Seven dessert places in seven days and I barely scratched the surface of all New York has to offer. This city is certainly the dessert capital of America, where world renowned chefs and home grown shops come together to offer an unrivaled variety and quality of desserts. Dessert Week gave me the perfect opportunity to shun my usual responsibilities and have a “reason” to visit a new dessert place each day. In selecting the final seven I had to bypass excellent places such as Takashimaya, Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery, Ceci Cela and several others that would be clear winners in any other city. My final choices were all dedicated dessert establishments (known primarily for dessert, not the main course) based in New York (leaving places like Scharffen Berger and Vosges out) and had a strong reputation among locals. In the end I selected Balthazar for its sheer excellence, MarieBelle for its design, Magnolia for its old-fashioned charm, Payard and Jacques Torres for their reputation and Veneiro’s and Serendipity for their history. When asked which one was my favorite, I’d have to say, of course, “It depends,” but if forced, my order is as follows:
1) Balthazar Bakery
The atmosphere of this small space will transport you into another world, and everything, from their oat scones to chocolate tarts, are pure excellence.
2) Payard Patisserie
Gourmet pastries prepared by a world renowned chef are served in a charming cafe — without reservations.
3) MarieBelle Fine Treats and Chocolates
Beautifully designed and packaged chocolates, fun gifts and warm drinks are all available in one location.
4) Magnolia Bakery
The cupcake pioneer still serves up delicious old-fashioned desserts.
5) Chocolate Haven
Reasonably priced chocolates from a premier chocolatier.
6) Serendipity 3
The Frrrozen hot chocolates are delicious, but the crowds of people detract from the cozy atmosphere.
7) Veniero’s Pasticceria and Caffé
A relaxed, historical setting, but the pastries just didn’t compare to the others.
I hope this helps New York residents and visitors find an answer to the recurring question “Where should I go for dessert?”, but in the end, the choice is up to you. If you’re in the mood for a cupcake with way too much frosting or are in the West Village and need a good box of chocolates, Magnolia Bakery or Chocolate Haven may jump to number one on your list.
My wallet and waistline made it through dessert week relatively unharmed, but I must say I don’t recommend visiting seven different dessert places in seven days. Dessert is a luxury meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, so take your time and let the dessert adventure last a lifetime!