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Autumn Flavors Return to Panera Bread

Autumn is about foods that warm you from the inside out. Panera Bread has introduced some exciting new seasonally-inspired offerings to its menu.

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Long Island, NY - September 15, 2011 - Autumn at Panera Bread ® is all about flavors that warm from the inside out. To celebrate the transition into fall, Panera is offering the return of some favorite feel-good foods and has added several exciting new seasonally-inspired items.

New this fall is the Roasted Turkey Artichoke Panini. Made with all-natural roasted turkey, artichoke-parmesan spread, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and fresh baby spinach, all expertly grilled on Asiago Cheese Focaccia, it can be savored alone or paired with Panera's Mac & Cheese as part of a You Pick Two ® combination meal.

"This hearty, flavorful sandwich is an appetizing option for lunch or dinner during the cooler fall months," said Panera's head chef Dan Kish, former associate dean at The Culinary Institute of America. "We use thick-sliced, premium breast meat turkey prepared using the sous-vide cooking method to ensure maximum flavor and tenderness. This, combined with the robust flavors of the other ingredients, creates a complex medley of tastes that will leave you craving this sandwich."

This all-natural turkey is also featured in the new Roasted Turkey Harvest Salad, which boasts a mix of romaine and field greens, fresh d'Angou pears, dried cherries, Gorgonzola cheese and toasted pecans. Each delicious salad is hand-tossed in cherry balsamic vinaigrette for a sweet touch that complements and ties together each ingredient.

On the sweeter end of the spectrum, Panera Bread introduces its new Chocolate Pecan Babka this fall. Babka is the Polish name for grandma - and it's also the name for the rich, buttery, yeasty bread that Eastern European immigrants brought to America in the 19th Century. Panera Bread skilled bakers craft each babka with a brioche-type dough with a buttermilk flavor to create a sweet egg bread that is marbled with a chocolate-flavored filling and toasted pecans.

For those looking for a low-fat snack on-the-go or a compliment to any meal, Panera Bread has added the new Cranberry Orange Smoothie with Ginseng to its smoothie lineup. This offering is made with Stonyfield Farm ® organic, low-fat vanilla yogurt, is an excellent source of Vitamin C and Calcium, and provides 100% daily value of Vitamins B6 and B12.

The Cherry Vanilla Bagel will also make its annual appearance on Panera Bread bakery shelves this fall. Flavored with cherry chips, dried cherries and cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar, for the month of October, this bagel will be shaped into a Pink Ribbon Bagel ® and celebrate its 10th anniversary of contributing to the fight against breast cancer. Since 2001, more than 7 million Pink Ribbon Bagels have been sold and $1 million has been raised for breast cancer charities. On Long Island, Staten Island and in Queens alone, more than a quarter million bagels have been sold and nearly $80,000 has been raised to date to fund breast cancer education, screening, research and emotional and daily living support programs across the area.

Another seasonal favorite, the signature All-Natural Steak Chili with Cornbread is back. A hearty blend of slow-cooked tender brisket slices, ground beef with onions, green bell peppers and kidney beans flavored with garlic and ancho peppers in a rich tomato-based broth, it is topped with a fresh-baked sweet cornbread crumble and provides a warm way to take the chill off any fall day.

Autumn also brings the return of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte. An artful mix of flavors, this tasty drink is made with espresso, steamed milk and pumpkin spice topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. This latte can stand alone or be paired with one of Panera's Pumpkin Cookies, made from a pumpkin-shaped shortbread cookie decorated with orange icing and garnished with orange sanding sugar.

Recently, Panera Bread was recognized in the 2011 Zagat Fast Food Survey for large chains (under 5,000 locations). Panera was rated #1 in the category of Best Salads, #2 for Best Breakfast Sandwiches and received the survey's highest honor for Top Facilities.

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