Pumpkins have long been part of Halloween celebrations in Ireland, but in more of a decorative sense. Unlike our American friends it’s taken us a while to embrace their full culinary potential, but that seems to have shifted in recent years, with the humble pumpkin now appearing on our plates as much as our doorsteps. For those who appreciate it inside and out, here are some of the best pumpkin products on shelves right now to keep a triangular eye out for.
Prunotto Pumpkin Pesto
Find it: Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Fallon & Byrne, Fresh Avenue Ballinteer
We love the rich flavour and warm, autumnal colour of this organic pumpkin pesto made on the Prunotto farm in the Piemontese Hills of Northern Italy. A liberal dollop is delicious on pasta with lots of black pepper and parmesan, and it adds a pleasantly mild sweetness to a cheese toastie.
Assassination Custard's Spiced Pumpkin Piccalilli
Find it: The Wine Pair, Evergreen, Daddy’s Rialto, The Fumbally, The Pepper Pot Powerscourt Shopping Centre, Hen’s Teeth, Camerino Merrion Square, Provider Harold’s Cross
Is it even Halloween without it? Not for us anyway. A seasonal spin on Assassination Custard's famous Piccalilli (which is available year round), we eagerly await news of this come October every year and are pleased to confirm that it’s back, but much a child's trick or treat haul it doesn’t last long, so grab a jar while you can.
Risotto Alla Zucca
Find it: Lennox Street Grocer
It doesn't get much better than a thick, creamy risotto paired with a glass of Italian wine on a chilly evening - or does it? Lennox Street Grocer are stocking this autumnal version of one of our favourite comfort dishes and we're looking forward to adding it to our pantry. Add some diced, roast pumpkin, crispy sage leaves and grated parmesan on top for maximum chef points.
Rossi Ravioli with Pumpkin
Find it: SC Grocer, Italicatessen
We love a bowl of ravioli, especially with unusual fillings, and this pumpkin-stuffed version is a wonderful combo of sweet and savoury. While you’re at SC Grocer, check to see if their pumpkin spiced croissants or spiced pumpkin soup are on the specials board.
Patamore Fresh Pumpkin Gnocchi
Find it: LaHoya Green, Fallon & Byrne
If it’s more pumpkin pasta you’re after, these gnocchi should fit the bill - best served pan-fried crispy and golden, tossed in olive oil and parmesan cheese, with a nice salad. Cauliflower and spinach versions are available too.
Sweet Pumpkin Porridge, Asia Market
Find it: Asia Market
Pumpkin for breakfast? More adventurous pumpkin heads might enjoy this sweet and soup-like pumpkin porridge. Asia Market also stock plain or green-tea flavoured pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top for extra flavour.
La Tourangelle, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
Find it: Fallon & Byrne
We recently discovered this slow-roasted, artisan pumpkin oil in Fallon & Byrne. Made in the Styrian region of Austria it adds a rich, nutty flavour to everything from salads and pastas to cheese boards and baked goods. We recommend a drizzle on a piping hot bowl of sweet potato soup.
Fallon & Byrne is a bit of a one-stop shop for pumpkin in October. They’re selling fresh pumpkin pies in their bakery for the month, and this is the place to stock up on tins of American-style pumpkin puree, if you can bear to disturb their elaborate displays.
Meridien Organic Pumpkin Seed Butter
Find it: The Hopsack, Rathmines
A superb source of organic, fair-trade and ethnic food, The Hopsack also stock a wide range of organic fruit and veg, and that of course includes a variety of Irish-grown pumpkins and colourful squashes. This pumpkin seed butter is pretty special stuff. Use it as a spread on some of their pumpkin seed bread, or mixed into a dressing or glaze. They also stock this Irish-made organic pumpkin seed oil produced in Tipperary.
Pumpkin Ale From The White Hag
Find it: The White Hag online store
Naturally, you’ll be looking for something to wash all of this down with, so why not opt for a limited edition pumpkin ale. The White Hag describe their Samhain Pumpkin Ale as having hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and it flies off the shelves each year - we all love a gimmick.