Here's Your Field Guide to Eating Fall in Metro Phoenix — And It's Not Just Pumpkin Beer
From Scratch Bake Shoppe offers mini cinnamon pumpkin scones at Uptown Farmers Market.
Courtesy of Uptown Farmers Market
Double-digit temperatures, increased traffic, pumpkin everything ... fall has arrived in the Valley of the Sun. And with so many local candy shops, places to pick-your-own produce, and farmers markets, it’s easy to get into the spirit of the season.
Here is your breakdown of everything fall food in Phoenix, from funnel cake at the Arizona State Fair and locally made candy for the little ones to Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter and where to stock up on locally grown pumpkins.
Peruse the 13,000-square-foot Sweeties Candy of Arizona, a candy warehouse in Chandler.
The end of summer can often be marked by the sudden (and in our opinion, excessively early) appearance of "scary" home décor and superhero costumes at your favorite big box store. Halloween is fast approaching, and besides the scary movie marathons and the sudden need to watch Hocus Pocus, this spooky holiday can also be celebrated with lots of candy.
Get real Arizona-y with saguaro and scorpion lollipops from Cactus Candy Company (found in AJ’s, Natural Grocers, and Whole Foods), or grab something for the trick-or-treaters at Sweeties Candy of Arizona, a 13,000-square-foot candy warehouse in Chandler. You can also find handmade, “uncommon” caramels at Salted Serenity Sweets and all the toffee renditions you can dream up at GoodyTwos Toffee Company, both of which have shops located in Scottsdale.
If chocolate is the name of your game, find vegan, dairy-free, and organic dark chocolate options at Wei of Chocolate (easiest to get online but based in Phoenix). If Arizona-made chocolate is sparking memories of the late Gene Wilder or Roald Dahl, then get excited; chocolate factory tours are offered at Zak's Chocolate in Scottsdale, and the Cerreta Candy Company in Glendale.
Snicker All You Want! includes Snickers, caramel, and dark Swiss chocolate from Hannah's Caramel Apples.
Courtesy of Hannah's Caramel Apples
Not fully candy and not exactly a serving of fruit, caramel apples have managed to satisfy our sweet cravings and dietary goals for years. It wouldn’t feel like fall without them.
Choose from 20 flavors of gourmet caramel apples – including the “Snicker All You Want!” masterpiece – at Hannah's Caramel Apples, or try one of the many Valley locations of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for the Cheesecake Caramel Apple or the Rocky Road Caramel Apple.
If your teeth or stomach can’t quite handle a whole caramel apple, we have some alternatives. Try the caramel apple pie float at Churn, the caramel apple muffin at Smooth Brew Coffee, and caramel apple cupcakes at Sweet Daddy Cupcakes and Urban Cookies Bakeshop. Yet another, and lighter, alternative, may be the Cinnamon Hug Apple Chips from Fluffy Vegans at the Phoenix Open Air Market.
The raspberry fry bread with powdered sugar is J & L Concessions' sweet take on the Southwestern staple. This year, the company also created a brownie caramel funnel cake.
This fried food is a stalwart of the falls season thanks to fairs and festivals across the nation, and Phoenix is no exception.
Your first stop for fantastic funnel cake is the Arizona State Fair. Find a Nutella-flavored funnel cake at Dutchman’s Funnel Cake, get the most chocolate-heavy thing you can order at J & L Concessions, and find many other counters serving up powdery funnel cakes on paper plates throughout the Arizona State Fairgrounds.
But you don’t have to be surrounded by unsupervised teens and oversize strollers to enjoy good funnel cake. Order a classic funnel cake with powdered sugar (and add caramel, chocolate or strawberry syrup for a $1) at the Fantasy Funnel Cake food truck, which you'll find at special events around the Valley.
An alternative to funnel cake, while still keeping it fall fresh, may be the Pilgrim Hearth Bread – whole-grain bread made with dried fruits and nuts – from the Arizona Bread Company, found at Phoenix farmers’ markets like the Phoenix Open Air Market.
"Pumpkin Patty with a Kick" from B Naked Chocolates is pumpkin seed brittle with maple syrup, cayenne, and salt.
Courtesy of Uptown Farmers Market
It’s okay to love pumpkin spice. We won't judge. Pumpkin flavor seems to demand our attention as early as August, and doesn’t let go until well into December. And we’re fine with that.
The seasonal Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter was released on September 1 and can now be sipped at the 8th Street Brewery and Tasting Room On Wilson in Tempe, the Four Peaks Grill & Tap in Scottsdale, and Four Peaks Sky Harbor.
Pumpkin heads can also try the Pumpkin Spice ice cream flavor at Sweet Republic with locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale and the Pumpkin Spice macaron at an Essence Bakery in Tempe or the Arcadia area.
Farmers’ markets are also eager to deliver the pumpkin flavor. Uptown Farmers Market has pumpkin pie tamale bites with sweet cream cheese from The Tamale Store, the "Better than Pumpkin Pie" sweet potatoes and "Pumpkin Patty with a Kick" pumpkin seed brittle from b Naked Chocolates, pumpkin spiced coffee from Mama's Cold Brew, pumpkin butter from Careless Coyote, and mini cinnamon-pumpkin scones of From Scratch Bake Shoppe fame – just to name a few options.
The Pilgrim at Cornish Pasty Co. packs in turkey, carrots, and stuffing with cranberry dipping sauce.
When you’ve finally removed the last of the fake cobweb decorations, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and its signature heavy hitter: the turkey.
Find hearty helpings of turkey in The Pilgrim at Cornish Pasty Co., which consists of roasted turkey with sweet potatoes, grilled onions, and stuffing, and comes with red wine gravy and cranberry sauce.
The spirit of Thanksgiving is also packed between two slices all over town. Yes, we mean turkey sandwiches. Order the Gobbler (turkey, cranberry, and cream cheese) at Dilly’s Deli, the Sacks Improv (turkey breast, herb stuffing, and cranberry sauce on an eight-inch baguette) at Sacks Art of Sandwicherie, and the Old Fashioned Turkey Sandwich (slow-roasted pulled turkey and house-made cranberry relish on nine-grain bread) at The Farm Kitchen.
Be sure to keep down your Pumpkin Chili on some of the rides at the Pumpkin & Chili Party at Schnepf Farms.
Courtesy of Schnepf Farms
Fall at the Farm
We advise you bring sunscreen, but hayrides, pumpkin patches, and picking your own fruit and vegetables at nearby farms is a very autumn thing to do, and pretty adorable, too.
Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek hosts the Pumpkin & Chili Party throughout October, where you can enjoy hayrides, a 10-acre celebrity corn maze, rides, a pumpkin launch, and rent a private bonfire area. Farm guests are also welcome to pick their own basil and lavender. And food is an attraction here, as the Pumpkin & Chili Party features caramel apple pies, sucatash, and pumpkin in just about everything — think, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, fudge, and chili.
Mother Nature's Farm in Gilbert hosts a Halloween Pumpkin Patch – encouraging visitors to pick their own pumpkins ranging from mere ounces to several hundred point through the whole month of October. You can also find some sweet treats and pumpkin-related gifts at the onsite Maneau’s Market.
Admission to Vertuccio Farms in Mesa grants access to pumpkin sales, pumpkin bowling, a hay maze, a corn maze, and something called the Pizza Farm. The farm's annual Corn Maze & Fall Festival spans from early October to early November, and features the Pumpkin Paint and Take, a 1800s Variety Show, a Spider-Web Climb, and tons more farm-friendly stuff to get your fall right.
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