It's fall, which means pumpkin now, briefly, rules all. There will, for the foreseeable future, be pumpkin in your latte, pumpkin in your cake icing, pumpkin in your cookies and pumpkin in just about everything else. Of course very little of this "pumpkin" will actually be real pumpkin. Most of it will be a factory blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin flavoring -- all praise synthetic food-things.
Unless, of course, you're standing in line for a Steel City pop. Here the ingredients are mostly fresh and natural, and while there is a pumpkin-flavored pop, the ode to fall squash is far from the only thing to freeze your brain with. The new fall menu is out today, and since lines have been shorter lately, now seems like a great time to check them out.
For starters, that popsicle pictured above is carrot cheesecake. I grabbed two quick bites as I waited for my camera to focus and as soon as I got a shot, the rest of the thing disappeared. Carrots, cream cheese and spices combined to make a pop that is strangely reminiscent of the popular confection. It could be an improvement.
There's also a maple and bacon with bourbon popsicle that will no doubt attract a fan base. The bacon bits are small, but they have a real pop and they're suspended in a base that's flavored with plenty of maple syrup and bourbon. Sorry guys, the booze has been cooked off, but did I mention there's bacon in this one? Real, cooked-right-there-in-the-store bacon.
The most abstract popsicle flavor award goes to tomatillo yogurt. Cane sugar, star anise, cloves and vanilla beans give this one a spicy flavor with a tangy bite. It sounds insane but avocado doesn't exactly sound like a stellar frozen pop ingredient, and that one turned out to be one of my summer favorites.
And finally, in addition to a handful of other flavors, there's the pumpkin pop. It's got spices like the other pumpkin products you see invading menus, grocery aisles and coffee cups, but this one actually has real pumpkin in it. It's a pumpkin puree, not fresh pumpkin like I was hoping, but if the packaged stuff is good enough for grandma's pies, it should be good enough for a frozen pop.