Pumpkin Spice Caramel - The Origin Story

Fall is approaching and the smell of Pumpkin Spice is in the air!  This year Cocomels joined the party launching our NEW Pumpkin Spice Cocomels snack packs.  These limited edition seasonal Cocomels are, as always, natural, plant-based, organic and non-gmo certified, and made with real, actual spices (not flavors or extracts).  I custom created an organic spice blend (which I think you’ll love) and I didn’t skimp on the good stuff, using more nutmeg than most blends as well as including Allspice.  Each chew unlocks a different layer, including Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove and Vanilla. We consider this the best version of this iconic flavor available.  We didn’t just want to enter the game, we wanted to WIN 🙂

Contrary to popular belief, the spice blend we refer to as Pumpkin Spice is not a Starbucks invention (#ODonPSL?), but they sure made it mainstream and capitalized on it.  It might taste good, but have you ever checked out its sugar content? At 50g per 16oz latte, you’d have to eat 23 Pumpkin Spice Cocomels to get the same amount of sugar!  Plus they add sulfiting agents, potassium sorbate, diglycerides, carrageenan and more…  🤢


But where did this obsession get its roots?  This spice blend has been in the works for millennia.  Back in the middle ages nutmeg from the “Spice Islands” was more valuable than gold and drove the Europeans mad for the flavor – the Dutch even traded New York (New Amsterdam) for an Indonesian island that produced it.  From there, these exotic flavors made it to the new world.  There is speculation they appeared at the first Thanksgiving, but regardless, a similar spice blend can be found in the oldest known American cookbook from 1796, “American Cookery”:


No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.

No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.

If anyone makes this, let us know, so curious to hear how it tastes.

A theory about the birth of the American obsession for pumpkin spice goes like this:  Upon arrival in the new world, settlers were hungry and longed for any familiarity with their old homes.  Many of their old staples were not present but they immediately discovered pumpkins and which grew prolifically.  In those early years, pumpkins were a survival food used in pies, porridge, main dishes and even to make beer. These were made more palatable and delicious by adding the spices they were familiar with.  Thus, the association with preparing for winter and the cozy smell of these spices emanating from the hearth became rooted deep into the American psyche and has survived long beyond our need to subsist on pumpkins.  So today, as the winter chill approaches we still have a deep seeded, uniquely American nostalgia for the smells and flavors of our old warm kitchens where food was being cooked, baked and preserved to keep full for the winter.  

Here’s the story in more detail:



Cocomels is proud to carry this rich tradition forward, with our delicious, better for you, sustainable new twist!   Enjoy!  You can try our Pumpkin Spice Cocomels HERE.

- JJ

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