Top 8 Best Limited-Edition Holiday Treats Appearing on Grocery Store Shelves NOW
Fall has always been my favorite time of year, partially because I long for the first cold front and the changing of the leaves, and partially because fall and winter foods are my absolute favorites.
Photo by Matthew Bietz Just kidding, fruitcake is NOT on the list.
As a child, I'd look forward every year to when chocolate oranges would reappear on grocery store shelves and gingerbread-house kits would find their way to my kitchen table. Then there was everything pumpkin-flavored and filled with seasonal apples and overflowing with walnuts, pecans and chestnuts. Even now that I'm older, I still get excited by the first seasonal beers to hit the shelves or stores that sell eggnog with actual bourbon in it.
So sorry, spring and summer. I love your Easter candy and fresh fruit and whatnot, but fall and winter totally have you beat, foodwise.
If you're not convinced, allow me to present the following arguments.
8. Candy Canes
Photo by Steve Nakatani It's not clear why candy canes are that shape, but man, is it handy.
Peppermints are great and all, but you know what's even better? Peppermints with handles. Peppermints with handles that come in flavors other than peppermint. Seriously, if you don't like peppermint, there's another flavor of candy cane out there that you're bound to dig -- from chocolate to Sriracha. According to the textbook Introduction to Food Science, the candy cane was invented in Cologne, Germany, in 1670. A choirmaster had sugar sticks made to keep his young singers quiet when they weren't performing, and in order to give them more of a religious twist (pun intended), he bent the warm sugar sticks to form the shape of a shepherd's crook. That sounds a little far-fetched to me, but if it took noisy kids and murky religious symbolism to bring us the holiday season's most versatile candy, then I'll buy it.
7. Anything with pecans
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Get it before it's gone!
Pecan season is usually September through February, which means it peaks in November and December. And since Texas is one of the largest pecan producers in the country, we tend to have pecan products everywhere during the holidays. I'm partial to homemade pecan pies, so my favorite grocery store pecan product is Blue Bell's Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream. It's available only in the fall, and it's a dream for anyone who loves pumpkin (sorry, I will never be over that flavor) and good ol' Texas pecans. Even with the price of pecans going up this year as a result of a poor growing season and increased demand from China, my beloved Blue Bell Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream will still be around $4 for a half-gallon.
6. Apple Cider
Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg Nothing warms you up like apple cider on a chilly day.
H-E-B now has entire shelves and end caps devoted to huge jugs of apple cider ready to take home and heat up for a soothing seasonal treat. Starbucks also makes a caramel apple cider, but I find theirs a tad too sweet, so I tend to stick to the grocery store variety with the least amount of sugar. Central Market has fresh cider in the refrigerated juice section with as few additives as possible for the purest apple taste. And, of course, everyone knows the best way to consume cider is to heat it up in a mug with a cinnamon stick for stirring and maybe top it with a dollop of just-whipped cream. Oh, and this should all be done while sitting in front of a fireplace and listening to Christmas carols. Just sayin'.