Monday, September 28, 2015

Rant: The Problems of Autumn

Fall in New England is a beautiful time, with the multitude of colors found in the leaves. It is a time for apple picking and hay rides, for savoring the last warm days before the chilly weather strikes. However, the autumn also brings with it a few food and drink issues, some of which I want to address today.

First, Rosé wine is vanishing from the shelves of many wine stores and that's a problem. It still hasn't caught on sufficiently that Rosé is a wine that should be enjoyed year round. Besides being delicious, it is very food friendly and works with plenty of fall and winter dishes. I've ranted before about this issue and will continue to do so until wine stores wake up and start stocking Rosé 365 days a year. There are some wine stores who understand, who keep stocking  Rosé, and they deserve your support and kudos. Tell your local wine shop to carry Rosé even when the trees are bare and even when snow falls on the streets.

Second, apples are such a wonderful and versatile fruit but they can be the subject of a few issues. At many fall markets, carnivals, festivals and more, you'll find candy and caramel apples, which might be covered with coconut, nuts, colored jimmies or other items. Candy apples were invented first, around the turn of the century, though their exact origin is murky. Candy apples, with their distinctive red candy shell, are usually made with a flavored boiled sugar recipe. Caramel apples, made with melted caramel, were first developed by Kraft Foods in the 1950s. The popularity of each varies across the country, though I have been noticing, to my dismay, an increase in the ubiquity of caramel apples locally.

I love candy apples, especially covered with coconut. It is not always easy to take that first crunchy bit of a candy apple, breaking through the hard shell, but it is rewarding. With a fresh, crisp apple, the candy, coconut and fruit make for a very appealing treat. For me, the caramel apple fails. I love caramel, from a nice sweet sauce atop ice cream to a salted, gooey center of a dark chocolate. But I don't like its soft gooey texture on a caramel apple. It is too soft, and just doesn't seem complementary to the crisp apple.

So I am dismayed that red candy apples are much less available lately. Where have they gone? Why aren't they more popular now? Why have caramel apples become much more popular? I don't have answers to these questions. But I want them to bring back my red candy apples. I want that candy crunch rather than the gooey chew.

Third, with apples come Cider Donuts, one of the best foods that exists. I love, love cider donuts but I am also picky as to the type that I enjoy. There are two main types of cider donuts, the heavier, cakey ones and the lighter, softer ones. I prefer the lighter, softer donuts, such as those from Russell Orchards in Ipswich.  They capture the taste of the apple as well as the spices that are added. With the more cakey donuts, you feel full after having one. They also tend to be more dry than the lighter donuts. So why do more farms seem to make the cakey cider donuts?

What are some of your food & drink issues with the fall?

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