Vancouver’s 10 Best Pumpkin Treats

Where to find the city’s tastiest pumpkin pasta, macarons, cocktails + more 

Credit: Soirette 

Discover a world of pumpkin-y goodness that goes way beyond the traditional pies and ales

Thanksgiving and Halloween may have come and gone this year, but nothing tastes of the holiday season quite like pumpkin. This season, expand your pumpkin repertoire by trying buttery pumpkin pasta or a roasted pumpkin pizza, or getting boozy with whisky-spiked pumpkin cocktails.

In no particular order, here are our 10 favourite pumpkin treats in Vancouver.

Pizza with Roasted Pumpkin, Bella Gelateria, 1089 Marinaside Crescent

Could James Coleridge be the city’s Pumpkin King? Who else has a field of organic sugar pie pumpkins growing in Langley?

“Pumpkin pie is a big part of my life in Canada,” confides James. “It’s all about cherishing the season; they’re just here for three months. We cold store them wrapped in newspapers and once they’re gone, that’s it.”

You can have an all-organic pumpkin experience at James’s Yaletown Bella Gelateria: start with an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza topped with ribbons of roasted shaved pumpkin and salty hand-pitted Kalamata olives. Then move on to super-silky pumpkin pie gelato, based on James’s mum’s recipe—but with an added edge from eight different spices. Finally, finish off with a boozy pumpkin Gelatini and raise a glass to the Pumpkin King.

Chocolate Pumpkin Crate, Thomas Haas, 2539 West Broadway Avenue

A mini pumpkin patch all of your very own, which doesn’t require rain boots or staggering across a muddy field? Yes, please! Best of all, it’s made from chocolate. Delve into the delights of this adorable Thomas Haas chocolate pumpkin crate and discover how delicious white chocolate “hay” can be. Crack open the pumpkin and you’ll find handmade chocolate truffles nested inside.

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie, Perch, 6133 University Boulevard

Good things are happening up at UBC’s campus over at the Perch restaurant, such as this deconstructed pumpkin pie made using only pumpkin and squash from the UBC farm and local farming heroes North Arm Farm. Five separate pumpkin elements make up this locavore pie: purée, cake, panna cotta, sorbet and candied seeds, with spiced spekulatius cookies for crunch, and lemon balm and Chantilly cream for fragrant sweetness.

Pasta Stuffed with Pumpkin, L’Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street

The tragedy with this dish is that really L’Abattoir just isn’t the kind of place where you can lick the plate clean. Pity, because the pecorino fondue that these plump cushions of pumpkin-stuffed tortellini sit upon is possibly the city’s most comforting cheesy thrill. Any richness is cut through with crisp apple notes, and texture is added with toasted spiced pumpkin seeds, scented with cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. If that doesn’t tempt you, as an appie, this wonderful dish is available for half-price each day from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Go nuts: order two…

Credit: Soirette 

Pumpkin Spice Macarons, Soirette, 1433 West Pender Street

The city’s No. 1 stop for lighter-than-air, chewy-in-the-middle macarons, Soirette, has created a seasonal pumpkin variety that’s spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice, with a fresh pumpkin puree filling, and a crisp almond-meringue crunch shell. Bag a takeout box of 12 to instantly make yourself the most popular guest at any gathering.

Pumpkin Spoon Bread, Mamie Taylor’s, 251 East Georgia Street

Chef Tobias Grignon of Mamie Taylor’s has a secret: he thinks that pumpkins aren’t the most exciting squash out there. “They’re full of water; you have to cook them down or they taste watery and bland,” he confides. “But roast them up, put some work in and they are so tasty.”

He demonstrates this perfectly with his Southern-style spoon bread. It’s gloriously comforting with the consistency of cookie dough—the bread is granular with a bite thanks to the heat of the poblanos, the fresh pop of corn and the tang of cheddar. This winter warmer is perfect by itself, or as a side to a roast chicken or pork chop.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Picarones, Grapes & Soda, 1541 West 6th Avenue

Not quite a churro or beignet, the Peruvian/Chilean picarone is something quite wonderful and unique, but with a definite doughnut-esque edge. This variety at Grapes & Soda features pumpkin and sweet potato in a cinnamon-y dough, served up hot and puffy from the fryer and dusted with sugar. Each plate comes with a side of crème anglaise and a dinky vanilla-spiked gin sour cocktail—oh my. Of course, you could share, but trust me, you’ll wish you had a portion all to yourself.

Smashin Pumpkin Cocktail, Lobby Lounge, 1038 Canada Place

Drop by the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge to discover what award-winning bartender Grant Sceney has conjured up for fall: the Smashin Pumpkin. This delightfully boozy encounter between a pumpkin pie, aromatic spices and smoky Talisker Scotch is the ideal solution to rainy grey afternoons, or as an after-dinner treat. It’s frothy and spicy and—yes, please—we’d love another. 

Pumpkin Tart, Beaucoup Bakery & Café, 2150 Fir Street

Definitely not your grandma’s traditional pumpkin pie, this modern take from Beaucoup—the city’s favourite French-style bakery—is spangled with bright candied orange peel and ginger, and made crunchy with candied pumpkin seeds. A light, fluffy wobble of meringue on top (shaped like a pyramid, no less) balances out the dense slab of whipped pumpkin custard in the buttery tart case.

Kabocha Croquette, Guu, 838 Thurlow Street

Guu’s Izakaya take on a Scotch egg is gloriously bonkers: steamed, mashed and lightly seasoned, the pumpkin is wrapped around a perfect hard-boiled egg, breaded and then deep fried. The result? Heaven on a plate with a Tonkatsu-spiked Marie Rose sauce! Bite through the crisp shell to an ooey-gooey delight of comforting sweet pumpkin and egg.