Pumpkins, Alyson’s Orchard, Walpole, New Hampshire.
So, it’s Halloween and I planned a post about going to Keene, N.H. for Pumpkin Fest 2008 last weekend.
The thing is, notwithstanding literally thousands of Jack-o-lanterns, there wasn’t a whole lot of pumpkin-related food action going on up there.
We did buy a pie from the Peterborough Children’s Choir’s pie stand and while a friend deemed it ‘maybe the best pumpkin pie ever,’ I can’t honestly say I can tell much difference between the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had and just a pretty good pumpkin pie.
[Here is where I give a shout-out to staff writer Magdalene Perez's pumpkin pie in the hopes of being gifted with another slice in the near future]
Some of the fair’s non-pumpkin related food was noteworthy: principally the hand-cut French fries and the deep-fried apple donuts sold by the Boy Scout Troop 302 of Keene.
The apples we picked at nearby Alyson’s Orchard yielded a couple of OK apple pies (this, apparently, is a skill I could vastly improve upon).
First, the co-op Brattleboro, Vt. off of Interstate 91, offers a fantastic variety of cheese, produce (organic and conventional), bulk cereals, spices, oil, honey, etc., and meat. I can recommend their chorizo and the awesome grass-fed, organic, we-read-bedtime-stories-to-the-cattle-before-we-slaughter-them steaks. A little salt and pepper and into the cast iron and you can’t really go wrong with these.
Burdick’s is 20-miles up the road and besides their hand-made chocolates, they offer a brasserie-style menu in the inviting dining room next door. Everything sounded great except the vegan split-pea soup, (because what is split-pea soup without ham in it?).
The blue cheese salad ($8) was piled with huge chunks of quality blue cheese, quarter-inch hunks of smoked bacon and walnuts. I followed this up with a bowl of mussels ($15), which were very good. However, I quickly became jealous of my friends who ordered the steak frites ($18) and the Provençal beef stew ($16). Oh yeah, the Walpole Creamery pumpkin ice cream was really, really good. Especially with a chocolate Madeleine.
So, now I can say I’ve been to Pumpkin Festival.
BELOW: Black Oxford apple, Alyson’s Orchard, Walpole, New Hampshire.