Fall enthusiasts – changing leaves and chilly weather are around the corner, and you know what that means. There’s no better way to get into the season’s spirit than partaking in some pumpkin. Norfolk’s got plenty of it, so we’re sharing some of the city’s favorite ways to celebrate this seasonal squash.
The Pumpkin Pownd Cake from POWND cakes by Jenn
Norfolk resident Jenn Anglin has been baking cakes “so good they’ll knock your socks off.” They come in various flavors and sizes but don’t expect them to last long – buttery, sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth, these cakes are irresistible. In addition to her six “daily faves,” Jenn always has special and seasonal flavors on rotation. This Fall, we’ll see the return of the Pumpkin Pownd cake accompanied by Ginger, Sweet Potato, and Caramel Apple varieties.
The Pumpkin-forward Cheeses at Virginia Cheese Company
Freemason District’s beloved cheesemonger, Virginia Cheese Company, boasts a collection of artisanal cheeses that are a delightful addition to any sandwich, salad, or charcuterie board. This Fall, keep an eye on their menu for some pumpkin-forward specialties, including adding pumpkin smear to their charcuterie samplers. They recently offered a fall petite grilled cheese special of shallot zucchini bread layered with pumpkin smear, melty Dubliner cheddar, and parmesan Reggiano. And, now that it’s fondue season, their Take & Bake brie is back, with the white pumpkin and almond brie their newest frontrunner.
The “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice” Cake from Empowered Plant Cakes
Chances are you’ve spotted Empowered Plant Cakes around Hampton Roads – they’ve made their way into local farmers markets (including Ghent and East Beach markets), cafes (including TASTE Unlimited), and family-owned businesses (including Ghent Grab & Go). The plant-based, gluten-free, and refined-sugar-free treats are full of flavor and will redefine how you think about clean eating through their beautiful display. In addition to their rotating variety of flavors, they recently launched “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice” – 6-inch whole cakes and slices up for grabs. Find a list of select locations carrying them over on their Facebook page.
A Cozy Bowl of Pumpkin Soup at the Ten Top
The Ten Top in Ghent has earned acclaim for its vast selection of sandwiches, salads, and, you guessed it – soups. With the impending chill in the air, their soup du jour (daily soup) makes for the perfect lunch or dinner pairing. While the list of their previous soup offerings is extensive, Fall often means adding pumpkin-forward soup options. Past autumns have seen Chorizo Chipotle Pumpkin, Coconut Curry Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Chicken Tortilla.
Any of the Seasonal Coffee Drinks from Cure Coffeehouse
Norfolk’s Cure Coffeehouse, located off the cobblestone streets of the Freemason District, is currently offering not one but two beverage options featuring their housemade pumpkin spice syrup. There’s the pumpkin chai spice latte for those looking to cozy up to some classic autumnal flavors. For those with more of a sweet tooth, there’s the pumpkin cheesecake latte – made with dairy-free cheesecake syrup. Cure announces new flavors at the beginning of each month, so be on the lookout for October’s upcoming selections.
Pumpkin Maple Spice Cold Brew from Project Seed Coffee
Female-founded Project Seed Coffee was started during the pandemic by Filipino immigrant and Hampton Roads local, Erene – to satisfy people’s caffeine cravings wherever they are. The venture’s tagline is “the modern-day milkman,” except instead of milk, they deliver cold brew to coffee lovers throughout the area and offer a variety of innovative flavors from the more classic Vanilla Bean to – you guessed it – Pumpkin Maple Spice. Check out their social media for their schedule as Erene makes her way to farmers markets around town. However, you can also grab some of her cold brew at Ghent Grab & Go.
The Pumpkin Maple Spice Cold Brew Shake at Shakeitup Shakes
If you can’t get enough Project Seed Coffee, you can enjoy it featured in one of Shakeitup Shakes’ specialty cold brew milkshakes. What started as a food truck, Shakeitup opened a storefront in Selden Market earlier this year, offering an array of innovative, indulgent milkshakes that are almost too aesthetically pleasing to slurp down. In addition to a handful of vegan options, they’ve recently collaborated with Project Seed Coffee to feature seasonal shakes made with some of their famous cold brew – including their very own Pumpkin Maple Spice shake.
The Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale at COVA Brewing Co
After a Saturday morning jaunt to the East Beach Farmer’s Market, hop on over to Cova Brewing for craft coffee, community, or beer. Their newest release, called Mardy’s Party, is named in memory of the owners’ dog, who passed away earlier this year. Like many dogs, Mardy loved pumpkin and inspired the original Mardy’s Party, which was a pumpkin pie porter. This year, they’ve added in some of their house-brewed coffee for a twist, along with their homemade pie spice blend. Enjoy this fall treat and some grub from one of the several food trucks on rotation.
Outta Yer Gourd Pumpkin-Style Ale at Smartmouth Brewing Co
The return of their signature brew is here – Outta Yer Gourd is back on tap (and available in cans) for the season. This copper-tinted ale “boasts flavors of All Spice, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, and Nutmeg in every drop” and is delightfully reminiscent of pumpkin pie.
Pumpkinpalooza at the Chrysler Glass Studio
On select days throughout October, join the Chrysler Glass Studio team in making your own glass-blown pumpkin. This event is $52 for Museum members and $65 for non-members; you can find available dates and register on their Event Page.
Build a Clay Pumpkin at All Hands Pottery
On October 9th, come out to the female-owned All Hands Pottery studio on Military Highway to make a clay pumpkin. Pumpkins will be fired and glazed after the class, so you’ll pick up your creations at a later date.
These are just a few of Norfolk’s seasonal mini markets and will feature a lineup of local vendors and small businesses selling everything from the spooky to the eclectic. Costumes are encouraged.
Visit the Plethora of Local Pumpkin Patches
Get your carving kit ready. Whether you’re looking to snap a few photos, pick your pumpkin, or enjoy hayrides, corn mazes, and other Fall Fun, there’s no shortage of pumpkin patches in the area, including a few local favorites:
Cullipher Farm (Virginia Beach/Pungo)
Hunt Club Farm (Virginia Beach)
Historic Greenbrier Farms (Chesapeake)
Mount Pleasant Farms (Chesapeake)
Hickory Ridge Farm (Chesapeake)
Know of any more pumpkin-forward food or festivities that we should include? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talbot Park, NFK
Rachel Reiss moved to Norfolk in 2021, and, true to her native Floridian roots, has been enjoying life near the beach. Since her day job as an HR Program Manager has gone remote, it offers her the flexibility to explore the area’s rich history, culture, and diverse food scene in her spare time. She is also a passionate pianist, aspiring yogi, and self-proclaimed health nut who loves to cook. Rachel lives near Talbot Park with her husband, Phil - a CHKD resident - and their Maltese, Minnie.