Whenever I travel I search for local dessert specialties and ask myself, “Where would I go if I lived here?” and “What is special and unique about this part of the world?” This past weekend I went to Tucson, Arizona and asked myself these same questions. In my search I found a few places that looked interesting, but nothing that I couldn’t find at home. When I arrived at my hotel I asked the concierge and she recommended a few standard bakeries, but again, it was nothing I wanted to investigate on such a short trip. I finally decided to forgo my search for a unique establishment and picked up a sample of prickly pear candy at the hotel. (Prickly pear juice is made from the fruit of a prickly pear cactus, found in all deserts of the American Southwest). The prickly pear candy was as much of a disappointment as the dessert establishments, and I left longing for a good New York chocolate shop.
We all know you could eat at a different restaurant in New York City every night for the rest of your life, but I am beginning to think the same applies to dessert. Since new and interesting places are opening all the time, I think it’s time to get serious and start documenting the places that have helped make New York City the dessert capital of the world. Don’t believe it’s the dessert capital? Just ask ABCNews, they seem to agree.
Now that I’m back home in this sweet city I will attempt to cover the best, most well known bakeries/chocolate shops/cafes (whatever form they may take) that every local, or tourist should be sure to visit while in New York City.
There are a few obvious choices that immediately jump to mind (Balthazar, Serendipty 3, etc.), but to make sure I cover the prime New York dessert institutions I consulted friends, colleagues and my two favorite New York City books – The Historic Shops and Restaurants of New York: A Guide to Century-Old Establishments in the City and New York’s 50 Best Places to Enjoy Dessert : A City and Company Guide . I narrowed down the options and listed possible places to visit below (I intentionally omitted a few places I had bad experiences with or are not particularly interesting). Like any tourist (or even local resident), I won’t have time to cover them all and will be forced to prioritize. My investigation will last one week, and I will cover one establishment per day. My final choices for where to spend my time and money will be revealed as the week unfolds, and will be influenced by your comments. Please let me know your favorites or if I have missed anything on the list.
At the end of the week I will recap and choose the “Best of” list for all people who ask themselves, like I did in Arizona, “Where should I go for dessert?” May the week of desserts commence!
New York City Dessert Establishments (in no particular order):
Veniero’s Pasticceria and Caffe
Glaser’s Bake Shop
ChikaLicious Dessert Bar
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
The Chocolate Bar
Once Upon a Tart
Jacques Torres Chocolate (and Chocolate Haven)
Ruby et Violette
New York Takashimaya
Lady M Confections
La Maison Du Chocolat
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
Rice to Riches
The Little Pie Company
The City Bakery
Ciao Bella Gelato
Il Laboratorio del Gelato