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This map tracks more than 300 cider donut locations in New England


In certain parts of the country, nothing marks the arrival of fall like a fresh apple cider donut. If you're on the hunt in the Northeast for one of these autumn delicacies, you can thank Alex Schwartz, otherwise known as the creator of the New England Cider Donut Map. Schwartz made the map in 2020 after realizing there was no centralized list of them. So joining us from midcoast Maine is the self-proclaimed Cider Donuteur. Hi, Alex.

ALEX SCHWARTZ: Oh, thanks for having me.

PFEIFFER: I live in the Boston area, so I'm surrounded by these. But for people who've never tried one, describe what you think makes a good apple cider donut.

SCHWARTZ: I mean, a great apple cider donut - you're going to look at what's the fry level. What's the density of the crumb of the donut? Does the apple taste in the batter actually come through? But I think the most important element is actually the environment and the way that you're receiving it - right? - like, if they make them hot and fresh directly in front of you at the orchard. And that's a very different experience from buying them at a Shaw's when they're cold in a plastic box.

PFEIFFER: And approximately how many total entries are there on your map?

SCHWARTZ: There's over 350 locations, and it's separated into - about 300 of them are the hot and fresh locations. And then you've got, you know, bakeries that are making them at kind of, like, a standard donut retailer.

PFEIFFER: What is the farthest you've ever driven for one and felt that the long drive was worth it?

SCHWARTZ: I mean, I've been all around New England to northern Vermont. There's some great places up there that do a - if you're familiar with the maple creemee...

PFEIFFER: Oh, yeah.

SCHWARTZ: ...You can get a maple creemee and a cider donut.

PFEIFFER: Very rich ice cream. Yeah, yeah.

SCHWARTZ: Mix the hot and the cold. I mean, it's worth untold amounts of hours in the car for that.

PFEIFFER: What is your opinion of how quickly the donut should be eaten or how long it can sit around?

SCHWARTZ: I mean, there's two parts of the question. Are you talking about savoring it? I think it should be eaten slowly. Maybe close your eyes to feel the breeze and the wind and the crunchy leaves under your feet while you're eating the donut. I mean, I think the optimal experience is eating it on-site when it's fresh. But there is a little secret, which I'll give. A little life hack to folks is if you have a donut from the day before, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. You get that hot experience again.

PFEIFFER: Alex, so far, your map spans Connecticut to Maine. Now that you're in your third year of tracking this, any thoughts of expanding? - because I understand that the Midwest may be as big on apple cider donuts as the Northeast.

SCHWARTZ: I mean, any place where apples grow and orchards are located, you're going to have the apple cider donut as a possibility. So, you know, Washington state, New York state - I think maybe there's some worldwide expansion to be had here. Who knows?

PFEIFFER: So your map could grow with time.

SCHWARTZ: You never know. It depends where my travels take me, and might as well eat donuts along the way.

PFEIFFER: That's Alex Schwartz, creator of the New England Cider Donut Map. Alex, thank you.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Erika Ryan
Erika Ryan is a producer for All Things Considered. She joined NPR after spending 4 years at CNN, where she worked for various shows and CNN.com in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Ryan began her career in journalism as a print reporter covering arts and culture. She's a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her dog, Millie.
Sacha Pfeiffer is a correspondent for NPR's Investigations team and an occasional guest host for some of NPR's national shows.