‘Pumpkin spice and everything nice’ this autumn in York


Emma McGreevy gives her guide to York's best autumnal activities and treats.

Article Image

Image by The Hatch Artisan Coffee. Photo cred: Emma McGreevy

By Emma McGreevy

‘Pumpkin spice and everything nice’ is a saying that has been taken very literally around York this autumn. It feels like every coffee shop has its version of this American ‘fall classic’ and so I thought it was only fitting that I investigated some of York’s most exciting and popular autumnal cuisines! As well as this I’ve found some unique food and drink related activities to try in the build-up to Halloween. What better way to get into the spooky season than through some hands-on fun whilst enjoying some delightful snacks and beverages?

Pumpkin carving and cocktails at Plush Café

If you’re looking for something a bit quirky and different to do this Halloween, look no further! On 29 October, Plush Café is holding its highly successful annual adult-only Pumpkin carving and cocktails night. For £20, customers will receive a slice of cake, a cocktail of choice, a pumpkin to carve and all necessary tools. There will also be prizes for the creepiest and funniest pumpkins on the night. The event begins at 6.30pm and ends at 8pm, which still gives you plenty of time afterwards to go out clubbing, find somewhere for a few more drinks or head back home and watch a Halloween film with your carved masterpieces. Plush also has a wide range of decorative Halloween mugs, candles, and other home accessories available for purchase in store and online. Head over to Eventbrite to purchase tickets for a night full of scrumptious cake, tipsy laughter, and some healthy pumpkin carving competition.

Trick or Treat Chocolate Bar making at York Cocoa Works

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without consuming masses of chocolate, and so to help you do so York Cocoa Works is running a Trick or Treat Chocolate Bar making class every day at 10am, 2.30pm and also at 4.30pm right up to and including the 31 October. In this workshop, you will create your own 200g bar of chocolate and according to their website “discover where cocoa comes from and its origins, learn how we manufacture our chocolate here on site, try a selection of our own white, milk and dark chocolate, work with your chosen chocolate to mould, flavour and decorate your chocolate bar and beautifully wrap your chocolate creation to be enjoyed at home”. The website also states they can cater for gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free on request, making this experience accessible for all. Overall, this event costs £22.50 per person which makes it quite costly. In saying this, I have spoken to some friends who have done this experience and they testify that the ample testers of the high-quality chocolate as well as the informative tour and the fun, creative nature of the activity helps to justify this price. On the other hand, this task could easily be recreated at home if the price is too far over your budget; the quality of chocolate may not be as good, but it will still give you the chance to get creative in the kitchen.

‘The Jack-o-Lantern Hot Chocolate’ from Cocoa Joes

The very popular Cocoa Joes is an “independent business specialising in the making of hot and cold chocolate drinks”. The previous Nouse Food and Drinks editor, Sophie Burton interviewed the business’s founder and creator back in April; I highly recommend reading it as it is a thoroughly engaging, enjoyable article that explains the origins of the company and how to make the most out of your visit to Cocoa Joes. On a recent trip to this hidden gem, I was excited to see they were serving what they call ‘The Jack-o-Lantern Hot Chocolate’; a delightful, decadent concoction of orange hot chocolate, and home-made pumpkin spice blend, topped with cinnamon and toasted marshmallows. This autumnal drink was most definitely a treat. The orange flavoured hot chocolate was rich and indulgent, and the kick of the pumpkin spice was delectably warming. The warm, toasted marshmallows added the final punch, which really did sweeten the deal. On the whole, I enjoyed this drink however it was very sweet and on the slightly more expensive side with a price tag of £4.70. With that said, the quality of the ingredients used, in particular the chocolate, is impeccable and so it is understandable why it’s priced as such. I definitely recommend grabbing one of these chocolatey drinks as a treat!

Cocoa Joe’s ‘The Jack-o-lantern’ Hot chocolate. Image cred: Emma McGreevy

Caramelised Apple Crumble pancakes at Nice To See You Café

One of my all-time favourite desserts has to be any form of crumble; therefore, I was thrilled when my friend told me that ‘Nice To See You Café’ were serving caramelised apple crumble pancakes. The fluffiness of the American-style pancakes paired with the warm tender apples and topped with the crunchy, golden crumble is mouth-watering, and with the cream on the side, it is the perfect comforting autumnal treat.

‘Nice To See You’ also offers a cake and coffee deal! For just £5 you can get a takeaway hot drink of choice with any milk and syrup of your preference along with a slice of one of their homemade cakes!

Here are some other places serving up some autumnal goodness that I haven’t had a chance to try yet but that have had great reviews:

Rise Brunch

·  Spiced pumpkin cake with vanilla cream, burnt apple and pumpkin pralines

·  Pumpkin spice latte with a cinnamon crumb

·  Iced pumpkin spice latte with vanilla cream, cinnamon crumb & spooky straw

Brew and Brownie

·  Pumpkin spice buns with cinnamon mascarpone topping

·  Maple pecan cake with cinnamon mascarpone

·  Pumpkin spice latte

·  Biscoff latte deluxe

·  Nutella hot chocolate

·  warm cookie and ice cream

Double Dutch Pancake House

·  Toffee apple - Pancake with caramelised apple, creamy vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce topped with cinder toffee. Available vegan

·  Currywurst - Pancake with pan-fried garlic sausage, topped with curry ketchup, melted cheese and crispy onions

·  Hot Vegan Chick - Vegan pancake with vegan chicken and mixed sweet peppers, topped with vegan cheese and spicy Sriracha ketchup

·  Spiced pumpkin or cinnamon latte

·  Spiced pumpkin or cinnamon hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream, mini marshmallows, and chocolate buttons

Doe Bakehouse - supplying a range of Vegan Donuts also!

·  Pumpkin spice donut

·  Choc webs donut

·  Cookie-doe eyeball donut

·  Sugar ghost donut

·  Honeycomb donut

·  Caramel apple donut

·  Chocolate orange donut

·  Brownie twirl bat donut


·  Pumpkin spice crepe

The Hatch

·  Pumpkin spice latte


·  Halloween-themed biscuits and cakes

6345Bettys York Halloween display. Photo cred: Emma McGreevy