Sweet Philly

Sweet Tooth

Dessert, in this town, is so much more than just an optional course to save room for at the end of a meal.  With a growing number of sweet specialty shops and dessert-only establishments thriving in this city, it is becoming quite clear that sweets are something we Philadelphians can’t live without. The success of sweet sensations like the ever-popular, and always-adorable, cupcake stand as well as classics like European chocolate shops and top-of-the line restaurants that put most of their culinary efforts into serving up sweet stuff is proof that dessert is not just a once-in-a-while indulgence around here – it’s a gastronomic necessity. Sure, it might feel a bit sinful to indulge in something so sumptuous so often, but sweet bites from places that do dessert well are completely worth the extra calories that might come with them. To take the guesswork out of where to find the latest and greatest tasty delights sure to satisfy even the most massive sweet tooth, here are some top picks that help make Philadelphia oh-so-sweet.
 
While the Melting Pot serves up a menu that exposes eaters to fondue in a variety of tasty ways, the main event – for any true dessert lover, anyway – is the selection of warm and gooey chocolate fondues. What sugar fiend could resist a pot full of hot, bubbling chocolate paired with a plate of decadent things to dip into it? Select from a menu of creative concoctions and share the indulgence with a friend, a hot date, or order a bigger pot to share with a group. This Center City spot offers diners the chance to try something classic like the Flaming Turtle: milk chocolate, caramel, and chopped pecans flambéed tableside. Try something snazzy like Bananas Foster – silky white chocolate swirled with bananas, brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Each pot of chocolate is served with a plate of fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, brownies, pound cake, Rice Krispie® treats, and marshmallows rolled in Oreos or graham crackers.  And what’s even better is that if you run out, they will gladly bring you more so you won’t miss a single drop of the richest, most decadent melted chocolate in town.
 
Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has been causing quite the stir from its Northern Liberties locale with timeless recipes passed down from the owners’ mother and grandmother, Elizabeth Ruth Hinton. Here, the ladies at Brown Betty use their family history to create an assortment of fresh sweets daily. Drop by this adorable retro-themed bakery and bite into a creative selection of cupcakes, chocolate cakes, specialty cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, and other sweet options. Most of the goods at Brown Betty are named after dynamic women in the owners’ family. One fan-favorite is Betty’s Buttermilk Pound made with a mixture of rich buttermilk and a hint of lemon, topped off with an invigorating lemon frosting. The owners recently branched out to Rittenhouse Square to open a smaller sister location where cupcakes are queen. Brown Betty Petite serves up tasty cupcakes available by the dozen and individually. Try Aunt Eva Says (pineapple pound cake with cream cheese frosting) for a zesty take on the classic cupcake.
 
Nestled amidst South Street’s eclectic assortment of artsy shops, trendy restaurants, and hip bars is a pastry shop that has been doing dessert for years: The Pink Rose Pastry Shop is a neighborhood institution that features quaint decor reminiscent of a Victorian teahouse with endearing touches like mismatched china and lace doilies. Diners who take a seat in this tiny corner bakery may fondly recount the days of eating goodies at grandma’s house as they choose from a wide selection of sweet indulgences. This pastry shop has a knack for creating handcrafted pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweet items made fresh and sold daily. Fan-favorites include the signature chocolate éclairs, lemon bars, and the unbelievably scrumptious and sumptuous Banana Crème Pies. Dine in or take something sweet home.  While desserts are undoubtedly the highlight here, they also serve an equally tantalizing menu for breakfast and lunch.
 
The Franklin Fountain serves up a bit of history alongside its tasty treats. This Victorian corner ice cream shop in the heart of Old City offers a charming atmosphere complete with employee uniforms that bring Philadelphia back to the days of Benjamin Franklin. The menu is bursting with a variety of homemade ice cream flavors, tempting sundaes, thick and delicious milkshakes, sugary candies and buttery, creamy fudge.  All of Franklin Fountain’s goodies are served in soda fountain–fashion; and the owners of this establishment only use the freshest local ingredients so that everything from the Vanilla Bean ice cream to the traditional jar of chocolate fudge boasts a true, old-fashioned appeal. Parents and grandparents who bring kids here might find themselves enjoying some pleasant nostalgia when they see the novelty candies packaged the way they were in the good old days.
 
South Philly’s La Golosa Café is a dessert-only establishment that concentrates its efforts on sweet chocolate concoctions. Chocolate lovers will surely find paradise in this low-key establishment that boasts minimalist décor and an unpretentious crowd.  For those who want to get to know chocolate better, La Galosa is the perfect place to explore. Regulars often rave about the superb selection of sipping chocolates like Speziata (a mixture of 56% chocolate combined with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg) that offer a nice compliment to a chilly winter’s night.  There are cooler options like the cold chocolate shakes that come in a variety of flavors: 70% dark chocolate, spiced chocolate, and chocolate coconut, just to name a few. This BYOB welcomes you to bring along a bottle of your favorite tequila or rum to add to the mix. To top it off, there is a mouth-watering assortment of cakes, pies, tortes, and blended chocolates to nibble on as you drink it all in.

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