It’s officially pumpkin season! The apple spice aroma is in the air and the leaves start to reveal shades of red and amber. I love the sounds of stepping on crunched leaves to the sight of green apple fruit stands. We have once again been blessed with Autumn in Aiken.
When I think of Fall, I think of scrumptious festival and fair foods; and dining in restaurants with Fall fare menu options that includes cinnamon and pumpkin spice this-and-that. And, you know Aiken is the place to be when you hear about upcoming foodie festivals such as the Aiken Oktoberfest and the St. Mary’s Chocolate Festival. Get a taste of autumn by dining your way through Aiken.
Foods you will Fall for. Eat German-inspired foods at the annual Aiken Oktoberfest. A variety of German and non-traditional cuisine will be on hand. Get in line early to try the popular schnitzel sandwiches or the Reuben fritters that will not disappoint your taste buds. The Reuben fritters are rice-ball esque with a crunchy exterior and a soft mid-section. The German-inspired food will include the authentic hand-rolled Bavarian pretzels, fresh simmered bratwursts and the traditional Philly cheese sandwiches. Guests will be able to choose from a variety of German beer, and craft beer. As a fun twist, guests who have Snapchat will have access to a Samuel Adams Snapchat filter and have a chance to participate in the stein-hoisting competition. Enjoy this festival where your sense of adventure meets the taste for Fall.
St. Mary’s Chocolate Festival. Eat lots of Chocolate! Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate. It’s no big secret that a few classic confections like homemade brownies, cookies and other sweets get gourmet makeovers, and they tastes delish. You will get to try some of the oh-so decadent desserts ranging from Death by Chocolate, Chocolate Angel Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Tarts, and Brownie Chocolate Mousse. This annual chocolate festival will have a chocolate challenge, a chocolate bake sale, and a coffee shop. It’s chocolate haven. Fall doesn’t get any sweeter than this!
That Fall fair food passion! Everyone loves a classic American tradition of going to a state fair and for many it means food. The Western Carolina State Fair will be back with the annual food affair of sno-cones, funnel cakes, and a variety of caramel apples. Experience foods you've never seen or tasted before. It could be a deep fried cloud cake or a chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. It seems the popularity is surrounding anything that is on a stick. You can get chicken or beef on a stick. Maybe a hearty turkey leg or a corn dog is more to your liking. It’s the type of event where it’s excusable to eat junk food!
Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice. New Moon Café - In addition to their famous pumpkin muffins and pumpkin latte is the cinnamon and brown sugar Affogato. This amazing coffee based dessert features a shot of their craft roasted espresso over a scoop of cinnamon and brown sugar ice cream. This cup of amazing is topped with whipped cream and a ginger cookie. For lunch, their fantastic Fall soups include the creamy zucchini with bacon and feta, vegan Moroccan stew, low country shrimp and grits and my all-time favorite curried sweet potato bisque.
If you have a serious love for pumpkin, Red Pepper Café is making pumpkin ravioli from scratch in their kitchen. Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe is offering their pumpkin spice covered almonds. La Dolce offers homemade pumpkin spice pound cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate-dipped pumpkin spice cream filled cannolis. Treat yourself at Crepes Café for some pumpkin spice lattes.
Brewing into Fall. As the green summer leaves turn into autumn colors, beer lovers go from summer quenchers to rich fall brew. Mellow Mushroom is getting cozy for this autumn weather by offering a selection of seasonal beers such as Paulaner Hefeweizen draft, Sam Adams Octoberfest draft, and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale draft as well as two special German beers by the bottle - Schneidner Hefeweizen and Reissdorf Kolsch. It’s sure to please any seasonal beer lover. Aiken Brewing Company is giving off Fall vibes with their German Kolsch, (brewed with German Pilsner malt), Nut Brown Ale, Old Aiken Ale, German Oktoberfest and Thoroughbred Red with hints of caramel. Be bold and try the Irish Oatmeal Stout made of malty sweet chocolate flavors balanced with coffee-like characters of black malt and roasted barley. Sit back and sip on various flavors; and cleanse your palette with some local seasonal brew.
Whatever you do this fall – eat it up with all your Aiken Fall foods.