The doughnut war going on in Pittsfield has made me think of a different kind of doughnut contest: who has the best cider doughnut in the Berkshires? From an online poll, I determined the top five cider doughnut makers in the Berkshires are, in no particular order: Hilltop Orchards and Bartlett’s Orchards, both in Richmond, Lakeview Orchards in Lanesborough, Whitney Farms in Cheshire, and the Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe in Great Barrington. We set out to try each one!
Hitting each of the five doughnut stops along the way, I took my two daughters for a beautiful fall ride through the Berkshires from Great Barrington through Stockbridge to Richmond through Pittsfield to Lanesborough to Cheshire. The early foliage is simply exquisite. At every turn, it was a gift of gorgeousness.
When we got home, we set up a family blind tasting to enjoy when Daddy got home from work. The online poll was right — they are all winners in our book!
WINNER *Most Outstanding*
The Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe is a cute shop with many yummy looking homemade doughnut varieties. Seasonally offered, their cider doughnuts are big cake doughnuts and come in plain, glazed or cinnamon-sugar coated. Daddy and I agreed that these doughnuts were the most outstanding although they are not your typical, traditional cider doughnut.
WINNER *Best Cider Flavor*
Hilltop Orchards is a gorgeous estate shared with Furnace Brook Winery. It’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon picking apples; sitting in the sun; picnicking; or tasting some wines, pies alamode or even a cider popsicle (Only $1 and the kids LOVE them!). Hilltop’s cider doughnuts have the best cider flavor and can stand up to any of their competitors. And, they are the lowest-priced!
WINNER *Kids’ Favorite*
Lakeview Orchards is the quintessential place to bring your kids to pick apples. It’s just adorable and perfect for families with children to spend some time apple picking and taking pictures. Lakeview’s cider doughnuts are the softest doughnuts around and my kids request only them! Lakeview also offers a chocolate-dipped cider doughnut that is super yummy.
WINNER *Best Traditional Flavor*
My parents took me to Bartlett’s growing up so that may be why I think their cider doughnut sets the standard for all cider doughnuts to be judged.
WINNER *Best Spice*
With its corn maze, petting zoo and playground, Whitney’s is a super fun place for kids — and their doughnuts hold up to the competition. Whitney’s cider doughnuts have their own unique spice mixture that’s just different enough to set them apart.
When I was a kid, my Mother would slice a cider doughnut in half, toast and butter it. So once every year, I enjoy this special treat with my morning coffee. Not all of the varieties can stand up to being sliced and toasted, but this year I tried the Home Sweet Home Doughnut Shoppe’s cider doughnut and it had no problem at all.
Cider doughnuts are one of my favorite fall traditions along with apple picking, carving pumpkins, costume-making and trick-or-treating. Next month, I will share one of my favorite fall family recipes: Halloween Candy Pie!