkin fix in Ann Arbor!     

Images courtesy of: Sara Shoemaker and Great Harvest

Sara is a feature writer for Her Campus. She is a senior at the University of Michigan, studying French, Art History and Political Science. She is interested in international law and competes on the University of Michigan's Mock Trial team. In her free time, Sara explores Ann Arbor looking for new foods, specializing in tacos and noodles. She loves immersing herself in a good book from Literati and traveling to learn about different cultures. Sara loves the feeling of walking around a city with nowhere to go, headphones in, observing the hustle of everyday life. If Sara could do anything in the world, she woud be a travel and fashion writer exploring with a camera, a journal, and an empty stomach. 
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