Local food is one of the main reasons we travel, whether we’re searching for the best Cuban sandwich in Tampa or tucking into a steaming bowl of Japanese ramen. Along with savory hankerings, our sweet tooth aches to be satisfied while on vacation, so we always need to find some sweet, tasty ways to satisfy our cravings. Thankfully, there are sugary hidden gems just waiting to be found all around the world. These seven sweets shops are famous for their cakes, pastries, and chocolates, and you should absolutely pay them a visit.
1. Miette in San Francisco, California
Meg Ray, the owner and creator of Miette, starting slinging her confections at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market in fall of 2001, and now her beloved shop serves her beautiful cakes and candies to California’s Bay Area. Miette is known for its simple preparations and minimal decoration, which lets the high-quality ingredients in every baked good shine. Think sugary treats like banana cream tarts and gingerbread cakes, shortbread cookies infused with lavender and walnut, and candies like English toffee and homemade sour patch kids. Miette ships its cookies and confections across the country, so you can taste them even if you’re not on the West Coast.
2. Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Shane Confectionery has been satisfying Philly’s sweets lovers since 1863, which makes it the oldest continuously run confectionery in the United States. Brothers Ryan and Eric Berley purchased the shop in 2010. They stay true to the candy that made the original shop famous — think chocolates filled with buttercream and almond toffee crunch — but have expanded the line to include things like clear candy toys, bean-to-bar chocolate, and holiday pies. They’ve even collaborated with New Liberty Distillery on a Cacao Whiskey. Stop in to sample the mouthwatering confections and stay for a mugful of rich, warm drinking chocolate.
3. Fugetsu-Do in Los Angeles, California
Seiichi Kito opened this iconic LA confectionery in 1903 after he immigrated to the US from Gifu, Japan, and it’s been operating in the city’s Little Tokyo neighborhood ever since. Seiichi’s grandson Brian runs Fugetsu-Do today, and it still serves the sweets of the family’s native Japan. Stop in to try the wonderful mochi, which are filled with things like white bean paste, chocolate, and peanut butter. The ornate treats are beautiful and colorful, which makes them the perfect gift for any occasion.
4. Pastelería Ideal in Mexico City, Mexico
Located in Mexico City’s bustling El Centro neighborhood, Pastelería Ideal is the perfect place to stop for a refuel after walking the crowded streets and seeing the sights of the historic city center. The shop was founded in 1927, and it serves traditional Mexican cookies, pastries, and bread. It’s famous for its special occasion cakes, which are displayed on the second floor for all to see. After perusing the opulent birthday and wedding cakes, tuck into a concha (a sweet bread roll) or pan dane (a Danish) filled with juicy native fruit.
5. Phillips Chocolates in Boston, Massachusetts
If a confection is dubbed one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things” then you know it’s gotta be delicious. That’s exactly what she said about Phillips Chocolates turtles, a mouthwatering, classic combination of sticky caramel, hand-roasted nuts, and creamy chocolate. Phillips Chocolates is not only one of the best sweets shops in Boston but also the oldest, which means you absolutely need to pay your respects when visiting Beantown. In addition to its famous turtles, you can expect to find chocolate fudge and bark, cookies, brownies, freshly roasted nuts, jelly beans, and ginger sesame brittle.
6. Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio in Yarra, Australia
Located in the suburbs of Melbourne, Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio has been serving sugary delights to locals and visitors alike since 2011. Husband and wife team Darren Purchese and Claire Claringbold are behind the shop with Darren as the master cake baker. The cake selection changes monthly to highlight seasonal ingredients, but you can expect to find plenty of cakes, jams and spreads (try the Salted Caramel Spread), lollipops, and cannelés on any given day. Each creation is so colorful and delicious, you’ll likely have trouble leaving once you step foot inside.
7. Vestri in Florence, Italy
There’s no shortage of quaint mom and pop shops in Florence, but Vestri is by far one of our favorites. This is the place for chocoholics to get their fix. The family-run business has been selling chocolate for more than 30 years, and it even has its own cocoa plantation in the Dominican Republic to ensure high-quality and ethical sourcing. Inside, you’ll find both bars that are pure chocolate and bars that are filled with custom toothsome creations, like white chocolate with sesame and pink Himalayan salt. Vestri also sells cocoa powder, hot chocolate mix, decadent truffles, and chocolate hazelnut spread that is 10 times better than Nutella.
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