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Dessert Week Wrap-Up

Chocolate bars from Jacques Torres.

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!


Susie says on March 10th, 2005 at 9:04 pm:

Why’d you rate MarieBelle higher than Jaques Torres’s? Maybe buying into the whole “cost more must be better” idea?

Kelli says on March 10th, 2005 at 9:41 pm:

I voted MarieBelle higher in this case because I prefer their packaging (people “ooh and aah” over their gifts) and the space is much more comfortable and interesting to me than Chocolate Haven. Both are excellent places, and the chocolates at MarieBelle and Chocolate Haven are very similar, so it comes down to what you’re looking for. In the end I find myself returning to MarieBelle more than Chocolate Haven, so I voted accordingly. What would be your number one vote from the list?

Susie says on March 10th, 2005 at 9:50 pm:

My vote would be Johnny Depp -sigh. Oh – you meant desserts…

Kelli says on March 10th, 2005 at 10:54 pm:

Yeah, I didn’t see him on the menu anywhere :)

Ray says on March 10th, 2005 at 11:17 pm:

Your website has inspired me to humbly submit a poem I call

Ode to the Cocoa Bean

Why oh why do I so crave
The taste that makes me misbehave
I shouldn’t cheat, but can’t resist
The tempting lure of chocolate bliss
I must be strong for if I’m not
I’ll find myself with chocolate hot
Maybe I can skip tonight
Or maybe go with just one bite
Just one bite that wouldn’t hurt
But of course with more I’d flirt
For I was born with a special gene
The one they call the cocoa bean!

Kelli says on March 10th, 2005 at 11:51 pm:

You officially win the award “Best Poem on Lovescool”! Of course it’s the only poem on the site so far, but still, it’s impressive. I think I have that gene.

Candy says on March 11th, 2005 at 2:14 am:

Yes, I was born with that special gene too. I actually gave up chocolate for Lent, but guess who has tickets to the chocolate tasting at the 92nd st y?

Robyn says on March 11th, 2005 at 10:04 pm:

I have that gene too! [*sob*...*consoles self by eating chocolate*]

LAURIE says on March 16th, 2005 at 9:25 pm:

I, too possess the “Evil Gene of the Dreaded Cocoa Bean! Consider this as a title for the poem posted previously!

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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