There’s no caffeine in Vallarta’s pumpkin spice latte variant — in fact, it’s not a latte at all. Last year the Latin supermarket chain unveiled a new take that, given a key shared ingredient, seems a wonder it wasn’t created and sold years ago, and this year, it’s bringing it back. Adding pumpkin to the already cinnamon-y classic, Vallarta’s seasonal contender is the pumpkin spice horchata.
The supermarket’s in-house chefs German Gonzalez and Jesse Muñoz conceptualized the drink and, after months of trials, landed on a final recipe that augments their usual concoction of rice, milk, cinnamon and vanilla with cinnamon sticks, pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and extra vanilla. They’re bringing it back to every location beginning Oct. 4, with no end date in sight. The horchata is poured into a vitrolero, nestled among the aguas frescas at the counter, and ladled into cups as ordered — or into 72-ounce plastic jugs. For even larger orders, the pumpkin spice horchata can be purchased in the full 5-gallon vitrolero, as seen at the counter.
Not to be outshone by its newer pumpkin-spice brethren, Vallarta also is bringing back its pumpkin spice tamales, a sweet-and-savory take that adds pumpkin purée, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and diced butternut squash to the tamale’s usual maseca. The downside? They’re so popular that most of Vallarta’s supermarkets — of which there are 26 in the L.A. region — sell out by early afternoon. Find both the tamales and horchata on offer through the season.