Detroit's sweet tooth

Feb 18, 2015 at 1:00 am
Detroit's sweet tooth

When you think about Detroit's burgeoning food scene, lots of things come to mind. Comfort food, BBQ, ramen, burgers, and sushi are all very strong contenders for what we do, here in metro Detroit, extremely well. One of the things, however, that oftentimes falls by the wayside is the ever-elusive sweet treat.

Desserts come in every shape, color, size, and caloric level. From bakeries to ice cream shops, the Motor City has anything and everything sweet to offer you that you could ever wish for. That said, take a waltz through the following Candyland examples that we've laid out for you throughout the vast expanses of metro Detroit.

There are dessert offerings at every Applebee's, TGI Fridays and Denny's. This is not a discussion of what frozen slice of pie you should get to go with that watery drip decaf coffee. These are establishments that offer a fantastic array or specific niche of sugary delights that you can't find just anywhere else.

Starting in the city within a city, Bon Bon Bon has grabbed headlines within the confines of Hamtramck since its opening last summer. With meticulously crafted artisanal chocolates, laid out in adorable packaging, the company's name has more than earned itself, as Bon Bon Bon is French for "good goodie." They're made in small batches and feature unique, yet exquisitely delicious flavors that range from the traditional to the uniquely Detroit. Better Butter Crunch utilizes the city's favorite Better Made chips and dips them in milk chocolate. The sweet/salty balance works remarkably well, as does that same complement in the Pain Au Chocolate. Salt, dark chocolate, and bread crumbs from Avalon Bakery make for a pleasant and distinctive taste sensation.

While the topic of bakeries is fresh, it would be a travesty to discuss sweets without at least mentioning Astoria Pastry Shop. With locations in both Royal Oak and Greektown, native Detroiters know Astoria as the go-to bakery and pastry destination for every occasion. Cookies, cheesecake, baklava, cannolis, eclairs, cupcakes, carrot cake, and likely any other baked good or pastry that your mind can conjure will all be at your beck and call.

Shatila Bakery, west of Detroit in east Dearborn, takes the traditional concept of a bakery and pumps it up to levels of insanity. Imagine a shopping mall on Black Friday. That's exactly what a typical weekend night at Shatila looks like. Dozens and dozens of shoppers flood the bakery and gleefully wait in line to nab as many sweet treats as possible. Hand-selected ingredients, unique Middle Eastern delicacies, elaborate cakes, and incredibly large volumes of goodies await in this oasis of treats.

Townsend Bakery, located in picturesque Birmingham, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. A quaint bakery attached to and run by one of the region's premier hotels, they specialize in specializing. Customizing is something that they take very seriously, and if there's an occasion that you need a cake or pastry created for, they have the means. Fresh fruit-topped cakes, pies with hand-tossed crust, cupcakes in any and every flavor, and tortes for days — not to mention the ability to build even the most elaborate wedding cake — the bakery relishes its versatility and adaptability for its customers.

It doesn't have to be summer for you to enjoy ice cream in metro Detroit. And you certainly don't have to settle for Neapolitan either. Treat Dreams in Ferndale offers an ever-evolving selection of unique flavors, vegan offerings, and refreshing sorbet flavors. Incorporating unique ingredients (Tennessee Breakfast with Cornflakes and bourbon; Blackstrap Molasses Pecan Praline; Shrute Farms with roasted beets, orange zest, and poppyseeds) and outside-the-box creativity, there isn't an ice cream shop in the area that can compare to Treat Dreams' inventiveness.

When it comes to untraditional dessert offerings, another establishment that's breaking the mold right now is The Root in White Lake. Besides offering a fantastic and diverse dessert menu, they're offering a higher quality dessert cocktail menu than you're likely to encounter in most restaurants these days. Sure they have your standard Spanish coffee, but even that is served with fresh whipped cream and a cinnamon sugar rim (it's the details, especially with desserts, that truly count). The Lemon Meringue cocktail is also made with an eye on detail, combining chilled Limoncello, Vanilla Stoli, and an egg white for a beautiful — and tasty — result.

Supply and demand is absolutely true when considering desserts. It's one of the many things that Chez Chloe has going for it. A basic lava cake creator, there are only two sizes available: traditional and mini. Also, the cakes are available at a limited number of locations. Flavors vary based on season — plus basic offerings like Original Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Homemade Salted Caramel, and more. Made in a traditional French manner, the cakes are crafted using an imported Belgian dark chocolate. And while there's not yet a traditional brick-and-mortar for Chez Chloe, you can get your lava love on at Treat Dreams or at their Saturday farmers markets. — mt