Hands cupped around a warm mug. The smell of baked goods and comfort food wafting through the air, with the tastes enveloping your tastebuds in happy delight. The sight of reds, oranges, yellows, and golds just bursting before your eyes. The feeling of coolness and crispness in the air as you listen to the crunch of fallen leaves under your feet. When I think of fall, I envision sights, smells, and tastes that tickle my inspiration; fall is a beautiful season that ignites the senses. It makes me think of my first trip to the apple orchard as a kid, all the times I skipped through leaves at the park, the family trips I went on to see the changing colours, the pumpkins I carved with my aunt and uncle, and of course, the food! I’ll never forget the amazing Thanksgiving feast my aunt put out when I was 10, the apple cider and warm drinks I had in the company of friends, and my memories of eating pumpkin pie for the first time. In a nutshell, fall for me is comfort and nostalgia at its finest.
One of my favourite neighbourhoods to enjoy the fall season in is Main Street Unionville in Markham, where I live. Having lived in Markham for 13 years, I have memories of doing fun things here from every season and I will never grow tired of strolling through the old-town, Victorianesque streets, visiting the library, and ambling through the parks and pond. When I think about taking photos of colourful leaves in the area, it gets me all excited because it’s just that beautiful. I am so lucky to have such a scenic neighbourhood nearby to enjoy both the green (or rather red, orange, and yellow this time of year!) space and the yummies! Photographing pretty trees, curling up with a hot drink, and having a sweet treat – now that’s the kind of fall day I love!
After going bananas during my first visit to Old Firehall Confectionery back in August, I was dying to see whether or not there were seasonal treats. I know, I know, it’s a mecca of sugar and spice and everything nice so of course they would have seasonal desserts! But I had to be sure. So I went. And internally squealed. Fall desserts! Pumpkin pie tarts, maple pecan tarts, maple cupcakes, and apple cinnamon cupcakes! YES! Where you find new flavours of cupcakes, you will find Deb. That’s just how it works. The devil on my shoulder wanted one of everything, but the angel on the other shoulder rolled her eyes and said no because dinner was coming in another two and a half hours. I picked out one apple cinnamon cupcake ($2.89). So the angel won. This time. The cupcake needed a friend though, so I paired it up with a nice warm drink from Timothy’s World Coffee down the street. I plan these things out. I’m nothing if not resourceful.
Even though I consider myself a wuss in the presence of a hot drink (I’m the one who sits there and gingerly pokes at the mug or cup to see if my fingertip gets hot before taking a tiny cautious sip), there’s nothing like the feeling of holding a warm drink in your hands with the sun shining at you through a window. A drink that smells so good it makes you forget how afraid you are of hot liquids. Enter the apple chai latte! Timothy’s has two new fall drinks on their fall seasonal menu, including the apple chai latte and the chocolate pumpkin spice lattebene (I KNOW, holy schmoly. You can bet I’ll be coming back for that one). Back in August, I made it a mission to try as many fall-related drink out there once all the seasonal stuff hit, so there I was happily sprinkling ground cinnamon and nutmeg into my mug and taking careful sips (or maybe slurps) as I admired my apple cinnamon cupcake.
Delicious drink with an even more delicious cupcake! After all these years, I’ve never actually taken advantage of seasonal drinks much, so I was really happy that this one was so yummy. The chai flavour came out crystal clear with a zing and it smelled divine with the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’re looking for a flavour comparision between apple cider and the apple chai latte, the chai latte is a lot less tart and the apple flavour is more blended and nuanced in it. It’s wonderful.
And the cupcake! The lemon cupcake I had during my first visit was yummy, but jeebus, the apple cinnamon one blew that experience out of the water. This cupcake was SO creamy and moist and I almost shoved the whole thing in my mouth. I like to savour my food and make my food last by taking small bites, but all resolve was lost on this sweet morsel of goodness. The frosting was amazing. It was thick (not thick as in paste-like, but thick as in not whippd cream-like), rich, and creamy with the perfect amount of cinnamon spice and apple flavour. The cinnamon flavour wasn’t overkill and there were some apple crisp and nut crumbles on the frosting that give the cupcake a scrumptious bite of crunch.
It’s a season that I relish in, not just for its natural beauty, but also for the happy nostalgia it brings. Looking back makes me that much more excited to look forward to even more awesome things to come.
Old Firehall Confectionery is located at 170 Main Street in the historic Main Street Unionville neighbourhood between Carlton Rd. and Hwy 7. The dessert haven is located between Carlton Rd. and Fred Varley Drive. Main Street is located just east of Kennedy Rd. Timothy’s World Coffee is located just a few shops down the street from Old Firehall Confectionery.