A Sweet Trip Through New York City
SoHo is for fashion lovers and foodies. It’s a chain store shopping mecca, but also home to designer boutiques and a smattering of independent bookstores. Whatever brings you to the neighborhood—maybe even just a wander through the pretty cobblestone streets—be sure to save room for dessert. Not so long ago, SoHo was a magnet for artists. The neighborhood’s artistic roots are apparent in the dessert cafés scattered around the neighborhood. They strive to serve delicious desserts, sure, but they’re also uniquely individual and constantly evolving with innovative treats that continue to delight sweets lovers. Try one (or two or three) of these decadent desserts the next time you’re in SoHo.
When Cronuts first appeared on the scene, rumor was you had to get in line by 6:00 a.m. and hope they didn’t sell out by the time you got to the front of the line. You could buy exactly two Cronuts, flaky pastries that are a cross between a croissant and a donut. The Cronut took New York by storm and Dominique Ansel shot to fame. Now, it’s the go-to bakery for unique takes on old favorites, like a shot of homemade vanilla milk in a chocolate chip cookie cup. You’ll also find desserts you never imagined possible, like the Kiwi Sorbet Bar made with fresh kiwi sorbet. Ansel has won the most prestigious culinary awards that exist, and he continues to create new, innovative desserts. The menu is a work of art, from the most basic Carrot Cake to the more exotic Matcha Passionfruit Mousse Cake.
Cheesecake lovers unite! Even in a city that created its own style of the dessert—New York-style uses lots of heavy cream or sour cream—Eileen’s is a standout. Classic cheesecakes with your favorite fruit topping are available, as are spirit-fused flavors like Bailey’s Irish Cream or Chocolate Bourbon. Need something even sweeter? Try the Coconut Custard or S’Mores. Eileen’s has been a neighborhood fixture since 1975, so she’s had over 40 years to perfect New York’s favorite dessert. Fortunately, she also ships to anywhere in the United States.
Their Instagram account has more than half a million followers, which makes sense when yylearn that the co-founders (and sisters) Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne comey from a fashion background. Their cupcakes are dressed up in a rainbow of colors—usually achieved with colorful buttercream frosting —and there doesn’t seem to be a fondant decoration they can’t create.
Over 100 cupcake flavors are available, including vegan and gluten-free options. Some of the more decadent-sounding flavors include Chocolate Ganache and Bourbon Vanilla. Their signature cupcake is Red Velvet, which comes topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Founder Larry Burdick spent his early years at a confectionary in Switzerland. At the end of the day, he got rid of his leftover chocolate by gathering it together and creating tiny chocolate mice for the neighborhood children. More than 30 years later, that tradition still stands, with an addition of chocolate penguins. They’re almost too cute to eat, but you’ll want to anyways so you can bite into the smooth whipped ganache they’re made of. You’ll find a beautiful selection of handcrafted chocolates here, too, to satisfy a sweet tooth or give as a gift. Co-owner Paula Burdick uses her background in textile and color design to perfect the packaging. There’s also a small but pleasant seating area where you can sit and sip on a hot chocolate.
It all started in 1862 when Louis Ernest Ladurée opened a Paris bakery. His wife convinced him to transform it into a “salon de thé” so Parisian women would have a safe, comfortable place to gather and socialize. That 19th century bakery has expanded into an empire, including tearooms in Japan, Hong Kong, London, and New York. Ladurée believes in providing their guests with both “visual and gustatory pleasure,” so expect to be wowed by the interior design as well as the desserts. On the menu are such delicacies as ganache-filled macaroons, and a variety of puff pastry desserts topped with fruit and Chantilly, the silken whipped-cream topping that takes its name from its French town of origin.